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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Aerospace Entrepreneur Offers Up to $500,000 For Best Evidence of Afterlife
By Madhava Smullen   |  Feb 12, 2021


The Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies, founded by American businessman Robert T. Bigelow, is currently running an essay competition on “Best Evidence for Afterlife.” Bigelow is the owner of hotel chain Budget Suites of America and the founder of Bigelow Aerospace.

According to, “The goal of the essay contest is to award contestants for writing papers that summarize the best evidence available for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death.”

The essays, which must be up to 25,000 words, will be judged by five renowned experts, including a forensic neurologist, a professor of statistics, and a chairman emeritus of psychiatry.

Entrants must first submit an application by February 28th, describing their background and qualifications. All applicants must provide evidence that they have investigated the topic of Survival of Human Consciousness after Death for five years or more. Once approved, they must submit their essay by August 1st, 2021.

Winners will be announced on November 1st, 2021. The winning essay will receive $500,000, while $300,000 will be awarded to the essay in second place, and $150,000 to the third, totalling nearly $1 million in prizes.

According to the website, Robert Bigelow founded BICS “to support research into both the survival of human consciousness after physical death and, based on data from such studies, the nature of the afterlife. For decades he has also supported serious investigations into consciousness and manifestations of unusual phenomena that are not yet understood by science.”

“Despite intriguing evidence,” the website continues, “The number of research groups and funding devoted to investigating the survival of human consciousness beyond death is shockingly small in the Western world. Even though all 7.8 billion humans on planet Earth will eventually die, very little high quality research is being conducted on perhaps the most important and fundamental question facing our species.”

BICS aims to “raise awareness among the public and within the scientific community of the importance and relevance of such an investigation.” The essays’ focus must be on scientific evidence, as well as objective and subjective supported documentation from “special cases, including older cases, from very credible witnesses; photographic or electronic data; all available literature; highly validated and authenticated human experiences; and other relevant sources.”

According to the essay guidelines, scriptural quotations will not be accepted as evidence beyond a reasonable doubt: “Quoting sacred scripture is an expression of faith. For the purposes of this contest, faith is not sufficient and does not constitute evidence, although it may well inform or influence the specific argument and choice of materials used.”

The essay competition may be of interest to ISKCON devotees, who of course have been studying consciousness for decades through projects like the Bhaktivedanta Institute, established in 1974.

For more information and to apply, please visit:

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