Winners and runners-up in the Bigelow Essay Contest gathered in Las Vegas for an award ceremony at Bigelow Aerospace. Robert Bigelow, the founder of the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS), and Colm Kelleher, its Director, handed out prizes totalling $1.8 million in front of a large audience on Saturday, 4 December 2021.
Dr Jeffrey Mishlove was awarded first place and $500,00 for his essay ‘Beyond the Brain: The Survival of Human Consciousness After Permanent Bodily Death’. Coming second, Dr Pim van Lommel received $300,000 for ‘The Continuity of Consciousness: A Concept Based on Scientific Research on Near-Death Experiences during Cardiac Arrest’. In third place, Dr Leo Ruickbie, FRHistS, was awarded $150,000 for his essay ‘The Ghost in the Time Machine’.
Other prize recipients included Prof. Chris Roe and Dr Callum Cooper, and Dr David Rouseau and Julie Billingham. Together with Dr Ruickbie, they are all Council Members of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). Notably, first place winner Mishlove is also a member of the SPR.
A total of twenty-nine essays out of over 200 submitted were selected by the judges. The judging panel included experts Dr Jeffrey Kripal, Prof. Jessica Utts and bestselling journalist Leslie Kean.
A documentary film crew were on hand to record the event, with Dave Courvoisier interviewing the winners for KTNV and George Knapp from KLAS-TV and the host of Coast to Coast also conducting interviews.
All twenty-nine winning essays can be read on the BICS website here https://www.bigelowinstitute.org/contest_winners3.php.
Robert Bigelow presents the prize for first place to Jeffrey Mishlove at the award ceremony in Las Vegas, 4 December 2021 (photograph by Leo Ruickbie).