I'm largely self-educated, though I went through five years of Canadian high school... I worked internationally as a professional magician - "conjuror" is more correct - until I reached 60, when I retired and began my serious work as an investigator of so-called paranormal claims. My expertise as a conjuror has given me the means to solve the tricks of the fakers. My group, the James Randi Educational Foundation, offers the woo-woos out there our million-dollar prize if any of them can provide evidence of any of the hundreds of claims they make. Homeopathy, psychic readings, prophecy, dowsing, psychic healing, astrology, ESP, acupuncture, reiki, "therapeutic touch", among many other such claims, are all eligible. I've written nine books, and the tenth - "A Magician in the Laboratory" - is presently being completed.
A few years ago, I had a triple coronary bypass, then developed colon cancer. I didn't run to the quacks or the "psychics." I had the operations, followed by chemotherapy, and medical science, not magic, nor prayers, incense, chanting, or bell-ringing, pulled me through.
I've written articles for Chicago Sun, Discovery, Experientia (Switzerland), Free Inquiry, The Humanist, Los Angeles Times, Nature, New Scientist, New York Times, Omni, Physics and Society, La Recherche, Science et Vie, Technology Review, Természet Világa (World of Nature, Hungary), TIME, Ulisse (Italy) and many other technical and popular publications including major newspapers, and for Encyclopedia Americana, Compton's Encyclopedia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica Medical & Health Annual.
In the USA I've spoken at 3M Labs, American Astronomical Society, American Cancer Society (thrice), American Association for the Advancement of Science (four times), American Physical Society (thrice), Bell Labs (several times), Cal Tech (several times), Cornell University (twice), Exxon Research Club, Fermi Lab (twice), Franklin Institute (Philadelphia), General Electric Labs, Goddard Space Flight Center, Harvard University, Houston Space Flight Center, IBM's Sigma Xi, the JASONS, Johns Hopkins University, Los Alamos National Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (four times), Mensa (local groups), Miller Institute, Museum of Science & Industry (Chicago), NASA, National Geographic Society, National Institute of Science & Technology, National Science Foundation (twice), National Science Teachers Association, National Security Agency, New York Academy of Sciences, Princeton University, RCA's David Sarnoff Research Center, Sandia Labs (twice), Smithsonian Institution (thrice), Summer Science Program (Ojai CA), Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley (thrice), Talcott Mountain Science Center (thrice), Westinghouse Research Club (twice), Yale University Law School. AUSTRIA: University of Linz. BELGIUM: University of Ghent. CANADA: Alberta Science Centre, McGill University, Royal Ontario Museum, McLaughlin Planetarium (Toronto). CHINA: Chinese Institute of Scientific & Technical Information (Beijing). DENMARK: Museum of Medical History, Nils Bohr Institute. FINLAND: Heureka Science Center (twice), University of Finland (twice), World Conference on Health Education/91. GERMANY: Academy of Sciences (G.D.R.), Academy of Berlin. HUNGARY: Brain Science Conference/1992, Neuroscience Society of Hungary. NETHERLANDS: Museon (The Hague), NORWAY: University of Oslo. SOUTH AFRICA: SciFest/97, SWITZERLAND: CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics (thrice), Koetser Foundation for Brain Research. SWEDEN: Luleå University of Technology, University of Stockholm (twice). UK: British Association for the Advancement of Science, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Liverpool University, Cardiff University, National Physical Lab (twice), Royal Institution. Also, scores of colleges around the world including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Peoples Republic of China, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the USA.
I was the host of The Randi Show on WOR-Radio, New York City (1966/7) and have had my own TV Specials in Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the USA. I've appeared in many TV documentaries, interview shows and variety productions in France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, the UK and other countries. I appear frequently on US television, and have done three world tours as a performer and lecturer through the Far East, Europe, Australia and North and South America. In 1974 I performed by special request at the White House. I spend much of hmy time traveling between performances and lectures all over the globe. A Granada TV series, "James Randi: Psychic Investigator" was shown in the UK in 1991. In 2003, a 14-episode TV series by Seoul Broadcasting Corp. with myself as the host, was shown in South Korea.
An idea worth spreading
Belief in so-called "paranormal phenomena" is dangerous, misleading, and simply wrong. My Foundation offers a one-million-dollar prize to ANYONE who can provide proof of ANY such phenomena. Hundreds have applied, none have provided that evidence. Why? I suspect that it's because there is NO evidence other than anecdotal. The prize is there, anyone can win it with an investment of 20 minutes of their time. None of the "biggies" -- Uri Geller, Sylvia Browne, John Edward, James Van Praagh, have responded to the challenge. Again, why? Oh, Browne DID respond, on Larry King Live. She promised to take the challenge, then said she didn't know how to reach me! She TALKS TO DEAD PEOPLE, but she can't reach me? Google, alone, has - currently - 418,000 references to me, and Browne can't reach me...? If you, reading this, think that paranormal powers exist, step right up. Prove your claim. Go to www.randi.org and apply... The loud silence you hear is from all those folks...
I'm passionate about
Talk to me about
Paranormal claims, "psychic" matters, faith-healing, all that nonsense...
People don't know I'm good at
Arguing for reason...
My TED story
I spoke at TED 2007. I have a distinct memory of the event. However, according to the TED system, I don't exist when looked up under "speakers." Where did I lose touch with reality? Yes, I'll be at TED 2010 - somewhat confused, but bravely forging ahead.