The Noosphere Award

The Noosphere Award supports faculty-student collaborative projects unifying artistic, scientific, and spiritual elements that promote the advent of a worldwide culture of peace.

Now accepting applications for the 2018 Noosphere Award

Deadline: February 16, 2018

About the Noosphere Award

Noosphere (pronounced ˈnō-ə- sfir) refers to a goal of planetary evolution that is essential for the continuance of Earth’s evolutionary trajectory -- the creation of a unified human culture in harmony with the ecological values that support all life: diversity, creativity, interdependence, and communication. The Noosphere Award seeks to promote this hopeful vision by supporting modest proposals to facilitate this transformation.

The Noosphere Award provides Evergreen students and faculty opportunities to explore and contribute to the noosphere’s coalescence through concrete activities, including but not restricted to special research projects, guest lectures or seminars, fairs, or other events consistent with the endowment’s purpose.

The family of alumnus Adam Leveen Sher '02 established this endowed award to assist future generations of students at The Evergreen State College.

How to apply

One award of up to $1,500 is typically available each year.  Smaller grant amounts may be considered.

Each proposed project must include at least one faculty member and one student working collaboratively; larger collaborations are also welcome to apply. Eligible faculty must be teaching at the college and eligible students must be enrolled during the proposed project period. 

A complete application includes all of the following:

  • A completed cover page, available for download here in Word or PDF.
  • A three- to five-sentence abstract of the project.
  • A narrative (not more than three pages, single spaced, 12 pt type) that describes in numbered order:
    1. The proposed project activities. (Explain concretely what you plan to do and when.  Provide a timeline for completing  key project milestones.)
    2. How the proposed project activities will promote the kinds of transformation encompassed in the idea of the noosphere. (It is recommended that your review the materials about the noosphere linked below before developing this section of your narrative.)
    3. How faculty and students will collaborate to accomplish this project. (What is the nature of the collaboration? What specific roles will each member of the team play?)
    4. The anticipated outcomes of the project.  (What will be gained by the activities proposed in this project?  Who will benefit? Preference will be given to projects that engage the greater college community or general public in a meaningful way.)
  • A budget with adequate detail for a reviewer to understand the major costs of the project. The budget should include enough information about how costs were determined for reviewers to assess if the requested award is reasonable and necessary.

Projects may begin at any point after notification of award and must be completed by May 31 of the next academic year.

Submit your application electronically to the Academic Grants Office at A single PDF or Word file is preferred. Contact the Academic Grants staff for information about other compatible file formats.

More about the idea of the noosphere

The noosphere is a term jointly introduced in the early 1920’s by Russian geologist Vladimir I. Vernadsky, French theologian-philosopher-geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and French mathematician Eduard LeRoy. It refers to that part of the world of life that is created by human thought and culture, arising from, but distinct from, the geosphere and biosphere.

Vernadsky, Teilhard and LeRoy considered the Noosphere to be a distinct state in the development of Earth, in which the planet itself finally emerges as a whole self-reflective conscious entity. Just as individual life-forms participate in the whole of the biosphere as one living entity, they reasoned, so individual human beings and thought forms can and do participate in the consciousness of the Earth, as one conscious entity. This understanding, in turn, led them to believe that the evolution and unification of human culture through the noosphere would be critical to solving the planetary political, ecological, and moral crises of our times. This vision has since been embraced and developed by a wide range of thinkers, artists and scientists and is at the conceptual core of the modern ecological movement.

You may wish to consult Paul Samson and David Pitt's book, The Biosphere and Noosphere Reader (Taylor & Francis 2007). The following web sites might also be helpful:

One Big Brain

In 2014, Evergreen hosted One Big Brain, which included a screening of the film Overview followed by a panel discussion of the ramifications of emerging planetary consciousness inherent in the concept of the noosphere.  Overview documents the revolutionary, perspective-altering experiences of astronauts who see the Earth from space.  Panelists included:

  • Craig Bartlett ’81—animator, writer, director, producer; television series creations include Rugrats, Dinosaur Train, and the upcoming Jet Propulsion.
  • Joye Hardiman—faculty emerita in humanities and literature, former director of Evergreen Tacoma
  • Miranda Mellis—faculty in fiction, non-fiction, and contemporary literature, author of The Spokes, None of This Is Real, and The Revisionist
  • Paul Pham—faculty in computer science, electrical engineering, creative writing
  • Bill Ransom—faculty emeritus in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, literature; poet; author of Viravax, Burn, and (with Frank Herbert) The Pandora Sequence.
  • Adam Sher ‘02—Transformative Experiences Director, Hazon
  • Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim—psychotherapist; Tibetan lama; founder of the Nalanda Institute
  • Bret Weinstein—faculty in evolutionary biology
  • Sarah Williams—faculty in consciousness studies, feminist theory

You can watch the entire video of the event, including the film Overview, here: