High Frontiers in Science


The counterculture of the 1960s and '70s summoned by the word groovy is saddled with a reputation as overly mystical and viewing science with suspicion. A wonderfully varied new anthology—Groovy Science (University of Chicago Press), edited by David Kaiser and W. Patrick McCray—demonstrates that hippies in fact brought science and technology to bear in their own ways, for their own goals.

Some of those ways are still mere curiosities, like physician John Lilly's attempts to talk to high dolphins and psychiatrist Immanuel Velikovsky's hugely popular attempts to rewrite standard history and astronomy to justify the Bible.

But some efforts inspired by the quest for individual or communal grooviness, from surfboard production to artisanal cheese to ecologically minded industrial design to home birthing, used personalized knowledge and technology to make the world better, or at least more interesting, for us all.