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THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY

WALDEMAR B(ERNHARD) KAEMPFFERT

Science editor and writer. B. September 23, 1877, New York, N.Y.; d. November 27, 1956, New York. B. S., 1897, City College of New Yok; LL.B., 1903, New York University. M. Carolyn Lydia Yeaton (d. 1933). Member advisory research council, American Society for Psychical Research, 1921-25; trustee, ASPR, 1941-50.

Science editor of The New York Times for 26 years (1927-28; 1931-56), Kaempffert earlier worked for Scientific American magazine (1897-1915), where he became managing editor in 1911, and Popular Science Monthly (1915-20), which he joined as editor. From 1928 to 1931 he was first director of the newly established Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. For his "contributions to public understanding of science" he received the Kalinga Prize in 1954, and in the same year was presented with the Albert and Mary Lasker award for "having shaped profoundly his newspaper's contribution to medical reporting in the public interest."

His magazine and newspaper reporting for more than half a century reflected Kaempffert's consistent efforts to make science comprehensible and significant for the layman in an age when its discoveries increasingly affect the average citizen. His subject matter, the Times noted on his death, had been "as wide as nature itself," ranging from atomic energy to medical research, from industrial management to the effect of dictatorship on scientific progress, from the possibilities of rocketry to speculation on the origin of life. His concern was the whole man and he deplored rigid concepts and narrow speculation.

Kaempffert's interest in psychic research dated back to the turn of the century, and his friends included such pioneers in the field as James H. Hyslop and Walter Franklin Prince (qq.v.). He believed that through parapsychology man could learn more about himself, from physical, psychological and philosophical standpoints. Kaempffert commented favorably in the columns of the Times on the investigations into survival conducted by Dr. John F. Thomas (q.v.) and on the worl of Dr. J. B. Rhine (q.v.) in the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University.

In 1940 Kaempffert stated: "If experiements and statistical analysis mean anything, there is no escape from the conclusion that ESP exists. This is not to say that it may not be disproved.... But until that new conception and that new test are forthcoming, the case for ESP is as good as a scientific case may be." His most recent book was Explorations in Science (1953). Earlier books include Science Today and Tomorrow (1939, 1945); Invention and Society (1930); the ABC of Radio (1922); The New Art of Flying (1911).


Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications


 
 

 

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