Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel
by Michio Kaku
Review by Steve Sawicki
Anchor Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780307278821
Date: 07 April 2009 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
For all of us who wondered not only whether or not the things we read about when we delved into SF would ever happen but how they would happen and whether or not they were possible, the time has come. Physicist Michio Kaku wrestles with everything you could ever imagine and everything that has been imagined to get to the bottom of whether or not these things are possible and whether we might see them in the near future or not. Teleportation? He's got it covered. Phasers? Done. Time Travel? Been there, done that. What about telepathy and invisibility? One, he says will happen, the other, not so much. And he doesn't just sit back and give us a yea or nay but he goes into some detail about the principles behind the process and why it might or might not happen.
Of course, Michio can only use the knowledge that he has at the moment the book was written. However, given that he's a theoretical physicist, that's a lot of knowledge he's got rattling around in his brain. Because he's a theoretical physicist, and you know what they can be like (all you have to do is remember the last time you got into a discussion with a theoretical physicist a the company holiday party to know what I mean), you might expect that the book is going to be full of dry, factual information presented in a barely comprehensible manner. It's not. The book is entertaining, engaging, and presented in a manner that most people, and certainly all people who read SF, will understand.
This is an interesting book in a number of ways. I don't think it's particularly easy to present this kind of material in a way that is not either too simple or too complicated. Kaku has to walk that fine line and an even finer one since this book is going to be mostly of interest to people who read SF and who think they already know all these answers. But, anyone who can co-develop string theory can probably manage this, and Kaku does, with flying colors.
Of course everything we know now may be wrong in five years but who wants to wait that long to find out? Fun, interesting and full of facts for your inner geek to wrestle with.