How the Hippies Saved Physics
by David Kaiser
(W. W. Norton)
During the cold war, physics funding favored gadgetry that could be used against our enemies, and researchers largely worked under a directive to “shut up and calculate.” The Berkeley, California–based Fundamental Fysiks Group, a fringe band of yoga-practicing, LSD-dabbling scholars, went decidedly against the grain. Through the 1970s they philosophized about the Schrödinger equation, produced theories on psychokinesis, and laid the groundwork for quantum mechanics. MIT professor Kaiser illuminates the complex ways in which information travels between entangled electrons and between entangled people. The concepts may be mind-bending, but the lesson is simple: Enjoy the quest.
—Sarah Stanley, Elise J. Marton, Andrew Grant, Shannon Palus
National Public Radio
If you haven’t been listening to Radiolab, start now. On the hour-long broadcast, hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore both the cutting-edge and the curious in science. They cover the standard beats—physicist Brian Greene and neurologist Oliver Sacks are frequent guests—but also give airtime to less-reported delights. Recent shows have featured two 10-year-olds, both named Laura, who meet because of a note carried across the United Kingdom by balloon; theories surrounding contagious laughter; and a parrot who helps a man manage anger problems. Radiolab airs on more than 300 public radio stations; check listings for times in your area. You can also download all nine seasons’ worth of shows at radiolab.org and catch up in time for the new season, which hits the airwaves in September. —S.P.