Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, …

  • June 8, 2014 · 5:00 PM

…Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku (2008)

From Publishers Weekly

In this latest effort to popularize the sciences, City University of New York professor and media star Kaku (Hyperspace) ponders topics that many people regard as impossible, ranging from psychokinesis and telepathy to time travel and teleportation. His Class I impossibilities include force fields, telepathy and antiuniverses, which don't violate the known laws of science and may become realities in the next century. Those in Class II await realization farther in the future and include faster-than-light travel and discovery of parallel universes. Kaku discusses only perpetual motion machines and precognition in Class III, things that aren't possible according to our current understanding of science. He explains how what many consider to be flights of fancy are being made tangible by recent scientific discoveries ranging from rudimentary advances in teleportation to the creation of small quantities of antimatter and transmissions faster than the speed of light. Science and science fiction buffs can easily follow Kaku's explanations as he shows that in the wonderful worlds of science, impossible things are happening every day. (Mar. 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Kaku (Parallel WorldsBeyond EinsteinHyperspace) introduces complex theories of physics to general readers. As The Economist notes, Kaku "makes a good stab at explaining difficult physics. But his grasp of his subject is perhaps trumped by his knowledge of science fiction." While Kaku writes in language designed to captivate nonscience readers, it's his references to pop culture—Star Trek to Terminator 3—that clarify his fringe physics. (Those wishing to explore the topic further can refer to Kaku's detailed footnotes.) To critics' delight, Kaku also investigates the moral issues of futuristic technology that SF does so well and asks provoking questions about the fate of humankind. The only complaints? Kaku omits a few obvious SF parallels, and, more seriously, readers who don't enjoy that genre may find less of interest here.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Review

“[Kaku explores] what we still do not quite understand, those grey areas that are surely the most fascinating part of physics.”

New Scientist

 

“Kaku's latest book aims to explain exactly why some visions of the future may eventually be realized while others are likely to remain beyond the bounds of possibility… Science fiction often explores such questions; science falls silent at this point. Kaku's work helps to fill a void.”

The Economist

 

“A fascinating exploration of the interface between science and science fiction, extremely well researched, lively, and tremendously entertaining.”

—Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics and The Science of Leonardo

 

“Mighty few theoretical physicists would bother expounding some of these possible impossibilities, and Kaku is to be congratulated for doing so… [He gets] the juices of future physicists flowing.”

Los Angeles Times

From the Trade Paperback edition.


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  • Jeffrey C. J.

    Sorry ending the meetup was such a trial.

    June 11, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      Meetup fixed the date so all is in order now. Good to see everyone again! Thanks!

      June 11, 2014

  • Jeffrey C. J.

    In case you've noticed, you cannot send good to see you this right now. There's a bug and I need up site that won't let me in the Meetup until next week. But it was good to see everyone. Thank you all for coming. Except, for the record, Sheida and Teresa. You two were no-shows.

    June 8, 2014

  • bahram

    His talk on the Future of the Mind:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUVw6Pn6GTg

    1 · June 4, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      https://www.facebook.c...­ I get a lot of my info from his facebook feed; I don't follow him on Twitter at the moment as the Dawkins tweets are already massively cluttering up my feed. I need to create a new Twitter account just for him so I can at least see one other person's tweets. :)

      June 4, 2014

  • Arlene K.

    It turns out I can come on the 8th afterall but I haven't read the book. I'll try and read a few chapters by Sunday, but I will be there to listen.

    1 · June 2, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      Glad you and Bill could be around that Sunday!

      June 4, 2014

  • bahram

    I posted my suggestion for Physics of the Impossible about two years ago and I am glad that finally we are having a meeting for it. Here is his talk on Physics of the Future, his latest book:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K54LN9q1jSs

    1 · June 4, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      Actually, his latest book is Physics of the Mind, which is nominated for our 2014–2015 cycle, assuming it gets enough votes.

      June 4, 2014

  • bahram

    1 · June 4, 2014

  • Arlene K.

    Sorry! I thought we were meeting the week after Father's Day and not the week before. Can't make it on the 8th.

    June 2, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      Sorry Arlene! But fortunately I will see Bill today so if you want to tell him what you think to pass it on to me, sure! :)

      June 2, 2014

  • Bert H.

    I'm sorry not to attend but I will be out of town on June 8th. (I'm still reading the book - it's fascinating so far.)

    1 · May 23, 2014

  • Mayumi O.

    Dang. I read the book and would have loved to come...but I'm out of town then. Have fun!

    May 22, 2014

    • Mayumi O.

      Thanks - I just looked. My RSVP is already set to YES

      1 · May 23, 2014

    • Mayumi O.

      See you then.

      1 · May 23, 2014

  • Lisa G

    Aww man! I'm reading this book and didn't realize I'm returning from vacation this day, well, this night. I will have to update my rsvp

    1 · May 20, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      I guess you're still on Vacation on the 8th but since I changed the date, please feel free to update your RSVP as it'd be nice to have your input during our discussion.

      May 23, 2014

    • Lisa G

      Yes unfortunately I'm gone the 7th to the 15th but will try to make the next discussion!

      1 · May 23, 2014

  • bahram

    We can go after to the nice Chinese buffet next door for dinner and more discussions.

    May 22, 2014

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      Again, that's fine by me if folks don't like Panera. Panera does close an hour or two after our meeting ends and I'm actually partial to Hot Breads but I'm very flexible.

      May 22, 2014

  • Jeffrey C. J.

    Guys, please note Physics of the Future is more recent so I'll keep the original suggest of Physics of the Impossible but I suggest if this book is popular we do Physics of the Future at a later date.

    2 · October 8, 2013

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      BTW, Dr. Kaku is working on a new book, Physics of the Mind so when we do topics for 2015 I hope that one makes the list.

      1 · February 6, 2014

  • Mayumi O.

    Moving it out in your timeline is fine with me.

    1 · August 28, 2013

    • Jeffrey C. J.

      Thanks! I'm going to fix the date now in June but call that tentative until I get the Amazon and Publisher's Weekly review posted.

      August 29, 2013

  • Jeffrey C. J.

    I may just schedule this of the first week of October but actually I want to make a more "I'd do that" kind of poll where everyone suggests a book for the first week of October meetup and then whichever one has the most votes by next Sunday is our book. So please suggest and "RSVP yes" to every book you'd like to read and the book with the most votes wins that month and we move the rest to November and try again.

    August 25, 2013

  • Dee

    If you don't want to read the book - this is great alternative
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGq5wMi79HI

    1 · August 25, 2013

  • Dee

    This book is awesome - it explores most popular science fiction concepts as strategic technology goals bound to known (currently) nature laws.

    1 · August 20, 2013

  • Jeffrey C. J.

    Sure, though Physics books are generally not liked by the group and we're doing one in August and I propose Math/Statistics in July so I don't recommend two Physics in a row.

    May 15, 2013

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