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Fall Reception 2012

NEWS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: 9/27/12
CONTACT: Carol Connare, 545-0995, cconnare@library.umass.edu

Friends of the UMass Amherst Libraries Hosts

HOW THE HIPPIES SAVED PHYSICS:

SCIENCE, COUNTERCULTURE, AND THE QUANTUM REVIVAL

~ David Kaiser ~

Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and
Department Head of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society

Amherst, Massachusetts - On Sunday, October 14, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Friends of the UMass Amherst Libraries will host the 14th Annual Fall Reception in the Science and Engineering Library in Lederle Lowrise on Floor 2, at UMass Amherst. The keynote speaker, David Kaiser, will give a talk, “How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival.” David Kaiser is Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Department Head of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and a Senior Lecturer in MIT's Department of Physics. The program starts at 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Reservations are appreciated. To RSVP, call (413) 545-3974 or email friends@library.umass.eduView the invitation

In recent years, the field of quantum information science has catapulted to the cutting edge of physics. Long before the big budgets and dedicated teams, the field moldered on the scientific sidelines. In fact, the pre-history of the field stretches back, in part, to the hazy excesses of the 1970s New Age Movement. Many of the ideas that now occupy the core of quantum information science once found their home amid an anything-goes counterculture frenzy, a mishmash of spoon-bending psychics, Eastern mysticism, LSD trips, CIA spooks chasing mind-reading dreams, and comparable “Age of Aquarius” enthusiasms. This talk describes the field’s bumpy transition from New Age to cutting edge.

Kaiser has an AB in physics from Dartmouth College and PhDs in theoretical physics and the history of science from Harvard University. He is the author of the award-winning book, Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics (2005), which traces how Richard Feynman’s idiosyncratic approach to quantum physics entered the mainstream. His most recent book, How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival (2011), charts the early history of Bell's theorem and quantum entanglement. He is presently completing a book entitled American Physics and the Cold War Bubble (University of Chicago Press, in preparation). Kaiser is also working on two books about physics: a textbook for advanced physics undergraduates on Gravitation and Cosmology, co-written with Alan Guth; and a historical study of Einstein’s theory of gravity (general relativity) over the 20th century.

Kaiser’s work has been featured in Nature, Science, Scientific American, Harper’s, the Huffington Post, and the London Review of Books; on National Public Radio and NOVA television programs; and in specialist journals in physics and history. He blogs about science and its history for the London Review of Books and the science section of the Huffington Post.

In 2010, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Other honors include the Leroy Apker Award from the American Physical Society for best physics undergraduate student in the country; the Pfizer Prize from the History of Science Society for best book in the field; the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award for distinguished tenure-track faculty member at MIT (2006); and several teaching awards from Harvard and MIT. In 2012, he was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT’s highest honor for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

As part of the fall reception program, Philip DesAutels, member of the Library’s Director’s Council, will be honored with the 2012 Siegfried Feller Award for Outstanding Service. This award, established in 1998, is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding volunteer contributions to create awareness and build support for the UMass Amherst Libraries.

UMass Catering will provide refreshments. A selection of Kaiser’s books will be available for sale by the University Store. 

 

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Last Edited: 23 October 2012