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2011-07-24

Fun with Fysiks

A review of this book ("How the Hippies Saved Physics : Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival" by David Kaiser, 2011) in this bi-month's American Scientist by David Woit starts with a personal (Woit's) anecdote about the problems of getting a physics job in the mid-1980s :
[a sizeable group of physicists] appeared to have managed to pursue scientific research by dropping out of academia and adopting a countercultural lifestyle that included soaking in hot tubs at Big Sur, engaging in Tantric sex, hanging out at North Beach cafes and taking psychedelic drugs. Some of them had gotten rich writing books that mixed physics with various kinds of mysticism. I wasn't very interested in the mysticism part, but I figured that I could handle the rest.
[Edit : link to article]
Needless to say, I was reading this while towelling myself off after a nice 3/4 hour swim in the Indian Ocean, collecting a nice specimen that got me thinking all sorts of interesting palaeontological thoughts on the topic of ecdysis, enjoying a cup of coffee, and thinking about ambling back up to the drilling rig to engage in my paid work for the day.

I think I can handle the tribulations of this job too!

--
Aidan Karley

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