Physics of the Impossible

Physics of the Impossible

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

Book - 2008
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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:
#65533; 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"
#65533; How ramjet rockets, laser sails, antimatter engines, and nanorockets may one day take us to the nearby stars
#65533; How telepathy and psychokinesis, once considered pseudoscience, may one day be possible using advances in MRI, computers, superconductivity, and nanotechnology
#65533; 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.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2008.
ISBN: 9780385520690
Characteristics: XXI, 329 p. ;,24 cm.


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Mar 07, 2018

The book is highly readable, non-technical and communicative to the ordinary person. I can recommend it, but be ready for a long journey through present, past and future speculative physics. The author is a well-known physicist and writer and it would be hard for most of us to come away from the book without learning something or re-learning forgotten facts. But I wish it had a more narrow scope, perhaps focusing on the possibility of things like “ray guns,” teleportation and faster-than light travel as commonly portrayed in science fiction.

Aug 15, 2016

Michio Kaku's writing is crisp and logical. He anchors his points with references to iconoclasts (Faraday, for example) in science and sci fi, making for an educational and entertaining read.

The elegant simplicity of his narrative allows a lay reader (=me) to understand many of the basic premises of our cosmos.

Though this volume was published in 2008, the "impossibilities" outlined and categorized within are, for the most part, still relevant. A few of the areas, however-- for example, the section on gravitational waves --can now be moved into the "been there, done that" bracket.

desaismit Jan 14, 2013

A great book about what most people would consider impossible in the present era. The author uses simple language to explain complicated physics concepts about "impossible" technologies which could very much be possible in the future. Interesting topics include: time travel, telepathy, telekenesis and forces fields.

Sep 23, 2012

A fascinating look at the boundaries between science fiction and science fact, weaving the correlation with our planets history, popular literature and Hollywood productions that have engaged imaginations from the dawn of time.

Sep 22, 2012

I highly suspect that there are many discoveries made nowadays that the public has know way of knowing, for since the end of the cold war governments are hell bent on secrecy. Many discoveries are left to moulder and collect dust on shelves in a dank government basement somewhere. The governments of today fear so much that they will become destabilized by new technologies that they will do anything to buy the discoverer out, or to not fund the research in the first place, which is what governments do if they want new discoveries to make it.

I, as a young person would be very worried about the way things are going in our "modern" world and the sleazy politicians who hold the keys to the future. Sometimes new technologies also put people out of work, and no politician wants to lay off large segments of the population. And usually the newer technology involves mass layoffs of the populace, for it's very idea is to become another "labour saving" device.

Apr 06, 2012

Informative for people who like sci-fi (Star Trek and Star Wars get a lot of mentions) and wonder if any of it is remotely possible in the real world. The explanations of the concepts of Physics and ongoing research are generally easy to read and understand... well, maybe with the exception of the string theory and particle physics sections.

Jan 26, 2010

Fabulous details, easy to understand.
Other authors- David Bodanis - The Secret Family, E = MC 2

Genesis: A Inorganic Theory of the Origin of LIfe

craicmonkey Sep 03, 2009

I won't even try to pretend that I was able to fully understand a few of the ideas explored in this book. Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading it and although I did glass over a couple of times, it did give me a good idea of how far we still have to go before a lot of science fiction becomes science fact. That, and I can now feel a little more secure when I laugh at some new pseudoscience or quackery that comes along with the term 'quantum' in it's name. I am reminded of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."


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Apr 06, 2012

There will always be things that are beyond our grasp, that are impossible to explore (such as the precise position of an electron, or the world existing beyond the reach of the speed of light). But the fundamental laws, I believe, are knowable and finite.

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