Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Origins of Quantum Encryption and Quantum Information Science

When I was 10 years old in 1966 and 1967 I was into comic books, especially Superman, the Fantastic Four, Batman, and Spiderman, in that order. 

What I liked in particular were the "Origins of ..." issues. I couldn't get enough of them. I like seeing where things begin. If you feel as I feel regarding cutting edge Quantum Physics, especially the fields of Quantum Encryption and Quantum Information Theory, then this book, "How the Hippies Saved Physics" is the book for you.

There are many dimensions of this book, not the least of all being the Hippies themselves, essentially unemployed Physicists who took and revived the still debated issues of "consciousness" (argh!), "paranormal", "psi", "remote viewing", etc., clustered in and around Berkeley in California and the Esalen Institute down the coast in Big Sur.

They sought to use John Stewart Bell's: Bell's Inequalities Theorem re nonlocality and John Clauser's Bell's Test results proving the same in 1972 to expand their minds, and the world's, through a convoluted series of financial sponsors, to keep all things Quantum Entanglement in the forefront of research and thought.

Although generally wrong, they nevertheless persevered in keeping Foundations of Physics front and center.

For example, Nick Herbert's quest to find a way that quantum entanglement (non-locality) would allow faster-than-light communication allowed respected "mainstream" physicists, in Europe mostly, to prove why he was wrong, and it was a long, hard fought 10-year struggle until they did so.

But because Herbert's theories were proven wrong, we learned our limits, and because of those limits, we now have quantum encryption and quantum information science, two cutting edge fields.

As an added bonus, it reminds of how crazy those 1960's and 1970's days were. The cast of characters is enormous and the drama and interactions between them amazing. Ira Einhorn, Werner Ehrhard and est, co-ed naked hot tubs and sunbathing, John Wheeler and others make for a grand scope of a very entertaining read.

I give this book my strongest recommendation.

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