Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

NYT review of How the hippies saved physics

  1. Jun 21, 2011 #1

    bcrowell

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    George Johnson has a review in the Sunday NY Times of David Kaiser, "How the hippies saved physics: science, counterculture, and the quantum revival." 2011 jun 19: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/b...david-kaiser.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=fysiks&st=cse Kaiser teaches at MIT. The book and the review describe a 70's Bay Area group called the Fundamental Fysiks Group.

    I had seen some books by the members before, but hadn't realized they were so closely associated with one another (to the extent of getting funding for their group from Werner Erhard and others):

    Capra, The tao of physics, 1975
    Zukav, The dancing wu li masters, 1979
    Herbert, Quantum reality: beyond the new physics, 1985

    I've read the Capra and Zukav books and thought they were mostly nonsense.

    Kaiser claims that the group was instrumental in work leading up to the development of quantum cryptography, but Johnson is skeptical about that claim.

    There are links to "What the BLEEP do we know!?," which unfortunately a lot of my students seem to have seen and been impressed by.

    Lots of speculation about connections between qm and consciousness, which we also see from kooks like Nassim Haramein, as well as scary-smart folks like Roger Penrose.

    -Ben
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2011 #2

    DrChinese

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    Ben, from what I read it is more like a fair article based on a fanciful book about a lot of wishful thinking. I am not aware of a single piece of useful physics that came from any of the group, so I am not sure how they saved physics (or from what they saved physics). The inclusion of Jack Sarfatti in the story sealed the deal for me. I remember him from years ago.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2011 #3
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    I have actually had some discussions with Jack, and he is a sound professional man. I also know the work is fair, like Dr Chinese said. I would also like to state that the idea's of Penrose and Microtubules are most interesting - there is definately a link between gravity and consciousness. I myself am sure that consciousness can be viewed much like an emergent property of the geometry of the vacuum, so consciousness in some way or ''conscious systems'' require the low energy limits of geometrogenesis.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2011 #4

    DrChinese

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    "I want what he's having."

    :smile:
     
  6. Jun 21, 2011 #5

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    +1 on that !
     
  7. Jun 21, 2011 #6
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    Geometrodynamics is the study of energy levels in the vacuum - it speaks of the extremely high energy physics of the early universe to the emergence of geometry, and obviously if it involves geometry, then it by default involves gravity because of relativity.
     
  8. Jun 21, 2011 #7

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    I am slightly afraid of trying, but... count me in!
     
  9. Jun 21, 2011 #8
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    Nick Herbet (No-Cloning theorem) is very "scary-smart", check out his link to his own site in the comments section at Chad Orzel's blog article

    http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2011/06/one_persons_golden_age_is_anot.php [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Jun 21, 2011 #9

    atyy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    I think it's fair to say gravity seems necessary for consciousness, gravity = spacetime, and all consciousness we know of seems to exist in spacetime :tongue2:
     
  11. Jun 21, 2011 #10

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    Don't think too hard or you will turn into a Singularity!
     
  12. Jun 22, 2011 #11
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    Yes, it most likely requires gravity. As I explained, how consciousness seems to emanate from a three dimensional bundle of entangled particles. I think the brain is made of around 10^26 particles! They all exist within the geometry of spacetime.

    But let us not forget, that our nuerons require a nervous system which requires electrolyte activity - the electromagnetic signals of our brain must also play in the role of consciousness.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  13. Jun 22, 2011 #12

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    No way.

    Brain weights about 1500g. Assuming it is made only of carbon (which is not true, but gives reasonably good approximation) that means 125 moles, with 6.02x1023 atoms per mole, that gives 7.5x1025 atoms. Each carbon atom is made of 12 electrons, 6 protons and 6 neutrons, that means 24 particles - 1.8x1027. Even counting quarks separately we will be still many orders of magnitude short.
     
  14. Jun 22, 2011 #13
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    That was a typo, sorry, meant to write 10^26.
     
  15. Jun 22, 2011 #14

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    That sounds like a correct ball park :smile:
     
  16. Jun 22, 2011 #15
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    Anything that glorifies hippie culture is the enemy of all.

    Take a shower, put some socks on, get a paying job and you'll save physics and a whole lot more.
     
  17. Jun 22, 2011 #16

    DrChinese

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    For me, it is probably a few less brain cells due to my time as a hippie.
     
  18. Jun 22, 2011 #17
    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    I'm sure drugs however have had a large play in QFT, atleast in the sense it can expand the mind.
     
  19. Jun 22, 2011 #18

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Re: NYT review of "How the hippies saved physics"

    :rofl::rofl::rofl:

    +1 on that one too !
     
  20. Sep 19, 2011 #19
    Radio broadcast on "How the hippies saved physics"

    Sun Sept 18 radio broadcast featuring MIT prof and book author Dr. David Kaiser, Fred Allen Wolf and Jack Sarfatti, at http://bayradio.com/ksfo_archives/?d=0#" - first hour is at 10 PM, second hour is at 11 PM, right click the pop-up player to save mp3 and skip the commercials, program starts about 9 minutes into mp3 file.

    Same panel, plus Russell Targ, presented by MIT club of San Francisco on Tues, 9/20, ($35 admission for non-members), http://www.mitcnc.org" [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  21. Sep 11, 2013 #20
    Einstein at various parts of his life? As long as the science checks out with reality by experiment, and the math is solid enough, I don't see how any personal background matters, at all.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook