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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (169 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Kaiser Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fascinating history not only of science but also the counter culture and New Age Movement...Inspiring…A great book.”

    San Francisco Book Review

  • “Exhaustively and carefully researched. [Kaiser] has uncovered a wealth of revealing detail about the physicists involved, making for a very lively tale…Fascinating.”

    American Scientist

  • “Science has never been more unpredictable—or more entertaining!”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “An enthusiastic account of a coterie of physicists who, during the 1970s, embraced New Age fads and sometimes went on to make dramatic discoveries…Readers will enjoy this entertaining chronicle of colorful young scientists whose sweeping curiosity turned up no hard evidence for psychic phenomena but led to new ways of looking into the equally bizarre quantum world.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • 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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael | 1/12/2014

    " A little overwrought towards the end, and not always convincing, Kaiser's tribute to the Fundamental Fysiks Group still entertains. To my surprise, the best sections had to do with the interplay between Werner Erhard, Esalen, and the Fysiks group. Erhard bankrolled some fairly credible conferences, but they never steered too far from controversy. The pace is brisk but Kaiser is not afraid to really discuss quantum linearity and Bell's theorem, so it's a very pleasant mix of science and history. Plus, reading how Richard Feynman became an Esalen fan in part because of the nude sunbathing, that was pretty classic right there. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Suzanne | 10/16/2013

    " This would have been a great article, but it was a little bloated for me as a book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jimagn | 9/19/2013

    " Good book. Extremely well researched and thorough. Well organized. Not a page-turner, but makes a good contribution to the philosophy of science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tom Sago | 9/14/2013

    " This book started out great! Humorous and witty. However it bogs down into nothing but name dropping in the middle and Has a lackluster ending. I enjoyed learning the particulars about the Fundamental Fysiks Group, but that wasn't enough to save the book. "

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About the Author
Author David Kaiser

David Kaiser is an associate professor at MIT, where he teaches in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and in the Department of Physics. He completed PhDs in physics and the history of science at Harvard University. He is the author of the award-winning book Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics. His research has received awards from the American Physical Society, the History of Science Society, the British Society for the History of Science, and MIT, and he has also received several teaching awards from Harvard and MIT. He and his family live in Natick, Massachusetts.