- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (April 7, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307278824
- ISBN-13: 978-0307278821
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (435 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel Reprint Edition
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
He divides phenomena into 3 levels of the impossible. Class I impossibilities are those that are "impossible today but that do not violate the known laws of physics." Examples would include teleportation, antimatter engines and "certain forms of telepathy, psychokinesis and invisibility."
Class II phenomena include those that "sit at the very edge of our understanding of the physical world" and include time machines, travel through wormholes and hyperspace travel.
The final category, III, includes "technologies that violate the known laws of physics" and include precognition and perpetual motion machines.
I thoroughly enjoyed the references to Star Wars movies, Star Trek episodes and various pieces of well known science fiction literature.
If you are the type who enjoys mind benders like "... the true secret of anti-matter: it's just ordinary matter going backward in time" and who can get excited about the LISA program scheduled for next year which "consists of 3 satellites circling the sun, arranged in a triangle, each connected by laser beams 3 million miles long ...orbiting the sun about 30 million miles from earth ... able to detect vibrations to within one part in a billion trillion, about 1/100th the size of an atom" in search of gravity waves, then this is probably a book you will enjoy. And nary a math equation anywhere! I had a good time with it.
Dr. Michio Kaku takes the reader on a journey from what is possible with the physics of today to what may be accomplished in the future, like time travel, invisibility, teleportation, faster than light travel, etc. He presents a detailed account of string theory, robotics, anti-gravity and phasers that make it easy for those who do not have a background in physics to understand.
The above subjects plus time travel and parallel worlds beckon our imagination but what if it is possible? For me, I was fascinated by the Space rockets etc. Or perhaps you dream of Robots. For those of us that wonder how all this could work, Dr. Kaku explains in clear and literal language how these inventions follow the laws of physics as we know them today. Some projects might require updated laws.
Come into the future and see what is possible and enjoy a chuckle with memories of the Jetsons, and Doc of Star Trek, or dream of going Back to the Future!
Do not be afraid of the science as Dr. Kaku walks us through history, the science, and the application of same works to create these dreams! This book is the background of Dr. Kaku's Science Channels "Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible."
Now I'm off to begin Dr. Kaku's "Physics of the Future," which will take us up to a day in our lives in the year 2100. Meet you there?
"... a universe in which left and right are reversed, matter turns into antimatter, and time runs backward is a fully acceptable universe obeying the laws of physics!" ‒ from PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE
PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE is a speculative work on the possibility (or not) of realizing what the current state of the Science of Physics considers impossible. Its author, Michio Kaku, is a theoretical physicist who helped define String Theory. On the other hand, physics and differential calculus quickly phasered my desire to become an aeronautical engineer back in the 60s. So, you might think that Kaku's book and I would be a poor match inasmuch as I turned out to be a Life Sciences kind of guy. Well, not necessarily.
Michio begins his fascinating discussion by dividing what is "impossible" into three classes. Class I (force fields, invisibility, phasers, death stars, teleportation, telepathy, psychokinesis, robots, starships, antimatter engines) includes those concepts, while unattainable today, may be possible this century or the next. Class II (faster than light speeds, time travel, entry into parallel universes), at the edge of current understanding, may be realized millions of years in the future. Nothing in these two categories violates the known laws of physics.
Class III (perpetual motion machines and precognition) violates the known laws of physics and would require a paradigmatic shift.
Most important to my appreciation of the subject matter, the author explains everything ‒ or nearly everything ‒ at a level that can be (mostly) understood by us Just Folks who could barely manipulate a slide rule back in the day. And except, as I recall, only one or two mentions of Einstein's famous E = (m) (c squared), he doesn't speak in equations at all.
Granted, when Kako starts in about the eleven dimensions and multiverses allowed for by String Theory, the subject matter perhaps recedes over my comprehension's event horizon, but I figure he's allowed. He's earned it.
One can only imagine the advances in physics since this book was copyrighted in 2008. Can Scotty now beam me up, I wonder?
As with The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE will perhaps open-up the reader's mind to a sense of wonder. Ever since the Caveman first gazed up into the night sky uncontaminated by any light and thought "Dude!", such a mental epiphany is an experience to be savored.