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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Talisman  
  Device that causes beings nearby to experience truth and peace; works only in the hands of rare adepts.  

There are conflicts at many levels in this story; between people, between groups here on earth and between other civilizations. The Talisman is a sacred object; only a very special person can make it work.

The Talisman could only be operated by certain types of beings with certain types of minds and something else besides ... The Talisman was placed in the custody of the most capable, or the most efficient, or the most devoted (whichever it might be) of the galactic sensitives, who carried it from star to star in a sort of eternal progression.
From Way Station, by Clifford Simak.
Published by Doubleday in 1963
Additional resources -

Simak does a remarkable job in putting into words what is needed in a contentious world. This great story won the Hugo award for best novel; it loses absolutely nothing in the years since it was published.

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