A book review on hippies and Quantum Physics might not be the first thing you’d expect from a site that focuses on surf, art and nature. And yet, and yet… Is it not true that Californian hippie culture in the 60s went hand in hand with surfing? And is it not true that most surfers are physicists in the way we endlessly study waves?
Whether or not you’re convinced, I was recently lured into reading David Kaiser’s How the Hippies Saved Physics, an account of a radical group of hippie physicists who rescued Bell’s theorem from relative obscurity. In doing so, this group of hippie physicists challenged the field of physics which was becoming increasingly centred around calculator-bashing narrow-minded physicists gearing up for war.
I know what you’re thinking: that your quantum physics is a bit rusty.
Well, don’t worry, as here is a crib sheet: in brief, Bell’s theorem gives precise physical content to the mystic motto “we are all one” by claiming that quantum objects that had once interacted would retain some strange link or connection, even after they had moved arbitrarily apart from each other. Although having said that, the Fundamental Fysiks Group didn’t actually set out to explore Bell’s theorem so much as explore the parapsychological – it is just that the Irish physicist’s theorem seemed like a good way to explain weird occult like actions at a distance. What?!
As a taster, here are some lines from Elizabeth Rauscher:
I believe in nonlocality: I believe nonlocality is real. Reality is better described by more than four dimensions. Most of everything, I think, is spirit, and a little is condensed out as matter. I believe in remote viewing, precognition, psychokineses – because I did it – remote healing effects on at least bacteria systems, electromagnetic effects on biological systems. UFOs are a question mark. Life and death exist. And interestingly enough, it only takes one experiment to find out that you believe in life, because it only takes the birth of one child… We can have peace, love, and joy on this planet, instead of war, crime and violence. Instead of warships, we need peaceship.
That is pretty profound stuff if you care to read it!
I have to say that some of David Kaiser’s expertly explained physics went a bit beyond my salt-corroded brain, but I did enjoy my foray into physics. If you are curious about delving further into links between consciousness and physical matter, the parapsychological or quantum physics in general, I’d say you’re on to a winner. Although if you just like the cover of the book, then I might give it a miss if I were you.
Next stop for me will be Franz Capra’s The Tao of Physics…