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How the Hippies Saved Physics, by David Kaiser

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Yes, it actually happened. Kaiser’s narrative takes shape along a curving line of events extending from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It also reveals how and why – for a time – many of America’s math whizzes were recruited by the likes of the CIA to work on encryption, the space race, and national defense during the cold war.

For Kaiser, the people that give this book its centrifugal force are eccentric members of the Fundamental Fysiks Group based for the most part in San Francisco. Among them were Fritjof Capra, author of 1975 classic “The Tao of Physics,” along with Gary Zukav (“The Dancing Wu Li Masters”), Jack Sarfatti, (“Space-Time and Beyond”), and Nick Herbert (“Quantum Reality”).

Even as some of them sought to unlock the limitations of their minds with LSD and Eastern mysticism, they plunged headlong into such things as the paradox of Bell’s theorem, which basically suggests that in order to understand the real picture of the universe one needs to accept that we know far less (not more) than we can see or understand.

It is the ultimate license for thinking outside the box of what is perceived to be reality.

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