How the Hippies Saved Physics

  • by David Kaiser
  • Narrated by Sean Runnette
  • 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The surprising story of eccentric young scientists who stood up to convention—and changed the face of modern physics.
In the 1970s, amid severe cutbacks in physics funding, a small group of underemployed physicists in Berkeley decided to throw off the constraints of academia and explore the wilder side of science. Dubbing themselves the “Fundamental Fysiks Group,” they pursued a freewheeling, speculative approach to physics. Some dabbled with LSD while conducting experiments. They studied quantum theory alongside Eastern mysticism and psychic mind reading, discussing the latest developments while lounging in hot tubs. Unlikely as it may seem, this quirky band of misfits altered the course of modern physics, forcing mainstream physicists to pay attention to the strange but exciting underpinnings of quantum theory. Their work on Bell’s theorem and quantum entanglement helped pave the way for today’s advances in quantum information science.
A lively and entertaining Cinderella story, How the Hippies Saved Physics takes us to a time when only the unlikeliest heroes could break the science world out of its rut.

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What the Critics Say

“How the Hippies Saved Physics takes readers on a mind-bending trip to the far horizons of science—a place where the counterculture’s search for a New Age of consciousness opened the door to a new era in physics. Who knew that the discipline that brought us the atom bomb had also glimpsed Utopia? Amazing.” (Fred Turner, author of From Counterculture to Cyberculture)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Finally, I understand entanglement

Tells a great story about entanglement or as Einstein would say "spooky action at a distance". The people involved in proving Bells theorem and its significance are discussed at length. "The Dance of the Photon" tells a better story about the science of entanglement while this book tells a better story about the people involved and the significance of the science.
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- Gary

All physicists should take LSD & cut to the chase.

An interesting enough story about brilliant minds, some of which were opened to inner dimensions by psychedelics, others of which were influenced by their proximity, and some which were simply a product of their time and space. Like the similarly themed "A Quantum Story", it traces the intellectual path from linear (and arbitrarily constructed) Newtonian physics and its pompous 19th century presumption to know and explain everything to the 20th century realization we don't know much about anything and probably never will. (How big is infinity anyway?) It also reveals the practical application of sciences both in its references to Cold War weapons development and, more interestingly to me, the discovery of quantum encryption which makes it possible for us to buy things and bank online reasonably safely. My only gripe is that I'm not a physicist and, as with "A Quantum Story", I could have done without the tedious blackboard formula reading. This much shorter version of the story is a better choice for the layman, and even then you had better be really interested.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-27-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.