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It would be nice to think that wisdom comes with age. I wish! But some lucky souls bear out the adage. Nick Herbert comes to mind. He is a co-founder of the Fundamental Fysiks Group, a band of counter-culture physicists who, beginning in the 1970s, defied the “shut up and calculate” ethos and asked daring questions about quantum mechanics. Just how weird is it? Does “spooky action at a distance” (Einstein’s phrase) have anything in common with mystical doctrines of Hinduism and Buddhism? Does it allow for faster-than-light communication? Extrasensory perception? Astral projection? In the marvelous book How the Hippies Saved Physics, historian David Kaiser traces current advances on quantum computation and encryption back to the Fysiks Group’s shenanigans. Herbert, now 82, is a key character in the book. His 1982 paper on superluminal communication, while flawed, inspired deep insights into the quantum realm. I have never met Herbert, but reading his blog “Quantum Tantra” makes me feel like I know him. In a post celebrating the blog’s 10th anniversary, Herbert says his goal is “to father a brand new physics (Quantum Tantra) which will connect us all with Nature in a more direct and intimate way.” Herbert’s musings are smart, funny, sexy and, well, wise. Our email exchange follows his poem “Quantum Reality.” –John Horgan

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Category: Science