Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Book Club-Physics of the Impossible
I just finished reading Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku. Kaku, who is a theoretical physicist, writes with an exceptionally clear and straightforward style that makes even the most daunting concepts in physics graspable by the layman. I, having no background in physics and being rubbish at mathematics, was able to comprehend most every topic covered. Granted some theories are just beyond most laymen's reach, that is no reason to be scared away from Physics of the Impossible. Kaku's book primarily focuses on technologies that, to us, are nothing more than science fiction; he explains each technology using current studies in physics and places them in three categories: Class I Impossibilities (within our reach in the next century) , Class II Impossibilities (within our reach in the next several centuries), and Class III Impossibilities (either these being impossible or the entire book on physics would have to be rewritten to make these a possibility). Interestingly enough, everything from invisibility cloaks, starship exploration, and robots are within our reach based on the current laws of the universe. With such rich science fiction fodder, you would except Kaku to at least mention some of the most beloved science fiction stories, and he does. In fact, Star Trek may as well be one of his primary resources. The beging of every section starts with some example of how we have seen these technologies used in film, comics, literature, and television. Aside from excellent geek references, he also includes brief history lessons and biographies of some of the most well known men and women in physics. For instance, I never knew Stephen Hawking was such a ladies man or that Apple may have gotten their famous logo as an homage to Alan Turing. Physics of the Impossible is addictive, entertaining, thought provoking, and scratches that itchy part of the brain that ponders the nature of the universe.
Also, in my last post I mentioned that that was a robotic dinosaur, but it is obviously someone in a costume. Some of the facial expressions maybe robotic, but it is still cool.