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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 5 March 2012

How the hippies helped physics


"Hippies" is not a term that normally springs to mind when you think about the hard, number-crunching work of theoretical physicists.

The mathematical discipline required to devise, build and operate a machine like the Large Hadron Collider would seem to have little in common with the kind of thinking associated with the era of flower-power and psychedelic drugs.

But the hippy scene in science was "nurtured" in the Berkley area of San Francisco during the 1970s, according to Professor David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics.

As science correspondent Tom Feilden reports, the liberating approach of counter-culture revolutionaries may have played an important part in setting physicists free to daydream again.

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