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Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel Hardcover – March 11, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0385520690 ISBN-10: 0385520697 Edition: 1st

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Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel + The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind + Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385520697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385520690
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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 Worlds, Beyond Einstein, Hyperspace) 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.

More About the Author

Michio Kaku is the co-founder of String Field Theory and is the author of international best-selling books such as Hyperspace, Visions, and Beyond Einstein. Michio Kaku is the Henry Semat Professor in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York.

Customer Reviews

The book was an easy read, and very entertaining.
Robert
I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in science, be it through science fiction books and films or, like me, an awesome high school physics teacher.
Lance C. Hibbeler
I really like this book, because it explains advanced concepts in a way that is easy to understand.
Jonathan L. Copeland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, force Fields, Teleportation, and time Travel is just the right book at the right time. In fact, Michio Kaku's sytle reminds me just a bit like Carl Sagan in that he tries to make scientifically difficult topic easy to understand. Kaku's mission here is to spread knowledge and that he does very well.

There are other books similar to Physics of the Impossible. Some have been mentioned by other reviewers. I'd like to mention The Science of Star Wars by Jeanne Cavelus and The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss and Stephen Hawking. Like Physics of the Impossible, both of these works attempt to apply hard scientific facts-of-life to popular ideas in modern fiction. What Kaku does is to organize his ideas into classes of impossibility and here lies an important element of this book.

Michio Kaku is a born communicator which is why he is so often seen on television and why his books are so popular. He is at his best, in my opinion, in Physics of the Impossible. Well written by an author that knows his material and wants to communicate his ideas, the book is sure to please and inform and stimulate the imagination.

I highly recommend Physics of the Impossible.
Peace to all.
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127 of 137 people found the following review helpful By I Love Tacos on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is probably Dr. Kaku's best popular work since Hyperspace or Visions. Here is a wide range of scientific possibilities to be explored. Dr. Kaku's gift is to make modern physics comprehensible to those of us without a mathematical background. In this book he uses his gift to explain how the standard model and string field theory (which he is coauthor of) can be applied to contemplation of some of our most wildest scifi dreams. The chapters are short and easily read in short sittings, which lends well to a book that stretches the imagination so dramaticaly. Dr. Kaku is also careful to remain objective in discussing different theoretical approaches which is an admirable feat given some of the topics ventured into in this book. If you enjoy cutting edge science, it doesn't get more cutting edge then this. Thank you Dr. Kaku for yet another wonderful journey.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By GB Banks (publisher, author) on April 24, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
I've been a big fan of Dr. Kaku since I first saw him on The Science Channel years ago, but this is the first book of his I've read.

In "The Physics of the Impossible," Michio Kaku explores the very subjects that fuels the imagination of those who love science fiction because of the possibilities it raises. Is Time Travel possible? What about Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Light Sabers? Could one really build a Death Star?

One of the great things about Dr. Kaku's approach is that he does not talk down to the lay person, but he writes just as he speaks, with a simple eloquence that makes these complex concepts accessible to the non-Physicist mind. And it is always clear just how much passion Dr. Kaku has for his work, and he easily passes that on to his audience through his words.

Another great thing about this book is that it's not only an education on the concepts of such things as String Theory and so much more, it's also an exploration of the history behind moderm Physics, dating back to the days of Isaac Newton and beyond. I learned so much about the triumphs, and even more surprising, the tragedies befalling many of the pioneers of modern science merely because they were people with concepts far ahead of their times.

I have to say that if you are a young physicist in the making, an older person who is simply fascinated in the subject of Science, a Science Fiction writer looking for deeper understanding of these subjects to inspire you in your writing, or just someone wanting to get better insight into the mysteries behind the nature of the universe, then this is definitely the book for you.

- Gregory Bernard Banks, author, reader, reviewer
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on November 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Michio Kaku has a strong literary record as a Sagan-like popularizer of the deepest science, with a true concern for the knowledge of the masses. Kaku's previous books (especially "Hyperspace") are imminently readable treasures for the physics enthusiast who doesn't hold multiple PhD's. But unfortunately, this latest book is not very well written and mostly recycles material that has been presented better elsewhere. Here Kaku builds mostly from fanciful science fiction gadgets and processes like time travel, wormholes, telepathy, and even perpetual motion machines. Many of these amazing things might just be possible in the future - either the near future or the extremely far future - and Kaku delivers on the laws of physics that would have to be conquered (or even altered) for some of these "impossibilities" to see the light of day.

But the book is awkwardly paced, with Kaku often going off on tangents into obscure areas of academia that I suspect need a popular author to drum up funding, such as research into gravitational waves or the construction of immense super-colliders. And after drifting into such esoteric realms, Kaku tends to return abruptly to pop sci-fi gadgets and quick pronouncements on whether or not they're possible. One perplexing example is a wide detour into the bizarre realm of tachyons that derails an initially straightforward chapter on precognition. Kaku's pop culture coverage is also fractured and arbitrary, at least as presented here, which can be seen in the chapters on extraterrestrials/UFOs and robots. Another problem is an inconsistent attitude toward the possibility of new discoveries about the laws of the universe.
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