Dr. Eben Alexander, III, M.D., F.A.C.S

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Eben Alexander, III

Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Eben Alexander, Jr. (or II)

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Dr. Eben Alexander, III, M.D., F.A.C.S


Eben Alexander III (born December, 1953 in Charlotte, North Carolina) is a neurosurgeon and the author of the best-selling Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, in which he shares his thoughts on his near-death experience and whether science can explain that heaven really does exist.


Alexander is the author of the autobiographical book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (2012) in which he asserts that his out of body and near death experience (NDE) while in a meningitis-induced coma in 2008 proves that consciousness is independent of the brain, that death is an illusion, and that an eternity of perfect splendor awaits in the afterlife. According to him, the current understanding of the mind “now lies broken at our feet ”— for “What happened to me destroyed it, and I intend to spend the rest of my life investigating the true nature of consciousness and making the fact that we are more, much more, than our physical brains as clear as I can, both to my fellow scientists and to people at large.” Alexander’s book was excerpted in a Newsweek magazine cover story in October 2012. (In May 2012, Alexander had provided a slightly more technical account of the events described in his book in an article, "My Experience in Coma", in AANS Neurosurgeon, the trade publication of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.)

Alexander’s book and publicity campaign have been criticized by scientists including neuroscientist Sam Harris who found his account “alarmingly unscientific” and who has written that “Everything — absolutely everything — in Alexander’s account rests on repeated assertions that his visions of heaven occurred while his cerebral cortex was “shut down,” “inactivated,” “completely shut down,” “totally offline,” and “stunned to complete inactivity.” The evidence he provides for this claim is not only inadequate — it suggests that he doesn’t know anything about the relevant brain science.” "Even in cases where the brain is alleged to have shut down, its activity must return if the subject is to survive and describe the experience. In such cases, there is generally no way to establish that the NDE occurred while the brain was offline."

In November 2012, Alexander responded to critics in a second Newsweek article: "My synapses—the spaces between the neurons of the brain that support the electrochemical activity that makes the brain function—were not simply compromised during my experience. They were stopped. Only isolated pockets of deep cortical neurons were still sputtering, but no broad networks capable of generating anything like what we call “consciousness.” The E. coli bacteria that flooded my brain during my illness made sure of that. My doctors have told me that according to all the brain tests they were doing, there was no way that any of the functions including vision, hearing, emotion, memory, language, or logic could possibly have been intact." Alexander also responded, "I know that my experience happened within coma because of certain anchors to earth time in memory."

As of December 2, 2012, Proof of Heaven has been on the The New York Times Best Seller list for four weeks.


Education and training

Alexander attended Phillips Exeter Academy (class of 1972), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (A.B., 1975), and the Duke University School of Medicine (M.D., 1980).

Alexander was an Intern in General Surgery at Duke University Medical Center, a resident at Duke, Newcastle (U.K.) General Hospital. He was a resident and research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.).

Academic and clinical appointments

Alexander has taught at Duke University Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the University of Virginia Medical School.

He has had hospital appointments at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and Lynchburg (Virginia) General Hospital-CentraHealth. He is currently an attending neurosurgeon.

Professional activities

Alexander is a member of the American Medical Association and various other professional societies. He has been on the editorial boards of various journals.

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Dr. Eben Alexander, III, M.D., F.A.C.S's Timeline

December 11, 1953
Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States