John Hagelin

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John Hagelin
John Samuel Hagelin

(1954-06-09) June 9, 1954 (age 69)
EducationA.B. (physics), Dartmouth College, 1975
M.A. (physics), Harvard University, 1976
Ph.D. (physics), Harvard University, 1981
Alma materDartmouth College, Harvard University
EmployerMaharishi University of Management
Known forThree-time candidate for U.S. President, leader of U.S. Transcendental Meditation movement, president of Maharishi University of Management
TitleRaja of Invincible America, president of the US Peace Government, and others
Political partyNatural Law Party
SpouseKara Anastasio (2010)
AwardsKilby, Ig Nobel

John Samuel Hagelin (born June 9, 1954) is the leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement in the United States. He is president of Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa, and honorary chair of its board of trustees.[1][2] The university was established in 1973 by the TM movement's founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to deliver a "consciousness-based education".[3]

Hagelin graduated with a Ph.D., in physics, in 1981, from Harvard University, and did several months of post-doctoral research at the CERN, before moving to do further post-doctoral work at the SLAC. In 1984, he became a professor of physics at Maharishi International University (MIU), then later became university president.[4] Hagelin postulates that his extended version of unified field theory is identified with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's "unified field of consciousness", a view that was rejected by "virtually every theoretical physicist in the world" in 2006.[5]

Hagelin stood as a candidate for President of the United States for the Natural Law Party, a party founded by the TM movement, in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections.[6] He is the author of Manual for a Perfect Government (1998), which sets out how to apply "natural law" to matters of governance. Hagelin is also president of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes TM.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Hagelin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second of four sons, to Mary Lee Hagelin, née Stephenson, a school teacher, and Carl William Hagelin, a businessman.[8][9] He was raised in Connecticut,[10] and won a scholarship to the Taft School for boys in Watertown. In July 1970, while at Taft, he was involved in a motorcycle crash that led to a long stay, in a body cast, in the school infirmary. During his time there, he began reading about quantum mechanics, but was also introduced to TM by a practitioner, Rick Archer, who had been invited to the school to talk about the meditation form.[11][12]

After Taft, Hagelin attended Dartmouth College. At the end of his freshman year he studied TM in Vittel, France, and returned as a qualified TM teacher.[11] In 1975 he obtained his A.B. in physics with highest honors (summa cum laude) from Dartmouth.[13] He went on to study physics at Harvard University under Howard Georgi, earning a master's degree in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1981.[11] By the time he had received his Ph.D., he had published several papers on particle theory.[14]


Academic positions[edit]

Part of the Maharishi International University

In 1981 Hagelin became a postdoctoral researcher for few months at the European Center for Particle Physics (CERN) in Switzerland, and in 1982 he moved to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California.[11] He left SLAC in 1983, reportedly because of personal problems. A year later he joined Maharishi International University (MIU), as chair of the physics department.[15][16][17] Two of Hagelin's previous collaborators, Dimitri Nanopoulos and John Ellis, were uncomfortable with his move to MIU, but they continued to work with him.[18] While at MIU, Hagelin received funding from the National Science Foundation.[11]

Hagelin became a trustee of MUM and, in 2016, its president.[2] It was intended that he become president of Maharishi Central University, which was under construction in Smith Center, Kansas, until early 2008, when, according to Hagelin, the project was put on hold while the TM organization dealt with the death of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.[19]

Theoretical physics[edit]

During his time at CERN, SLAC and MUM, Hagelin worked on supersymmetric extensions of the standard model and grand unification theories.[14] His work on the flipped SU(5) heterotic superstring theory is considered one of the more successful unified field theories, or "theories of everything",[20] and was highlighted in 1991 in a cover story in Discover magazine.[18]

From 1979 to 1996, Hagelin published over 70 papers about particle physics, electroweak unification, grand unification, supersymmetry and cosmology, most of them in academic scientific journals.[14] He co-authored a 1983 paper in Physics Letters B, "Weak symmetry breaking by radiative corrections in broken supergravity", that became one of the 103 most-cited articles in the physical sciences in 1983 and 1984.[21][22] In a 2012 interview in Science Watch, co-author Keith Olive said that his work for the 1984 study was one of the areas that had given him the greatest sense of accomplishment.[23] A 1984 paper by Hagelin and John Ellis in Nuclear Physics B, "Supersymmetric relics from the big bang", had been cited over 500 times by 2007.[24]

Efforts to link consciousness to the unified field[edit]

In a 1992 news article for Nature about Hagelin's first presidential campaign, Chris Anderson wrote that Hagelin was "by all accounts a gifted scientist, well-known and respected by his colleagues", but that his effort to link the flipped SU(5) unified field theory to TM "infuriates his former collaborators", who feared it might taint their own work and requests for funding. John Ellis, then director of CERN's department of theoretical physics—who worked with Hagelin on SU(5)—reportedly asked Hagelin to stop comparing it to TM. Anderson wrote that two-page advertisements containing rows of partial differential equations had been appearing in the U.S. media, purporting to show how TM affected distant events.[20] In his book, Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and The Search for Unity In Physical Law (2007), the physicist Peter Woit wrote that identification of a unified field of consciousness with a unified field of superstring theory was wishful thinking, and that "[v]irtually every theoretical physicist in the world rejects all of this as nonsense and the work of a crackpot".[14]

Philosopher Evan Fales and sociologist Barry Markovsky remarked that, because no such phenomena have been validated, Hagelin's "far-fetched explanation lacks purpose". They went on to say that the parallels Hagelin highlighted rest on ambiguity, obscurity and vague analogy, supported by the construction of arbitrary similarities.[25]

Hagelin was featured in the movies What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004) and The Secret (2006).[26][27] João Magueijo, professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London, described What the Bleep Do We Know!? as "horrendously tedious", consisting of deliberate misrepresention of science and "ludicrous extrapolations".[26][28]

Maharishi effect[edit]

In the summer of 1993, Hagelin directed a project aimed at demonstrating what TM practitioners call the Maharishi effect, the purported ability of a large group to affect the behavior of others by practising TM.[29] The TM movement believes that one tenth of the square root of the population of a country meditating can bring about peace.[30] However, critics point to a lack of credible supporting evidence.[15]

Approximately 4,000 people from 82 countries gathered in Washington, DC and practiced TM for six hours a day from June 7 to July 30. The meditation included "yogic flying", a technique taught through the TM-Sidhi program in which practitioners engage in a series of hops while seated in the lotus position. Hagelin claimed that there was a local reduction in crime due to this activity.[29][31]

According to Hagelin, the analysis was examined by an "independent review board", although all members of the board were TM practitioners. Robert L. Park, research professor and former chair of the physics department at the University of Maryland, called the study a "clinic in data distortion".[15] In 1994 a science satire magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, "awarded" Hagelin the Ig Nobel Prize for Peace, "for his experimental conclusion that 4,000 trained meditators caused an 18 percent decrease in violent crime in Washington, D.C."[32][33]

In 1999 Hagelin held a press conference in Washington, D.C. to announce that the TM movement could end the Kosovo War with yogic flying. He suggested that NATO set up an elite corps of 7,000 yogic flyers at a cost of $33 million.[16][34]

Enlightened Audio Designs Corporation[edit]

In 1990 Hagelin founded Enlightened Audio Designs Corporation (EAD) with Alastair Roxburgh.[35] The company designed and manufactured high-end digital-to-analog converters.[36] EAD was sold in 2001 to Alpha Digital Technologies in Oregon.[35]


Natural Law Party[edit]

Hagelin and 12 others founded the Natural Law Party in April 1992 in Fairfeld, based on the view that problems of governance could be solved more effectively by following "natural law", the organizing principle of the universe.[13][37] The party platform included preventive health care, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy technologies. Hagelin favored abortion rights without public financing, campaign-finance law reform, more restrictive gun control, and a flat tax, with no tax for families earning less than $34,000 per year.[38] He campaigned to eradicate PACs and soft money campaign contributions, and advocated safety locks on guns, school vouchers, and efforts to prevent war in the Middle East by reducing "people's tension".[39]

The party chose Hagelin and Mike Tompkins as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates in 1992 and 1996.[40] Hagelin received 39,212 votes from 32 states in 1992 (and 23 percent of the vote in Jefferson County, where MUM is located), and 113,659 votes from 43 states in 1996 (21 percent in Jefferson County).[41][42][43]

Hagelin ran for president again in 2000, nominated both by the NLP and by the Perot wing of the Reform Party, which disputed the nomination of Pat Buchanan.[44][45] Hagelin's running mate was Nat Goldhaber. A dispute over the Reform Party's nomination generated legal action between the Hagelin and Buchanan campaigns. In September 2000 the Federal Election Commission ruled that Buchanan was the official candidate of the Reform Party, and hence eligible to receive federal election funds.[38][46] The Reform Party convention that nominated Hagelin was declared invalid.[47] In spite of the ruling, Hagelin remained on several state ballots as the Reform Party nominee because of the independent nature of some state affiliates; he was also the national nominee of the Natural Law Party, and in New York was the Independence Party nominee.[46] He received 83,714 votes from 39 states.[48] During the 2004 primary elections, Hagelin endorsed Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich,[49] and in April that year the Executive Committee of the NLP dissolved the NLP as a national organization.[50]

Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy[edit]

Hagelin is the director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy (ISTPP), a MUM think tank.[51] According to the ISTPP's website, he has met with members of Congress and officials at the Department of State and Department of Defense to discuss terrorism.[52][53] In 1993 he helped draft a paragraph in Hillary Rodham Clinton's 10,000-page health care plan; according to Hagelin, his was the only paragraph that addressed preventive health care.[54] In 1998 the ISTPP testified about germ-line technologies to the DNA Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health; Hagelin's report to the committee said that "recombinant DNA technology is inherently risky because of the high probability of unexpected side-effects".[55][56]

Other organizations[edit]

Hagelin in 2009

Hagelin established the US Peace Government (USPG) in July 2003, as an affiliate of the Global Country of World Peace and served as the latter's minister of science and technology.[57] According to USPG's website, the TM movement created US Peace Government and the Global Country of World Peace to promote evidence-based, sustainable problem-solving and governance policies that align with "natural law".[58]

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi appointed Hagelin the "Raja of Invincible America" in November 2007. Hagelin organized the Invincible America Assembly in Fairfield in July 2006. The assembly comprised individuals practicing TM and TM-Sidhi techniques twice daily. Hagelin predicted that as the number of Yogic flyers increased towards 3500, "[p]eace and prosperity will reign [in America], and violence and conflict will subside completely".[59][60] In July 2007 he said that the assembly was responsible for the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching a record high of 14,022 and predicted that it would top 17,000 within a year.[61][62]

Hagelin is also president of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, an organization of scientists opposed to nuclear proliferation and war,[63] and president of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes TM.[7][57]

Kilby International Award[edit]

In 1992 Hagelin received a Kilby International Award from the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce "for his promising work in particle physics in the development of supersymmetric grand unified field theory".[64] According to a member of the selection committee, Hagelin's nomination was proposed by another selection-committee member who was a fellow TM practitioner.[20][65] Chris Anderson, in a 1992 Nature article about Hagelin's first presidential campaign, questioned the value of the award.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Hagelin's first marriage, to Margaret Hagelin, ended in divorce.[54] He married Kara Anastasio, the former vice-chair of the Natural Law Party of Ohio, in 2010.[66][67]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ "Maharishi University of Management Board of Trustees". Maharishi University of Management. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Professor John Hagelin Named President of Maharishi University of Management", Market Wired, June 24, 2016.
  3. ^ Woo, Elaine (February 6, 2008). "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; founded Transcendental Meditation movement". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Hallman, Andy (June 20, 2016). "Lynch addresses M.U.M. graduates". The Fairfield Ledger. Retrieved September 21, 2016.[dead link]
  5. ^ Woit 2007, p. 206.
  6. ^ "Natural Law Party", CNN.
  7. ^ a b "List of DLF Directors and Advisors". David Lynch Foundation. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  8. ^ For date and place of birth, second of four sons, and parents' first names and professions, "Profile: John Hagelin, Ph.D, of Fairfield, Iowa (Natural Law Party)". George Washington University. 2000.
  9. ^ "News Release: Hagelin-Goldhaber Lead Powerful New Natural Law/Independent Coalition" (PDF). Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  10. ^ Profile: John Hagelin, George Washington University 2000.
  11. ^ a b c d e Dickie, Neil (February 1992). "John Hagelin and the Constitution of the Universe". The Fairfield Source. pp. 10–13. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012.
  12. ^ Poltilove, Josh. "Hagelin Runs On Common Sense". Tampa Tribune. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Online NewsHour: John Hagelin's Biography". PBS. 2000. Archived from the original on June 26, 2001.
  14. ^ a b c d Woit, Peter (2007). Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law. London: Vintage Books. pp. 209–211. ISBN 9781446443019.
  15. ^ a b c Park, Robert (2000). Voodoo Science: The road from foolishness to fraud. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 29–31. ISBN 978-0-19-860443-3.
  16. ^ a b Fox, Jonathan (October 5, 2000). "Good Vibrations". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  17. ^ Stenger, Victor J. (2009). Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, Amherst: Prometheus Books, pp. 60–61.
  18. ^ a b Freedman, David (August 1991). "The new theory of everything". Discover: 54–61.
  19. ^ Draper, Bill (September 21, 2008). "Towns Meditate On Fate of Peace Palace Project". Hutchnews. Hutchinson, Kansas. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d Anderson, Christopher (September 10, 1992). "Physicist running for president is accused of distorting science to fit guru's ideas". Nature. 359 (6391): 97. Bibcode:1992Natur.359...97A. doi:10.1038/359097a0.
  21. ^ Ellis, John; Hagelin, John; Nanopoulos, D V; Tamvakis, K. (June 2, 1983). "Weak symmetry breaking by radiative corrections in broken supergravity" (PDF). Physics Letters B. 125 (4): 275–281. Bibcode:1983PhLB..125..275E. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(83)91283-2. OSTI 1446647.
  22. ^ "Physical Science papers cited most in 1983/84" (PDF). December 16, 1985.
  23. ^ Taubes, Gary (December 2011). "Keith Olive on Possibilities for Supersymmetric Dark Matter". Science Watch.
  24. ^ Ellis, John; Hagelin, J. S.; Nanopoulos, D. V.; Olive, K.; Srednicki, M. (June 11, 1984). "Supersymmetric relics from the big bang" (PDF). Nucl. Phys. B. 238 (2): 453–476. Bibcode:1984NuPhB.238..453E. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(84)90461-9. OSTI 1432463.
  25. ^ Fales, Evan; Markovsky, Barry (December 1997). "Evaluating Heterodox Theories". Social Forces. 76 (2): 511–525. doi:10.2307/2580722. JSTOR 580722.
  26. ^ a b "The minds boggle". The Guardian. May 16, 2005.
  27. ^ Lampman, Jane (March 28, 2007). "'The Secret,' a phenomenon, is no mystery to many", Christian Science Monitor, 28 March 2007.
  28. ^ Also see Shermer, Michael (2005). "Quantum Quackery". Scientific American. 292 (1): 234. Bibcode:2005SciAm.292a..34S. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0105-34.
  29. ^ a b Goodstein, Laurie (July 30, 1993). "Meditators See Signs of Success", The Washington Post. Accessed January 11, 2023.
  30. ^ Weber, Joseph (2014). Transcendental Meditation in America: How a New Age Movement Remade a Small Town in Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1609382353. Movement publications over time have suggested various numbers needed to create this Maharishi Effect, moving from as high as one-tenth of the adult population to one-hundredth and even one-thousandth. The movement settled on the figure of the square root of 1 percent of a given population....
  31. ^ Castaneda, Ruben (October 7, 1994). "Fighting crime by meditation", The Washington Post.
  32. ^ "The 1994 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". Annals of Improbable Research. August 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  33. ^ Abrahams, Marc (October 8, 2012). "Scientist fighting crime and gravity", The Guardian.
  34. ^ Bruce, Alexandra (2007). Beyond The Secret: The Definitive Unauthorized Guide to The Secret. New York: The Disinformation Company, Red Wheel Weiser. p. 100. ISBN 9781934708408.
  35. ^ a b Soo, Constantine (October 2005). "Constantine Soo listens to the Enlightened Audio Designs Ovation Plus as modified by Boelen/Noble Electronics". Dagogo. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  36. ^ Wilson, Kim (December 1, 1998). "Enlightened Audio Designs Theater Master Digital Processor". Audio Video Revolution. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008.
  37. ^ Nemeth, Stephen (2014). "Natural Law Party", in Larry J. Sabato, Howard R. Ernst (eds.), Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections, Infobase Publishing, p. 241.
  38. ^ a b Lindlaw, Scott (August 11, 2000). "Profile: John Hagelin". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010.
  39. ^ "Natural Law Party Says He'll Debate Anytime, Anywhere". Nashville Daily News. September 30, 1992. pp. 1, 3.
  40. ^ Farley, Christopher; McKissack, Fred (November 1996). "Party out of Bounds: Who Says There Are Only Two Choices in This Election?". Vibe. 4 (9): 70.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "On The Issues". Issues 2000. June 9, 1994.
  42. ^ Kraus, Daniel (25 August 2000). "Roo the day", Salon.
  43. ^ Schmitt, Eric (October 5, 1996). "On the Sidelines, Many Third-Party Candidates Are Hoping to Make a Point". The New York Times.
  44. ^ Corrado, Anthony; Mann, Thomas; Ortiz, Daniel; Potter, Trevor (2005). The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook. Brookings Institution Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-8157-0005-0.
  45. ^ Wall, Amy (July 7, 2000). "The Presidential Candidate From Maharishi U.", The New York Times.
  46. ^ a b Herrnson, Paul; Green, John Clifford (2002). Multiparty politics in America. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7425-1599-4.
  47. ^ "Reform Party of the United States v. John Hagelin and Reform Party of the United States v. Gerald M. Moan" (PDF). Federal Election Commission Record. 26 (11): 10. November 2000.
  48. ^ "2000 Official Presidential General Election Results General Election Date: 11/7/00". Federal Election Commission. December 2001. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  49. ^ Lee, Jennifer (October 14, 2003). "Kucinich, Declaring for President, Takes Populist Stance". The New York Times. p. A21.
  50. ^ "Natural Law Party". April 5, 2004.
  51. ^ "Hagelin, John". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  52. ^ "Dr. John Hagelin". Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy.
  53. ^ "'Invincible Defense' Strategy Welcomed on Capitol Hill". Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy. December 2001.
  54. ^ a b Janofsky, Michael (August 5, 2000). "Public Lives: Taking a Scientist's Approach to the Problem of Politics". The New York Times.
  55. ^ "Minutes of meeting" (PDF). Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. September 24–25, 1998. pp. 15–16. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 14, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  56. ^ "The Institute's Testimony to the National Institute of Health's Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee In Utero Genetic Engineering on Human Fetuses". Institute of Science, Technology & Public Policy. September 24, 1998.
  57. ^ a b Weber 2014, p. 57.
  58. ^ "USPG officIal web site". US Peace Government. 2011. Archived from the original on April 15, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  59. ^ "Press Release: Meditators Fly for Peace". InvincibleAmerica. July 25, 2007.
  60. ^ "Press Release: Invincible America Assembly Nears Goal of 2500 Participants". Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy. February 2008.
  61. ^ Rascoe, Ayesha (July 27, 2007). "Meditators predict Dow 17,000, near US utopia". Reuters. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  62. ^ Litterick, David (August 4, 2007). "Wall Street life: We're picking up God vibrations, it's giving the Dow excitations". The Daily Telegraph.
  63. ^ "Global Union of Scientists for Peace".
  64. ^ "Kilby laureates". The Kilby International Awards. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  65. ^ Humes, Cynthia Ann. "The Trandescendental Organization and Its Encounter with Science", in James R. Lewis, Olav Hammer (eds.), Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science, Leiden: Brill, 2010 (345–370), 360. ISBN 9789004187917
  66. ^ Jones, Connie (June 21, 2001). "It's Lights Out for the Natural Law Party". Dayton Daily News. p. Z.4.1.
  67. ^ "Marriage". The Iowa Source: F-4. November 2010. On August 9 Dr. John Hagelin married Kara Anastasio in Manchester, VT. The couple lives in Fairfield, Iowa.

External links[edit]