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Blog Posted in avatar   Jonathan Farrell's Blog

David Kaiser's book "How the Hippies Saved Physics" does not surprise me

blog:16355:2::0
By Jonathan Farrell
Posted Apr 26, 2012 in Science
When I saw the title "How the Hippies Saved Physics - Science Counter-culture and the Quantum Revival" by David Kaiser at the local library I was interested to know what would the hippie movement have to do with that?
Then I realized..."Duh!" An entire generation or so of people who were a part of that movement or came of age during that time are the minds and hearts behind most of the technological and scientific advancements today.
I also realized that no matter how much upheaval there is in a given society at any time, be it a revolution or a counter-culture, etc, there will always be an interest in science. When I was little I can recall my parents and grandparents being shocked by the changes they saw taking place, the change in dress, manner, etc. One simple yet very obvious sign of change was hair.
"Long hair" back in the 1960's was a sign of rebellion or at least some form of that "hippie culture." I can recall as a little kid the debate among various groups as to whether or not long hair and casual clothes were acceptable.
Yet, while some might think the world is falling apart when such a cultural shift occurs, it is interesting to note that some historians remind us not all is as dim. When the Roman Empire was falling and the "Dark Ages" emerged, historians note that they were not all about loss and decay.
And, so it is with the era of the hippie movement and all the tumultuous goings on of the 1960's. Yes, lots of change and upheaval was happening. But learning did not stop entirely. Interest in science and such did not cease. Think about the space program, the US reached the moon in 1969
Kaiser points out that while there were scores of people exploring new lifestyles and "dropping out" of school or the main stream of conventional norms, interest in science and pursuit of scientific discovery continued.
I like to think that when watching the sit-com "Big Bang Theory" perhaps the writers of the show are influenced by the great minds of the past 50 years. Yes, including those from the hippie movement era.

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