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From the Trade Paperback edition.
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
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, LJ10/1/07.]
"The study of the impossible has opened up entirely new vistas for science, Kaku rightly points out. It is here that the book's strength lies: the impossible is a gateway for discussing what we still do not understand, those gray areas that are surely the most fascinating part of physics.....there is a surprising amount of heavyweight, cutting-edge science woven into the fabric of this book. String theory, dark energy, metamaterials and quantum theory are just a few topics - PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE is, in fact, an easy-to-read physics primer in disguise. Kaku has huge reach as a writer and speaker. Hopefully, his acessible, entertaining, and inspiring book will set the next Einstein on his or her path to glory."
-The New Scientist
"Michio Kaku's latest book, PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, aims to explain exactly why some visions of the future may eventually realized while others are likely to remain beyond the bounds of possibility...Science fiction often explores such questions; science falls silent at this point. Mr. Kaku's work helps to fill a void."
"Kaku encourages us to take seriously ideas the world's great intellects consider crazy, reminding us that these same powerful minds sometimes wonder whether such way-out theories and models of the universe are crazy enough to be true."
-The Seattle Times.
"An invigorating experience"
-THe Christian Science Monitor
"A genuine tour de force, skillfully delivering cogent descriptions of everything from subatomic structure to the laws of the universe."
-Kirkus (starred review)
“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.” —Publishers Weekly
"Tour de force of science and imagination."
- LIbrary Journal (starred review)
"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
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR PARALLEL WORLDS
“A wonderful tour, with an expert guide, of a cosmos whose comprehension forces us to stretch to the very limits of imagination.” —Brian Greene, author of The Fabric of the Cosmos
“A highly readable and exhilarating romp through the frontiers of cosmology.”
—Martin Rees, author of Our Cosmic Habitat and Our Final Century
“A roller-coaster ride through the universe—and beyond—by one of the world’s finest science writers.” —Paul Davies, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Sydney, and author of How to Build a Time Machine
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR HYPERSPACE
“One of the best popular accounts of higher physics.” —Jim Holt, Wall Street Journal
“Among the best of the genre to appear in recent years . . . What a wonderful adventure it is.” —New York Times Book Review
“Mesmerizing . . . the reader exits dizzy, elated, and looking at the world in a literally revolutionary way.” —Washington Post Book World
Part I: Class I Impossibilities
1: Force Fields
3: Phasers and Death Stars
8: Extraterrestrials and UFOs
10: Antimatter and Anti-universes
Part II: Class II Impossibilities
11: Faster Than Light
12: Time Travel
13: Parallel Universes
Part III: Class III Impossibilities
14: Perpetual Motion Machines
15: Precognition 2
Epilogue: The Future of the Impossible
Posted July 1, 2009
This is an entertaining read. Although Mr. Kaku is a quantum physicist, he is able to communicate the relevant concepts very clearly, avoiding most of the jargon and esoterica that someone of his background usually produces (S. Hawking, et al.) . As someone who likes to think that the impossible is not, this title jumped out and grabbed me.
I believe that whatever man can imagine, he can create. If not now, then sometime. Obviously, Kaku believes this too. But he has the chops to back up his analysis, whereas all I can do is dream.
So, a book like this really hits the spot for me. But I also think the skeptics would find this a worthwhile read, if only for the fun of trying to poke holes in the analysis. I'd wager this will be harder than they think.
18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 20, 2008
Easy to follow and understand. Wish I could spend an hour just asking him questions.. especially about the last part of the book. Interesting to read about all the new things planned to help solve the unknowns that still exist out there. Have read all his books and wish he would write one a year so average people like myself could continue to be informed in a manner that is understandable and fascinating.
13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Physics of The Impossible is a fascinating book that dives into the "impossible realms" of the physics world. The book is divided up into Class I, Class II, and Class III impossibilities. Topics include force fields, invisibility, teleportation, time travel, precognition and everything inbetween. The message in this book is that there is no such thing as "impossible". Even the most far-fetched ideas may one day become a reality, and change the course of humanity. The technologies of today were once thought to be impossible. "Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." - Physicist Lord Kelvin, 1899. I recommend this book to people who have a strong interest in the physics. This book is written for advanced high school students and up. I highly recommend for other people to read this book, as it opens up a whole new light to the possibilities of the future to come. This book offers a different way of looking at the world. All of the concepts described in the book are connected to the past, present, and future. I liked that the topics discussed were relevant to me in my life, however, what I didn't like that some of the ideas were repeated more than necessary. Overall, the book was very well written. I would recommend other works by Michio Kaku, as he is a fantastic writer in this scientific field. Other works of his include Hyperspace, Parallel Worlds, Visions, and Beyond Einstein.
11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2009
In 300+ pages the author walks the reader through the state-of-the-art of physics theory. And does it with wit and literary verve, without technical jargon or mathematical formulae (except for E=MC2, which most of us are aware of even if we don't understand it through and through).
Kaku himself is an authority and has personal access to the many others he interviewed for this book. That he can make his material so compelling, clear, and even entertaining is amazing.
That said, neophytes (myself included) should not expect a quick, light read. Well worth a bit of time and patience.
9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 6, 2009
An in depth look of how things that are seemingly impossible can be proved to happen through physics of the universe. Michio Kaku explores various pieces of the impossible such as becoming invisible, psychokinesis, and teleportation. This is a very interesting and in depth reading and I only suggest it to those who have background physics. I did not have any background in physics and the book was still interesting but I feel I would have had a better grasp on the concepts with more information regarding physics and science. My favorite part of the book was the piece on time travel because it seemed so simple yet it has been disproved so many times.
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 4, 2009
I am a college student double-majoring in computer science and physics. I have seen Michio Kaku on The Science Channel many times. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more from him. I looked him up and saw that he has written a few books. This was my first book I chose to read written by him. He writes detailed and constructs his ideas in a way so that the general reader will understand. For those uninterested in physics, but like science a little enough to appreaciate technology or science fiction, then read this book. There are many interesting topics covered such as lasers, invisibility, teleportation, robots and such. He gives some history on scientists or scientific ideas throughout each concept covered. To other college students pursuing the science degree, though you have probably heard of most of the ideas covered, you will still find this interesting to read. Michio is a inspiration and I look forward to reading his other books that I bought; "Parallel Worlds" and "Einstein's Cosmos".
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Dr. Kaku, and another great book! After reading his book, PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, It really made me see how advanced the world of today is, yet how much longer there is until the things in this book become a reality. Like the Super conductors at room temperature, or the teleportation methods, or even Time travel! Its all a mystery right now, but in the very near future even 5 years from now, it can all become a reality. In his book, He makes sure that not only Physics experts could read his book, But even the average reader like myself. Kaku Brings up many refrences to star trek showing that he is a star treck fan, yet in star treck every single thing that he describes in his book is a reality. From invisibility, to force fields, to warp-speed, He explains how this is possible, and the latest news upon these subjects. Kaku is a great writer, and can really hook the reader, onto the subject. Every chapter talks about something new, so that its not just a repetitive book. He is a great writer, and keeps what he talking about, every now and again mentioning star treck, and how in star treck they use what ever he's talking about (mostly force fields). He talks about how it could improve the everyday life of the human civilization, and greatly make the world of tomorrow today. Its a recomended book for any one who likes sci-fi, yet has a feel for physics. It covers what most Sci-Fi movies/Books contain, Yet Has an understanding of physics, so its not just a book talking about who knows what, but it has a purpose, and meaning.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2009
I Also Recommend:
Dr. Kaku strikes again with Physics of The Impossible. After reading his book, Hyperspace, I decided to sit down with this one, which had been picking at my interest for a while. As usual, it didn't disappoint.
>>The author takes a slightly different approach from his other works, focusing specifically on science fiction! The comprehensible method he uses in each chapter allows the reader to easily transition from what was fictionalized, to what professional research has theorized to be just as good, and finally ends with his opinion of the feasibility and time-line of it all. Personally, I believe it was the best way to go about writing it.
>>He spares no concepts that he finds relevant and the topics he discusses will stir images in your mind of fantastic sizes, speeds, strengths, and sheer cleverness of engineering. His subtle explanations can make you to think past what outstanding ideas he just proposed and, after a short delay, you'll drop the book in your lap and think, Holy cow. Yeah, that COULD work!
>>From Star Wars and Star Trek, to Isaac Asimov and beyond, Michio Kaku explains how far we have come in our understanding (along with a rough quantification of how far we have to go) to reaching our dreams of the once-thought-to-be impossible.
>>Personally, I am biased toward Kaku's ability to write, I enjoy his descriptions and explanations, not to mention his wearily optimistic approach to the future. But what I can say for certain is Michio Kaku is an inspiration for creative thinkers to follow their dreams. We are moving into an age where impossibilities in nature are meeting the ingenuity of human technology, the outcome of which is eerily mind boggling.
>>If you're a fan of his previous works and are unsure of how this piece is, I'll say that while it isn't the most earth-shattering thing he's produced, it is certainly a colorful icing on the cake of his other works.
>>Physics of The Impossible should be in the personal library of anyone who wants another beautiful escape from reality, directed by none other than Michio Kaku.
3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2009
I found this book to be a great read as well as informative. The author explains the topics so that you don't have to be a scientist to understand the content. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys physics or just wants to explore a different aspect of life.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 30, 2009
Posted May 22, 2011
Dr. Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Impossible" is the type of book that blows you mind open with the possibilites. Dr. Kaku is one of the most prolific physicists on the modern age. In "Physics of the Impossible" he explores the realistic possibilities of the science fiction of today becoming the science fact in the not too distant future.
In fact, for the most part, the stuff of sci-fi novels will not only become the fodder for tomarrow's non-fiction novels but the fiction may be near childs play as to what the future holds in store for us. Your mind will explode as the possibilites of space and time travel become real in ways you may not realize. More often then not Dr. Kaku reveals we are closer then the general public may even realize.
Even when the truely impossible is presented, Dr. Kaku reveals the pathways we must travel (over hundred and thousands of years) in order to get there. For expample, time travel is disucssed as a very real possibility. We know how to do it we lack the ENERGY needed to do it. Wild!
For the most part, Micio Kaku is masterful at putting very very detailed physical science into laymans terms that the average joe can understand. However, there are times where I just couldn't wrap my mind around the concepts being destribed. It did not turn me off, I was able to barely grasp the concepts and read through it in a haze. Those moments were few and far between and should be expected when discussing deep physical concepts.
This book was the catalyst for the television series Sci-Fi Science. If you enjoy that show or mythbusters or any similar types of programs this book is for you. Of course if your a future science buff this is also essential reading.
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