A number of historians have become interested in the strange connections between counter cultures and establishment science.
One work that documented the contributions of many in the community of practice, or fields of fields, that connects us was the book How the Hippies Saved Physics: http://www.hippiessavedphysics.com/ where we are “introduced us to a band of freewheeling physicists who defied the imperative to “shut up and calculate” and helped to rejuvenate modern physics”.
Modern science history has focused on the government/academy partnership which has massively invested in science ( the famous ‘triple helix of innovation), but we forget that the roots of science are in passionate individuals that often at odds with dominant paradigms and dominant institutions. The emergence of the citizen science, hacking and making movements outside of these institutions, and what Jean Marc Levy leblond calls the ‘amatorat” ( see my review: http://leonardo.info/reviews/aug2014/malina-STEM.php
Levy-Leblond’s advocacy of a new amateur picks up on ideas in France developed at length in a 2012 special issue of Alliage(http://revel.unice.fr/alliage/index.html?id=3229) on “Amateur.” In that issue Bernard Stiegler(http://revel.unice.fr/alliage/index.html?id=3272 ) argued for the term French term amatorat rather than amateur to cover the whole range of new engaged citizen activities from citizen science, to hacker and maker culture, to patient and environmental monitoring groups, and in the U.S. the STEM to STEAM movement. In a very real sense the advocacy of a broadened concept of smart, STEM enabled, citizens is one element of a response to Nowotny’s call for socially robust science (http://spp.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/3/151.abstract).
A new book co edited by colleague Patrick McCray with David Kaiser:
develops these discussions further: ” 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 Scienceexplores the experimentation and eclecticism that marked countercultural science and technology during one of the most colorful periods of American history”. The book will appear this coming June: see details below.
In our recent SEAD working group meeting at the National Academy of Science ( http://sead.viz.tamu.edu/seadwg.html ) there was much discussion of ‘situated knowledge’ the new movement for location based innovation corridors, creative neighborhoods etc that recognises that much influential work today is emerging from disparate communities outside of the usual places where science is seen as being centered. This language is reflected in the EC STARTS initiatives which argue: The European Commission recognised this by launching the STARTS programme: ” Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology and the Arts (STARTS) to foster the emergence of joint arts and research communities” and more general arguments for ‘open science’: they state “New Citizen and public engagement actions can be supported as Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS), which are ICT systems leveraging the emerging “network effect” by combining open online social media, distributed knowledge creation, and data from real environments” ( https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/citizen-science ). In a sociological sense these movements are the heirs to the creators of ‘groovy science”
KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATION, AND AMERICAN COUNTERCULTURE
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 Scienceexplores the experimentation and eclecticism that marked countercultural science and technology during one of the most colorful periods of American history.