How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser
Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

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Synopsis

“Meticulously researched and unapologetically romantic, How the Hippies Saved Physics makes the history of science fun again.”—Science


In the 1970s, an eccentric group of physicists in Berkeley, California, banded together to explore the wilder side of science. Dubbing themselves the “Fundamental Fysiks Group,” they pursued an audacious, speculative approach to physics, studying quantum entanglement in terms of Eastern mysticism and psychic mind reading. As David Kaiser reveals, these unlikely heroes spun modern physics in a new direction, forcing mainstream physicists to pay attention to the strange but exciting underpinnings of quantum theory.
 

About David Kaiser

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David Kaiser is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and the Department of Physics. He lives near Boston.
 
Published June 27, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 416 pages
Genres: History, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How the Hippies Saved Physics

Kirkus Reviews

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With financial support from unexpected sources such as the CIA (worried about possible Soviet PSI weapons) and various young millionaires including Werner Erhard, they explored complex, hitherto ignored areas such as Bell’s theorem and quantum entanglement while annoying the establishment by expl...

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

The New York Times

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Kaiser says his title was inspired by Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization,” and he has a similar aim: to show, with a healthy dose of irony, how another “unlikely group of underdogs and castaways kept the torch of learning aflame.” He reminds us that the pioneers of quantum mechanic...

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

The Guardian

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Quantum theory has been with us, in one form or another, for more than a century.

Sep 26 2012 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

The Wall Street Journal

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No wonder Mr. Kaiser was drawn to the story: It's rare to find quantum physics mentioned in the same breath with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, plus religion (of a sort), shady (but strictly speaking, legal) financial dealings involving a research foundation that spent most of its money on fees fo...

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The Wall Street Journal

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Trying to draw a line from LSD to ESP by way of quantum physics.

Jun 25 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Christian Science Monitor

Modern theoretical physics owes its survival, in part, to the counterculture movement of the 1960s and ’70s.

Jul 19 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

The Bookbag

On the way we are introduced, sometimes with rather scrappy diagrams, to the concepts and key experiments that formed an important new area of Physics, quantum information theory.

Dec 07 2014 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Dallas News

Of all the sciences, quantum physics attracts more than its fair share of cranks.

Jul 08 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

City Book Review

How The Hippies Saved Physics by MIT physicist and science historian David Kaiser is a historical tale of a group of underemployed scientific rebels who changed the way physicists saw the theory of relativity and the universe.

Nov 15 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Zimbio

Every Friday afternoon for several years in the 1970s, a group of underemployed quantum physicists met at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, in Northern California, to talk about a subject so peculiar it was rarely discussed in mainstream science: entanglement.

Jun 29 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Portland Book Review

David Kaiser’s seriously documented history of science book How the Hippies Saved Physics details the at-first surprising notion that some physicists working on quantum information theory in the 1960s and 70s were also devoted followers of “psi” phenomena: telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, ...

May 14 2012 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Bookmarks Magazine

Unlikely as it may seem, these iconoclasts spun modern physics in a new direction, forcing mainstream physicists to pay attention to the strange but exciting underpinnings of quantum theory.

Jun 21 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Boing Boing

However … I think Heisenberg was right to characterize Bohm’s quest for a theory about the subatomic particles “as they really is” (i.e., with real and simultaneous values of position of momentum) as a “philosophical superstructure” to quantum theory given that it did not seem to have any new exp...

Jul 05 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

Scientific American

As Bell later recalled, Clauser's letter from February 1969 was the first direct response Bell had received from any physicist regarding Bell's theorem—more than four years after Bell's article had been published.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

BG Daily News

“If a culture cannot afford an area in itself where pure nonsense happens, and where it is not practical, it has no objectives … then this culture is dead.” This quote by Alan Watts (from 1967) sets the stage for “How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival,” t...

Nov 27 2011 | Read Full Review of How the Hippies Saved Physics...

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