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Physics of the Impossible

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  29,756 ratings  ·  1,212 reviews
A fascinating exploration of the science of the impossible—from death rays and force fields to invisibility cloaks—revealing to what extent such technologies might be achievable decades or millennia into the future.

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. In Ph
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Hardcover, 329 pages
Published March 11th 2008 by Doubleday Books (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  29,756 ratings  ·  1,212 reviews


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Science (Fiction) Comedy Horror and Fantasy Geek/Nerd a.k.a Mario
ENGLISH

Understandable and neutral, the bow spans from possible to fantastic.

To gild the skills of a highly regarded and successful scientist by cultivating such an accessible and entertaining writing culture that is second to none in the current non-fiction field is at least as much a part of Kaku as the co-founding of string theory. If not a bit more, because the awakening of enthusiasm of others for the miracles around us is considered to be almost even higher than the important,
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Servius  Heiner
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Servius Heiner by: anyone who enjoys science
Shelves: science
This book is standard Michio Kaku. He starts off discussing the three classes of impossibilities. (Understand that much of what you would think of as impossible is not really impossible. In order to be proven impossible it must break a law of physics, there is not much that does.)

“Class 1 Impossibilities: These are technologies that are impossible today but that do not violate the known laws of physics. So they might be possible in this century, or perhaps the next, in modified form.
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Felicia
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Looking for something substantive? Look for this author, his books are so interesting and engrossing. Here he dissects all the Sci-Fi tropes and explains how each of them is impossible, or what the hell it would take to make it a reality. I learned quite a lot and it was not too jumbled for a non-scientist like me to read.
Trevor
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
There is no denying that this is an interesting book and one that presented many of the problems of physics in a way that is comprehensive, comprehensible and engaging. I think other people (people with a greater interest in science fiction, particularly) will find this book even more interesting than I did and more accessible than your standard pop science book on physics. I hadn’t realised I knew quite so little about science fiction – I hadn’t ever really thought about the fact that I hadn’t ...more
Simon Clark
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics-books
When I was a schoolkid I studied physics in part because - like many physics students - I wanted to know how to build the cool stuff in science fiction. The death star. Lightsabers. Warp drive. This is the stuff of Kaku's riotous introduction to modern physics and if I'd read it when I was in school it would have blown my goddamn mind.

I went into this book anticipating that I wouldn't learn all of that much - after all I have a masters degree in physics and read widely before studyin
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Bettie


Description: A fascinating exploration of the science of the impossible—from death rays and force fields to invisibility cloaks—revealing to what extent such technologies might be achievable decades or millennia into the future.

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. In Physics of the Impossible, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction th
...more
John Stevens
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Michio Kaku is perhaps the or one of the most brilliant minds in theoretical physics living today. I've seen him present several concepts and theories on the Discovery Channel.
I am a man who truly appreciates the marvel of theoretical physics. The stuff of Albert Einstein. Although I have some education along these lines and have watched and read quite a lot, I still find it very difficult to follow.
In this book/audio book, Dr. Kaku takes us on a journey into all of those "sci-fi scie
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Doug
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great introduction to current issues in Physics - without the pain of complex equations. Also, fun as the author esplores the plausibility of the physics in the Star Trek, Star Wars, and Time travel movies and books.
Ben Babcock
I was never promised a flying car.

What I mean to say is that my generation was never the generation of flying cars. We grew up knowing better. It’s been seventy years since we started breaking open atomic nuclei to harness their incredible capacity for destruction and creation, and we are still sucking fossilized plants from the bowels of the Earth and lighting it on fire as fuel. My parents grew up watching men go to the moon. I grew up watching NASA’s budget bleeding out on the table, their shuttle fl
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Muhammad
How often do you wonder about The Future? Can you conceive of the technologies people are going to use in the next millennium? Or is it at all conceivable? Is the ever growing ‘Technology Monster’ finally going to define or explain ‘every’ phenomenon around us some time in the far future? What about super intelligent extraterrestrials? Do they really exist? Are they going to invade us like the Hollywood ones? Can humans use psychokinesis in their regular lives as Jean Grey does in the X-Men comi ...more
Eric
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
While I really liked this book, a lot, it felt incomplete to me in that much of the math and science behind these concepts is not very in depth. Sure, it's not a text book, but I would have liked to have seen equations or at least references to something that could explain the math.

Also, while there is a TARDIS on the cover, there is no TARDIS, and no mention of Doctor Who at all in the book. I felt slightly cheated, but not enough to not give it a five star rating.

Oh, and the other quibble. V
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owilkumowa
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, nonfiction
If school textbooks were written by Michio Kaku, half of the kids would grow up to be engineers.
Fred Forbes
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
When the author appeared at a convention I attended last year I was surprised not to have heard of him as he was listed as a NY Times best seller. I was impressed enough with his talk to order a couple of his books, this one among them.

He divides phenomena into 3 levels of the impossible. Class I impossibilities are those that are "impossible today but that do not violate the known laws of physics." Examples would include teleportation, antimatter engines and "certain forms of telepa
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Petra
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Theories have four stages of acceptance:
i. this is worthless nonsense;
ii. this is interesting, but perverse;
iii. this is true, but quite unimportant;
iv. I always said so.
—J. B. S. HALDANE, 1963

This is book basically deals with the concept of "Impossibility", and arrive at the conclusion that impossibility is a relative concept. Throughout history, notable scientists labeled things impossible, only to be realized in a relatively short time. For examp
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Huda
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
i love love love this book.

There, I had to say that first before I get anything else out.

Searching for the right person to talk to me about science has proven difficult, and I probably didn't even know it was difficult to connect to an author on this subject before I got to know Michio Kaku.

In Physics of the Impossible, readers will explore possibilities of sci-fi features in real-time. So they would be questions like: how close are we to building a force field? Is invisibility actually po
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Judyta Szaciłło
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-sciences
After a five-star impression that the Author had left me with his "Parallel Worlds", I couldn't give this book more than a four. I liked it very much, but I didn't feel that interested in all those ray guns, death stars and light sabres. The second and the third part of the book were more like "Parallel Worlds", exploring the very edge of theoretical physics and its impact on our understanding of the reality - and these parts I liked much better. I can't say I've understood everything, but even ...more
Terence
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steve Semon
Recommended to Terence by: Xmas present (2011) from the nieces
Shelves: science-general
Michio Kaku is nothing if not optimistic. Is there anything currently in the realm of SF that we cannot do (in some fashion), eventually? Apparently not. Even perpetual motion and precognition may be possible with a better understanding of our universe (or multiverse). In Physics of the Impossible, Kaku, theoretical physicist and one of the developers of string theory, looks at some of the common technologies found in SF and discusses – in a very general and user-friendly way – whether or not they are poss ...more
Ashley Reid
Absolutely loved this, but unfortunately had to gloss over some of the waffly parts as I too much uni reading to do at the time.

I will probably re-read this book at some point though because I enjoyed most of it, and the parts I skipped over may be worth revisiting when I'm in a better mood.
Robert Day
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knowledge
I don't have a TV.

That used to be a radical statement, but now that everything (yes - everything!) is on the Internet, people don't fuss so much.

Thing is though - I don't know people - unless they appear in movies or in the ads that clog up websites.

Which brings us to Michio Kaku.

Without my knowledge, he has sneaked into the world and done stuff like this: he is a futurist, populariser of science, and theoretical physicist, as well as a bestselling
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47Time
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
There are plenty of references to physical phenomena and theory, stuff that has been tested thoroughly and is believed right now to be the truth about the universe. I say this because there have been plenty of times that stuff believed to be true were disproved years down the line, e.g. the Sun rotating around the Earth versus the reverse. I'm glad to see that I understand most of these things, so I didn't go through school for nothing. The author speculates that the future can hold many wonderf ...more
Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
There's no denying in the scientific researches. Kaku encouraged for free thinking, "thinking out of the box!"

I believe teleportation is the most interesting matter in this book. Hence it doesn't matter what's your beliefs bit you need to bear in mind that everything is possible if not at the current time it going to be happening in the future. Whether you like it or not. Thank you Kaku
Gendou
Jan 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Notice that I filed this one under fiction. Kaku is a HACK. This whole book is an exercise in misunderstanding the word "impossible". There is no scientific value to this book. It is a fanciful weave of outright scientific untruth, confusing metaphors, and semantic diarrhea. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!
Aya
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read. it explains whether the phenomenon happening in sci-fi are impossible or not with our current knowledge of physics. Its explaining physics in a fun way
Janet Tomasson
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-dont-know
This is an easy read for the general public that physics is relatively far from.
The advantage (and its disadvantage of it) is that it is an easy physics book, in that, it doesn't go into details, but it covers vast areas in the world of physics.

However, the book is highly recommended for teenagers or for the general public who wants to enrich their general knowledge.
Todd Martin
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve had this book for a while but have been a bit hesitant to read it because I’ve seen videos of Michio Kaku and find him incredibly annoying. I was thus pleasantly surprised that his personality is not prominently on display in his writing.

In Physics of the Impossible Kaku examines the plausibility of futuristic technology that we’re familiar with through science fiction books and films. He categorizes them into three types of impossibilities:
Class I impossibilities – Technologies that are impos
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Jenny williams
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love Michio Kaku's approach, theories and views. I follow his website from time to time to see what different discoveries he makes every day. Physics Of The Impossible is a novel that requires some background knowledge and understanding of physics to truly get what he is saying. This book had example after example after example of all of the different things they said we would NEVER be able to do as a human race and just a decade or so later we are doing far more than what scientists said was ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Kaku (Parallel Worlds, Beyond Einstein, Hyperspace) introduces complex theories of physics to general readers. As The Economist notes, Kaku "makes a good stab at explaining difficult physics. But his grasp of his subject is perhaps trumped by his knowledge of science fiction." While Kaku writes in language designed to captivate nonscience readers, it's his references to pop culture

Noah Goats
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written, engaging, informative and even entertaining work of popular science. Kaku takes a lot of the most popular ideas from science fiction, from light sabers to multiple universes, and then he asks the question, "based on our understanding of the laws of physics, is this possible?" It turns out this is a fun way to learn some serious science, especially since Kaku has a gift for making the subject matter understandable to laymen such as myself. I'll read more of his books for s ...more
Jake Buchanan
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When you think of a high school science fair, I'm sure memories of Baking Soda volcanoes and potato light bulbs come racing to mind. Kaku had a different plan; he built an Atom smasher (also called a particle accelerator) in his basement. This led him on the fast track to a successful life as a theoretical physicist, popularizing science for much of the public eye. Kaku has done this by appearing on many television shows, hosting talk radio shows, and even writing books. In Michio Kaku's 2008 b ...more
Frank
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Dr. Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Impossible" is the type of book that blows you mind open with the possibilites. Dr. Kaku is one of the most prolific physicists on the modern age. In "Physics of the Impossible" he explores the realistic possibilities of the science fiction of today becoming the science fact in the not too distant future.

In fact, for the most part, the stuff of sci-fi novels will not only become the fodder for tomarrow's non-fiction novels but the fiction may be near
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(Arabic: ميشيو كاكو
Russian: Митио Каку
Chinese: 加來道雄
Japanese: ミチオ・カク)


Dr. Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist at the City College of New York , best-selling author, a futurist, and a communicator and popularizer of science. He has written several books about physics and related topics of science.

He has written two New York Times Best Sellers, Physics of the Impossible
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“If at first an idea does not sound absurd, then there is no hope for it. —ALBERT EINSTEIN” 52 likes
“If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day. –JOHN WHEELER” 15 likes
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