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Laurentian professor Michael Persinger, most famous for his God Helmet, passes away

Brain researcher was a popular professor who recently ran afoul of school's language policies

Laurentian University announced on Twitter today that Dr. Michael Persinger has passed away at the age of 73.

A professor of psychology at Laurentian since 1971, Persinger is perhaps best-known for the development of the "God Helmet", a device used to study creativity, religious experiences, and the effects of stimulation of the temporal lobes.

Persinger made national news headlines in 2016 when he was removed from a course by the university because of a form he had students sign, warning them that they would encounter some words and language that they may find offensive.

An online petition was started to re-instate Persinger, which garnered hundreds of signatures and positive comments from students who believed he was being treated unfairly.

That same year, a giant mural was painted atop Science North by French artists Ella and Pitr for Up Here, depicting Persinger and Stanley Koren's God Helmet on a sleeping giant.*

While he was a sitting member of Laurentian's senate, Persinger's removal from the course in 2016 was not the first time he has clashed with the university's administration.

In November 2006, Persinger called the school's administration “draconian” and “fascist” when they refused to allow a television crew to film a demonstration of his research.

In February 2007, he was asked to vacate three testing rooms at Laurentian's animal care facility, due to a shortage of research space on the campus.

At the time, Persinger's students filed a lawsuit against the university for locking them out of the research space and he filed a grievance with the faculty association to remedy the situation.

Despite his feuds with Laurentian's administration over the years, Persinger has also been recognized for his teaching style.

In 2007, he won a TVOntario contest and was named the province's best lecturer.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified one of the God Helmet creator's as Michael Koren instead of Stanley Koren. The story has been updated to reflect this.


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