Thursday, June 30, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser

Charter members of the 'Fundamental Fysiks Group,' circa 1975. Standing, left to right: Jack Sarfatti, Saul-Paul Sirag, Nick Herbert; bottom corner: Fred Alan Wolf.

Story by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office, MIT on Before It's News:

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. Did subatomic particles influence each other from a distance? What were the implications?

Many of these scientists, who dubbed themselves the “Fundamental Fysiks Group,” were fascinated by the paranormal and thought quantum physics might reveal “the possibility of psycho-kinetic and telepathic effects,” as one put it. Some of the physicists cultivated flamboyant countercultural personas. In lieu of solid academic jobs, a few of them received funding from the leaders of the “human potential” movement that was a staple of 1970s self-help culture.

Those of you who are also interested in breaking new ground in physics can find information about online universities. To become a scientist, a college degree is generally necessary.

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