Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 7, 2009 - Science - 352 pages

A fascinating exploration of the science of the impossible—from death rays and force fields to invisibility cloaks—revealing to what extent such technologies might be achievable decades or millennia into the future.

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. In Physics of the Impossible, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction that are deemed equally impossible today might well become commonplace in the future.

From teleportation to telekinesis, Kaku uses the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals—and the limits—of the laws of physics as we know them today. He ranks the impossible technologies by categories—Class I, II, and III, depending on when they might be achieved, within the next century, millennia, or perhaps never. In a compelling and thought-provoking narrative, he explains:
· How the science of optics and electromagnetism may one day enable us to bend light around an object, like a stream flowing around a boulder, making the object invisible to observers “downstream”
· How ramjet rockets, laser sails, antimatter engines, and nanorockets may one day take us to the nearby stars
· How telepathy and psychokinesis, once considered pseudoscience, may one day be possible using advances in MRI, computers, superconductivity, and nanotechnology
· Why a time machine is apparently consistent with the known laws of quantum physics, although it would take an unbelievably advanced civilization to actually build one
Kaku uses his discussion of each technology as a jumping-off point to explain the science behind it. An extraordinary scientific adventure, Physics of the Impossible takes readers on an unforgettable, mesmerizing journey into the world of science that both enlightens and entertains.

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I finally finished Physics of the Impossible myself. It took me forever because Michio Kaku's writing style is worse than Stephen Hawking's. The subject matter was interesting. Unlike with Hawking, I didn't always feel like the author was "writing down to me" but when I did feel that, it was much worse than Hawking. Kaku also spent too much time in parenthetical tangents for my tastes and could have used a bit more detail in other areas. I could not bring myself to read the Epilogue though. I just wanted to be rid of Kaku that much. At this point, I think that the only way I would read more of his work is if he wrote an update chapter or the like addressing what has been discovered since this was published. I think that it was an excellent concept for a book, just poorly executed because of the author's style and abilities. 

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Nice book to read. It goes over questions and ideas that I previously had. Therefore, it was interesting to see what Mr. Kaku had to say. I will recommend the book, but to be honest, it wasn't as good as I thought it would be (maybe I expected too much). Nevertheless this book deserves at least 4 stars just for its creativity . 

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About the author (2009)

MICHIO KAKU is the Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the cofounder of string field theory. He has written several books, including Parallel Worlds and Beyond Einstein, and his bestseller, Hyperspace, was voted one of the best science books of the year by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is a frequent guest on national TV, and his nationally syndicated radio program is heard in 130 cities. He lives in New York City.

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