Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, And American Counterculture

Paperback | May 31, 2016

EditorDavid Kaiser, W. Patrick McCray

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In his 1969 book The Making of a Counterculture, Theodore Roszak described the youth of the late 1960s as fleeing science “as if from a place inhabited by plague,” and even seeking “subversion of the scientific worldview” itself. Roszak’s view has come to be our own: when we think of the youth movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, we think of a movement that was explicitly anti-scientific in its embrace of alternative spiritualities and communal living.
           
Such a view is far too simple, ignoring the diverse ways in which the era’s countercultures expressed enthusiasm for and involved themselves in science—of a certain type. Rejecting hulking, militarized technical projects like Cold War missiles and mainframes, Boomers and hippies sought a science that was both small-scale and big-picture, as exemplified by the annual workshops on quantum physics at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, or Timothy Leary’s championing of space exploration as the ultimate “high.” Groovy Science explores the experimentation and eclecticism that marked countercultural science and technology during one of the most colorful periods of American history.

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In his 1969 book The Making of a Counterculture, Theodore Roszak described the youth of the late 1960s as fleeing science “as if from a place inhabited by plague,” and even seeking “subversion of the scientific worldview” itself. Roszak’s view has come to be our own: when we think of the youth movement of the 1960s and early 1970s, we ...

David Kaiser is the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Drawing Theories Apart, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and How the Hippies Saved Physics. He lives near Boston, Massachusetts. W. Patrick McCray is professor...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:May 31, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022637291X

ISBN - 13:9780226372914

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
David Kaiser and W. Patrick McCray

Part One: Conversion

1 Adult Swim: How John C. Lilly Got Groovy (and Took the Dolphin with Him), 1958–1968
D. Graham Burnett

2 Blowing Foam and Blowing Minds: Better Surfing through Chemistry
Peter Neushul and Peter Westwick

3 Santa Barbara Physicists in the Vietnam Era
Cyrus C. M. Mody

Part Two: Seeking

4 Between the Counterculture and the Corporation: Abraham Maslow and Humanistic Psychology in the 1960s
Nadine Weidman

5 A Quest for Permanence: The Ecological Visioneering of John Todd and the New Alchemy Institute
Henry Trim

6 The Little Manual That Started a Revolution: How Hippie Midwifery Became Mainstream
Wendy Kline

Part Three: Personae

7 The Unseasonable Grooviness of Immanuel Velikovsky
Michael D. Gordin

8 Timothy Leary’s Transhumanist SMI2LE
W. Patrick McCray

9 Science of the Sexy Beast: Biological Masculinities and the Playboy Lifestyle
Erika Lorraine Milam

Part Four: Legacies

10 Alloyed: Countercultural Bricoleurs and the Design Science Revival
Andrew Kirk

11 How the Industrial Scientist Got His Groove: Entrepreneurial Journalism and the Fashioning of Technoscientific Innovators
Matthew Wisnioski

12 When Chèvre Was Weird: Hippie Taste, Technoscience, and the Revival of American Artisanal Food Making
Heather Paxson

Afterword: The Counterculture’s Looking Glass
David Farber and Beth Bailey

Contributors

Index

Editorial Reviews

"This collection of essays addressing the relationship between science and technology and the 1960s counterculture provides readers with a series of serious academic analyses that defy the widely held conception that the counterculture movement was, by definition, 'antiscience' and 'antitechnology.' The authors of these essays, most of whom are historians of science or technology, provide insightful information on topics ranging from the 'counterculture curriculum' of the University of California Santa Barbara physics department, to the rise of midwifery as a feasible choice for women rejecting the sterile and unfriendly confines of hospital maternity wards, to the technologies of the artisan goat cheese industry. Although diverse in their respective subjects, essayists commonly argue that many in the American counterculture movement rejected the traditional military-industrial complex control of science and technology, but not necessarily science and technology as a whole. Rather, biologists, psychologists, ecologists, scientists, and technologists of all stripes widely adapted 1970s mores to their respective fields to create a new kind of science—'groovy science.' Highly recommended."