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

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Physics of the Impossible

A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel

By Department of Physics Michio Kaku

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Format: Paperback, 329 pages
Published In: United States, 11 April 2009
Teleportation, time machines, force fields, and interstellar space ships the stuff of science fiction or potentially attainable future technologies? Inspired by the fantastic worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Back to the Future, renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku takes an informed, serious, and often surprising look at what our current understanding of the universe's physical laws may permit in the near and distant future.Entertaining, informative, and imaginative, Physics of the Impossible probes the very limits of human ingenuity and scientific possibility."

About the Author

MICHIO KAKU is a professor of physics at the City University of New York, cofounder of string field theory, and the author of several widely acclaimed science books, includingHyperspace, Beyond Einstein, Physics of the Impossible, andPhysics of the Future. He isthe science correspondent for CBS'sThis Morningand host of the radio programsScience FantasticandExplorations in Science. "


The best science fiction writers strive to render even their most fanciful visions of future technologies consistent with known physical facts. But, in some ways, the history of science shows that what is impossible must frequently be reconceived as new discoveries are made. Physicist and renowned science popularizer Kaku (Hyperspace) classifies the impossible into three categories. "Class I Impossibilities" are those believed impossible today but violate no known laws of physics, including force fields, invisibility, teleportation, psychokinesis, intelligent robots, and starships. Accordingly, "Class 2 Impossibilities" are technologies at the far boundaries of what we know of the physical world--e.g., time travel, parallel universes, and faster-than-light travel. "Class 3 Impossibilities," those that violate known laws of the universe, constitute the smallest category and include precognition and perpetual motion machines. In these discussions, Kaku not only explores impossibilities but, in doing so, elucidates some basic physics, so this book both teaches and challenges. Finally, in the epilog, the author concedes that nobody may yet have even imagined tomorrow's impossibilities. This tour de force of science and imagination is for advanced high school students and up. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/07.]--Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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 2007 Reed Business Information.

[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


EAN: 9780307278821
ISBN: 0307278824
Publisher: Anchor Books
Dimensions: 20.32 x 13.21 x 2.29 centimetres (0.20 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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2 review(s)
All Reviews
David H McKinnon on
This is an excellent little text. There are some minor errors here and there but they do not detract from big picture science.
William Hartanto on
Discovery Channel has just released 25 episodes TV series based on this book - and what a book it is. Don't you ever wish that a top class scientist that is just as big of a Science Fiction fan as you are come and explain how things work?

Is it possible to create a solid sword based on light beam like Star Wars' light sabers? Apparently it is not that easy once you learn that light beam tend to stretch forever - and light (which, obviously, travels at the speed of light) is impossible to solidify. Perhaps they should try plasma sabers instead.

How hard is it to create invisibility cloak of in Harry Potter series or Romulan starship? Apparently some scientist already created metamaterials that bend light around 2 dimensional objects!

Based on quite recent research (up to mid 2000s), Prof. Michio Kaku explains in layman term the most groundbreaking scientific discoveries - and how it impacts your chance of owning your own Teleportation device. It is a great read.

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