Targ was born in Chicago. He is a son of William Targ, former editor-in-chief of G.P. Putnam's, where his father was editor and publisher of "The Godfather". Russell is a brother-in-law of former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. He was married to Joan Targ, Bobby's sister, who died in 1998. Russell and Joan had a daughter, Elisabeth Targ, who was a psychiatrist, and two sons Alexander and Nicholas.
Targ received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Queens College in 1954, and did graduate work in physics at Columbia University. He received two National Aeronautics and Space Administration awards for inventions and contributions in lasers and laser communications.
Targ is also an editor, publisher, songwriter, producer, and teacher. In 1997 he retired from Lockheed Martin as a project manager and senior staff scientist, where he developed laser technology for airborne detection of wind shear and air turbulence. He has published more than a hundred papers on lasers, plasma physics, laser applications and electro-optics.
At the Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s and 1980s, Targ and his colleague Harold E. Puthoff co-founded a 23-year, $25-million program of research into psychic abilities and their operational use for the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and Army Intelligence. These abilities are referred to collectively as "remote viewing." Targ and Puthoff both expressed the belief that Uri Geller, retired police commissioner Pat Price, and artist Ingo Swann all had genuine psychic abilities. They published their findings in Nature and the Proceedings of the IEEE. From 1972 to 1995 the program was classified SECRET and compartmentalized with Limited Access. That is to say, the program was not only classified, but every single person who was informed about the program had to personally sign a so-called bigot list, to acknowledge that they had been exposed to the program data. However, their work met criticism from some, including psychologists David Marks and Richard Kammann in their 1980 book, The Psychology of the Psychic.
Targ's autobiography, Do You See What I See: Memoirs of a Blind Biker, was published in 2008, and describes his life as a scientist and legally blind motorcyclist. Targ lectures worldwide on remote viewing. He now resides in Palo Alto, California with his second wife, Patricia.
- Russell Targ, Limitless Mind: A Guide to Remote Viewing and Transformation of Consciousness
- Russell Targ. The Reality of ESP: A Physicist's Proof of Psychic Abilities. (April 2012)
- End of Suffering: Fearless Living in Troubled Times (with Dr. J.J. Hurtak)
- Mind Reach: Scientists Look at Psychic Abilities (with Dr. Harold Puthoff)
- The Mind Race: Understanding and Using Psychic Abilities (with Dr. Keith Harary)
- Miracles of Mind: Remote Viewing and Spiritual Healing (with Dr. Jane Katra)
- The Heart of the Mind: How to Experience God Without Belief (with Dr. Jane Katra)
On lasers and wind shear
- Russell Targ and Lawrence Ames, "Lidar wind sensing at cruise altitude for flight-level optimization," Proc. SPIE Aerosense-96, Orlando FL, April 8-12, 1996.
- Russell Targ, Roland Bowles, Michael Kavaya, and R. Milton Huffaker, "Coherent Lidar Airborne Windshear Sensor: Performance Evaluation," Applied Optics, 20 May 1991.
- Russell Targ, Bruce C. Steakley, James G. Hawley, Paul Forney, Robert G. Otto, Philip Brockman, and Sarah R. Harrell, "Coherent lidar airborne wind sensor II: flight test results at 2 µm and 10 µm," Applied Optics, 20 December 1996.
On remote viewing
- Targ, R. and Puthoff, H. (1975) “Information transfer under conditions of sensory shielding.” Nature, 251, 602-607.
- Puthoff, H.E. & Targ, R. (March, 1976). “A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research.” Proc. IEEE, Vol. 64, no. 3, March, pp. 329-354;
- Rauscher, E. A., & Targ, R. (2006). Investigation of a complex space-time metric to describe precognition of the future. AIP Conference Proceedings, 863, 121-146.
- Mind-Reach: Scientists Look at Psychic Abilities, by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, Dell Pub Co., 1978
- R. Targ, and H,E, Puthoff, H.E "Information transfer under conditions of sensory shielding," Nature, 251, 602-607. (1974) doi:10.1038/251602a0.
- Puthoff, H.E. and Targ, R. "A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research." Proc. IEEE, Vol. 64, no. 3, 329-254. (1976)
- Marks, D. and Kammann, R., (1980) The Psychology of the Psychic, p26. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-798-8
- ESPResearch.com - Russell Targ's site