In 1967, Puthoff earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.  He then worked with, and invented, tunable lasers and electron beam devices, concerning which he holds patents, and he is co-author (with R. Pantell) of Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics (Wiley, 1969), published in English, French, Russian and Chinese. Puthoff published papers on polarizable vacuum (PV) and stochastic electrodynamics topics, which are examples of alternative approaches to general relativity and quantum mechanics.
Puthoff took an interest in the Church of Scientology in the late 1960s and reached what was then the top OT VII level by 1971. Puthoff wrote up his "wins" for a Scientology publication, claiming to have achieved " remote viewing " abilities. In 1974, Puthoff also wrote a piece for Scientology's Celebrity magazine, stating that Scientology had given him "a feeling of absolute fearlessness". Puthoff severed all connection with Scientology in the late 1970s.
In the 1970s and '80s Puthoff directed a CIA / DIA -funded program at SRI International to investigate paranormal abilities, collaborating with Russell Targ in a study of the purported psychic abilities of Uri Geller, Ingo Swann, Pat Price, Joseph McMoneagle and others, as part of the Stargate Project. Both Puthoff and Targ became convinced Geller and Swann had genuine psychic powers. However, Geller employed sleight of hand tricks.
Institute for Advanced Studies
In 1985, Puthoff founded a for-profit company, EarthTech International in Austin, TX. At about the same time, he founded an academically-oriented scientific research organization, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin (IASA), also in Austin, TX, where he is Director.  Independent of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, IASA pursues more focused research on topics specifically related to energy generation and space propulsion, with funding from anonymous donors.
Puthoff is currently the CEO of a privately funded research organization called EarthTech International, Inc. This organization is dedicated to the exploration of new frontiers in the physics of spaceflight energy and propulsion. The activities of EarthTech primarily center around investigations into various aspects of the zero-point energy. Among its technical activities EarthTech evaluates claims of devices (so called "over-unity" devices) that are said to release more energy, presumably extracted from the ambient Zero Point electromagnetic field, low-energy nuclear reactions, or some other source, than they consume from conventional power sources. 
Puthoff and EarthTech were granted a US Patent 5,845,220  in 1998 after five years delay. The claims were disputed that information could be transmitted through a distance using a modulated potential with no electric or magnetic field components. The case is used for educational purposes in patent law  as an example of a valid patent where "The lesson of the Puthoff patent is that in a world where both types of patents are more and more common, even a competent examiner may fail to distinguish innovation from pseudoscience."
Assessment of scholarship
Uri Geller was studied by Russell Targ and Puthoff at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). Targ and Puthoff declared to have demonstrated that Geller had genuine psychic powers, though it was reported that there were flaws with the controls in the experiments and Geller was caught using sleight of hand on many other occasions. According to Terence Hines:
Geller turned out to be nothing more than a magician using sleight of hand and considerable personal charm to fool his admirers. The tests at SRI turned out to have been run under conditions that can best be described as chaotic. Few limits were placed on Geller’s behavior, and he was more or less in control of the procedures used to test him. Further, the results of the tests were incorrectly reported in Targ and Puthoff’s Nature paper.
The psychologists David Marks and Richard Kammann attempted to replicate Targ and Puthoff’s remote viewing experiments. In a series of thirty-five studies, they were unable to replicate the results so investigated the procedure of the original experiments. Marks and Kammann discovered that the notes given to the judges in Targ and Puthoff's experiments contained clues as to which order they were carried out, such as referring to yesterday's two targets, or they had the date of the session written at the top of the page. They concluded that these clues were the reason for the experiment's high hit rates. Terence Hines has written:
Examination of the few actual transcripts published by Targ and Puthoff show that just such clues were present. To find out if the unpublished transcripts contained cues, Marks and Kammann wrote to Targ and Puthoff requesting copies. It is almost unheard of for a scientist to refuse to provide his data for independent examination when asked, but Targ and Puthoff consistently refused to allow Marks and Kammann to see copies of the transcripts. Marks and Kammann were, however, able to obtain copies of the transcripts from the judge who used them. The transcripts were found to contain a wealth of cues.
According to Marks, when the cues were eliminated, the results fell to a chance level. James Randi noted that controlled tests by several other researchers, eliminating several sources of cuing and extraneous evidence present in the original tests, produced negative results. Students were also able to solve Puthoff and Targ's locations from the clues that had inadvertently been included in the transcripts. 
Marks and Kamman concluded: "Until remote viewing can be confirmed in conditions which prevent sensory cueing the conclusions of Targ and Puthoff remain an unsubstantiated hypothesis."
To the Stars Academy
Puthoff is cofounder and Vice President, Science and Technology of the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences , which investigates breakthrough technologies, among them, Unidentified Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), consciousness and the engineering of spacetime. 
In April 2018 Puthoff was selected as recipient of the 2018 Dinsdale Award of the Society for Scientific Exploration, which recognizes “significant contributions to the expansion of human understanding through the study of unexplained phenomena.”
The award was granted “for the application of sound scientific principles and methodologies to the study of remote perception, quantum zero-point fluctuations, and unidentified aerial objects, and for realizing the potential usefulness of these oft-shunned phenomena in the real world.” 
- Pantell, Richard H.; Puthoff, H. E. (1969). Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics . New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-65790-5.
- H. E. Puthoff,, 1996, from the website of Ingo Swann, also said to be an ex-employee of Project SCANATE.
- Puthoff, H. E. (2002). "Searching for the Universal Matrix in Metaphysics". Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology . 2: 22.
- Puthoff, H. E. (2002). "Polarizable Vacuum (PV) Approach to General Relativity". Foundations of Physics . 32 (6): 927–943. doi:.
- Puthoff, H. E.; Little, S. R.; Ibison, M. (2002). "Engineering the Zero-Point Field and Polarizable Vacuum for Interstellar Flight". J. British Interplanetary Society . 55: 137–144. arXiv: . Bibcode:. . This paper has been retracted, as stated in the arXiv entry: "Author Ibison does not subscribe to some of the speculations in this document."