Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

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

Takeaway: My brain is not designed for complex physics. But I keep reading anyway.

The premise of the book is fascinating.  Physicist Michio Kaku takes science fiction ideas and objects and evaluates how they might work and how far away we are from being able to actually do what is now impossible.

Light Sabers, Warp Drives, faster than light travel, time travel, replicators are all in here.  The closer Kaku is to the actual science fiction the more interesting the book is.  The longer the description, the more side discussions the more I lost interest.

Kaku is a fairly good author.  Much of the book was very well written and understandable.  (I say this as someone that wants to understand science and frequently reads science but really does not understand it.)  But it gets too detailed too often, especially about half way through the book.

There is also a long discussion at the end of the book about a unified theory of everything (one of Kaku’s areas of research) that is useful to understanding science and the direction it is going, but it otherwise unrelated to the initial purpose of the book.

One pet peeve is that once Kaku moves out of physics he is both less interesting and sounds less knowledgeable.  In a chapter on the possibility of Aliens he discusses types of civilizations.  In giving some illustrations he talks about rise of the European Union (and says it came together in response to NAFTA.)  NAFTA was put into place under Clinton in 1994.  The EU traces its history back to trade agreements of the 1950s, but was formally constituted in 1993 (although it didn’t adopt the current constitution until later.)

Overall, my response is similar to other science book (especially physics books).  I am glad I read it.  I am chipping away at the part of my brain that seem unable to understand large scientific concepts.  I need to listen to these books because when I am completely lost, the audiobook narrator keeps going until I have a new concept to latch onto.  But I can’t say that I really ‘understand’ significant portions of the book.

Physics of the Impossible Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audiobook

One Comment

I just finished this book the other night and your review is spot on. In some parts, I had to re-read several times to get the idea but in general, a fairly readable book. I, too, enjoy trying to understand physics and enjoy reading it if the level is “easy”

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