Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and program head, Program in Science, Technology and Society; Professor of Physics, Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof. Kaiser is the rare scholar who is equally adept in the humanities and the sciences, with a record of award-winning work both as a historian and as a particle cosmologist (he has PhDs in both fields). On the humanities side, Kaiser focuses on the history of Cold War-era physics, with an emphasis on the interplay between ideas and institutions and how scientific knowledge “bears the marks of time and place.” His most recent book, How the Hippies Saved Physics, is about the emergence of modern quantum entanglement theory within a small community of physicists associated with the California New Age/counterculture movements of the 1970s and 1980s. An upcoming book will look at boom-and-bust cycles in the recruitment of new physicists since World War II. On the science side, Kaiser focuses on theory and predictions about the early inflationary universe. With world-renowned cosmologist Alan Guth, considered the pioneer of inflation theory, he co-leads a group that’s searching for evidence on whether inflationary theory is fully compatible with the standard model of particle physics, and why inflation ended. He’s also working to design a “loophole-free” way to prove the existence of quantum entanglement.