When Jensen Davis ’20 dug into the “Altered States” exhibit at the Houghton Library, she expected to find a story of “dissent and rebellion.” Instead, she found what she first thought of as an elite narrative “dominated by wealthy white men.” It was only later that she realized the collection “uniquely preserves so many different narratives that transcend geographic, class, racial, [and] gender lines.”
That collection, 120 pieces culled from the 50,000 inherited from Julio Mario Santo Domingo Jr. — a billionaire who was obsessed with the search for transcendence — is sorted into seven themes for the exhibit: opium, psychedelics, cocaine, marijuana, sex, protest, and underground comics. Using books, posters, and ephemera, “Altered States” tells the stories of 400 years of intoxication and mind expansion, dependency and excess.
Visitors to Houghton can review an assortment of rolling papers, several lampooning President Richard Nixon. And there’s a nod to onetime Harvard professor and counterculture icon Timothy Leary: “Altered States” includes a postcard of a man thanking Leary for the “swell” Kool-Aid.
By Peter Reuell, Harvard Staff Writer |November 30, 2017 |
Researchers have developed a special type of quantum computer, known as a quantum simulator, that is programmed by capturing super-cooled rubidium atoms with lasers and arranging them in a specific order, then allowing quantum mechanics to do the necessary calculations.
Harvard’s newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection is the largest of its kind in the world, centuries of art, literature, and popular culture artifacts related to the chief avenues to altered states of mind: sex and drugs.