Mangoo's Reviews > Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku
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Dec 04, 2011

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Read from December 04 to 07, 2011

There are people that turn to computer science because when young they were compulsive videogamers. And there are people who turn to be physicists because when young they wanted to believe in science fiction. Michio Kaku belongs to the latter, perhaps rarer, case and this book represents his attempts to check the status of technologies depicted in the likes of Star Trek or Star Wars according to the current scientific knowledge and outlook.
Kaku presents a rather wide range of topics in a format open to a wide audience - indeed, as large as that of his inspiring science fiction. The book starts somewhat dull with relatively easy and not-so-interesting issues, which may discourage more expert readers to endure till the end of the book. Luckily, as pages go by Kaku smoothly rises the bar and delves into more advanced physics and hotter topics when facing cosmology, theories of everything, perpetual motion engines and so on. Kaku has for sure a certain talent for divulgation, yet it is as much evident that he feels more comfortable with advanced topics, where his synthesis and clarity of exposition is the more appreciated and required.
Throughout, the text is pointed with tasty anecdots, citations and between-parentheses (after)thoughts of the author which add to the feeling of intimacy with hard matters made simple for the occasion that the book is essentially about. The reader also does not miss a few precious gems (like the role of antimatter to avoid the collapse of causality, Goldilocks zones for the existance of life, the role of symmetries). Finally, the Epilogue has even a rather philosophical take with considerations on the recurrent end of physics (and the switch of fields by Hawking) and the destiny of civilizations.
Overall, a nice read to pass time in between hard businneses - expecially toward the end.

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