Thursday, April 3, 2008


Here are some of the questions I'm lining up for physicist Michio Kaku's upcoming (next week interview!

Kaku Michio, physics professor and TV and media science commentator, is the author of several academic textbooks on string theory and quantum field theory, and has had more than 70 articles published in respected journals, covering superstring theory, supergravity supersymmetry, and hadronic physics. He is also author of several popular books, Visions, Hyperspace, and Parallel Worlds, and he co-authored Beyond Einstein with Jennifer Thompson. Hyperspace was a best-seller and was voted one of the best science books of the year by both the New York Times[1] and the Washington Post. Parallel Worlds was a finalist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction in Great Britain.
His latest book, Physics of the Impossible, examines the technologies of invisibility, teleportation, telepathy, star ships, anti-matter engines, time travel, all regarded as not possible today, but might be feasible in future. In Physics of the Impossible, he ranks these subjects according to when, if ever, these technologies might become reality. In March, Physics of the Impossible hit the New York Times Best-seller list.

Welcome back to KBOO, Dr. Kaku! Our previous discussion sparked a great deal of enthusiastic discussion in the KBOO community.

Class I ideas -- -- force fields, invisibility, phasers and death stars, teleportation, telepathy, psychokinesis, robots, extraterrestrials and UFOs, starships, antimatter and anti-universes -- could come true within a hundred years. Class II impossibilities, such as travel faster than light, time travel and parallel universes, may be possible in the next millennium. Class III ideas, like perpetual motion machines and precognition, may never be possible, given the underlying science.

As Kaku explores his subjects, he uses references anyone can understand: Star Trek, Back to the Future, The Wizard of Oz, Flash Gordon, Men in Black. The result is an imminently readable physics primer.

How would a force field work? Wouldn’t it just fry anyone entering it?

Is the human brain a purely Cartesian, Newtonian biological thinking device, or is it in part a conversion device for a thinking mind that exceeds current measurement abilities?
Would an artificial intelligence take on the same characteristics as a human mind?

Dr. Kaku, is there a relationship between the observer effect noted in the famous photon gun diffraction experiments, and psychokinesis? Isn’t the observer effect instantaneous over distance? How could this be true, and have no corollary possibilities of the development of extrasensory perception? What is the power of consciousness?

What’s the difference between string theory and moving dimensions theory? How do these fit into the theory of everything?
Has time been visibly altered in experiments? Doesn’t gravity alter perceived time, so that a person on the surface of the Earth experiences slower time? Is this due to the acceleration-like aspects of gravity?

(much of this is from wikkipedia, like the following (slightly altered):

Kaku has been vocal with his concerns and criticism over social concerns including the anthropogenic cause of global warming; also nuclear armament, nuclear power, and the general misuse of science.[2] He was a staunch opponent of the Cassini-Huygens space probe because of the plutonium contained in the craft for use by its radioisotope thermoelectric generator. Fearing the possibility that its fuel should somehow be dispersed into the environment, and the significant health effects and thousands of casualties caused by the resulting contamination, he charged NASA's risk assessment with scientific dishonesty.[3] Despite his and other objections, the probe was launched and went on to complete its mission without incident so far.