Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

The Impossible Explained.....

A very good book for the physics enthusiast – especially the unique approach the author brings to the table. The author takes a good look at various phenomenon in science fiction such as ‘Force fields’, ‘Invisibility’, ‘Teleportation’, ‘Time Travel’, ‘Perpetual motion machines’ and so on and classifies them into Classes of 1 to 3. Class 1 impossibilities are those that are impossible today but do not violate the known laws of physics and may be realized within this century, Class 2 are those that may be realized in millions (!) of years; and Class 3 (surprisingly very few) that violate the known laws of physics.

An easy to read book with many references to popular science fiction books as well as TV shows and movies, it enables the reader to put in perspective many of the science fiction concepts that we often hear about. Numerous scientists and authors have also been interviewed by the author and their feedback brought into the book. However I would have liked to see more of the author’s views on Ray Kurzweil predictions on spiritual machines and humanity overcoming death.

The author’s science projects at school will invoke an inferiority complex in most of us :) but does give an idea of what precocious children can achieve in the school system of the United States. In spite of the good research that went into the book, I noticed a minor error which will titillate Indian readers. In page 44 of the book, the Hindu God Shiva is mentioned as a goddess.

I would recommend this book to readers interested in Physics and Science fiction.

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