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The Physics of Star Trek

(The Physics of Star Trek and Beyond #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  5,280 ratings  ·  251 reviews
What warps when you're traveling at warp speed? What's the difference between the holodeck and a hologram? What happens when you get beamed up? What is the difference between a Wormhole and a Black Hole? What is antimatter and why does the Enterprise need it?
Discover the answers to these and many other fascinating questions as a renowned physicist and dedicated Trekker ex
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published 1995 by BasicsBooks
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3.83  · 
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 ·  5,280 ratings  ·  251 reviews

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Smart reading!


You have to give attention to a book when Stephen Hawking does the foreword!

In this reference book, Lawrence M. Krauss, the author, engages into the area of topics that Star Trek always has been a pioneer in the media field...

...the presentation of science-fiction in way that you may very well think that eventually it will be possible...

...even more in account when you think that some of the "futuristic" technololgy presented, not only in the Original Seri
This is a short, enjoyable read for anybody who loves the Star Trek series, as I do. The book describes how most of the concepts and technologies in Star Trek are possible but quite implausible. My favorite chapter was actually the last one, describing the things that are absolutely impossible, that one might call "bloopers".

Krauss really does get to the heart of each issue related to Star Trek concepts and technologies. But, do not read this book with the intention of learning about physics. Yo
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tresuiri by: claire
As a physicist and a Star Trek fan I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I never took the fantasy parts of the television show so seriously so I never dwelt on the inconsistencies and glairing errors. The TV shows are a good get away when you want them. That said it doesn’t surprise me in the least that others have taken the series with a bit less forgiveness. Beyond being a Star Trek critic I think this book is an excellent educational resource for the layman about the basic physics involved about th ...more
This is a "fun" book with a sound scientific foundation. The fun is in experiencing the hard work Kraus has done to provide a foundation for the imaginative devices and phenomena that any Trekie knows intimately.

If you are looking for something like Astrophysics for Trekies you may be disappointed that you won't be able to pass astrophysics 101 after reading this book. If you are looking for the basic plans for building a transporter, you too will find this book lacking.

On the other hand, if yo
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Krauss, Lawrence M. THE PHYSICS OF STAR TREK. (1995). ***. Krauss is a professor of physics and professor of Astronomy and Chairman of the Department of Physics at Cast Western Reserve University. He is also a Trekkie fan which, he discovered, is typical of many of his peers. He decided to write this book to address a list of items that the writers of the show got wrong, and what they got right in light of the knowledge of present day physics. You should also know, however, that Krauss is a cosm ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book on the possibilities of Star Trek technology in the real world. Krauss is pretty good at explaining concepts in an entertaining way.
Sarah Parrish
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t believe you have to be a physicist to understand this book, but advanced high school or undergraduate levels would definitely help. I had to refresh my brain of these concepts presented here often, and that can be frustrating and not as accessible as one would hope – but, like, it’s called “Physics of Startrek.” It’s in the title! So, uh, I sucked it up because I love Startrek. It’s ok to feel stupid now and then. That’s how we learn, right?

Regardless of my poked and prodded intellectual
David (דוד)
This book can be very interesting for someone who loves Star Trek as well as Physics. On several occasions episode titles are referenced to, and it could be interesting to pay attention to the matter dealt for that episode while also viewing it. These can also be directly navigated from within the index at the end of the book; I would certainly be doing the same.

Section One deals with Inertial Dampers, Tractor Beams, Time Travel, Warp Speeds, Deflector Shields, Wormholes, and other Space-time St
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite popular science books of all time. Unless of course time travel one day becomes possible and I travel back in time and discover a popular science book I like better before I read this one.

Of course, The Physics of Star Trek is not really about Star Trek at all, and I was puzzled to see comments from reviewers who thought it was aimed at sci fi fans, or about what physicists like to watch on TV. Krauss is simply using the much loved (and often lovingly derided) series
Ioannis Savvas
Μια καλή ανασκόπηση της Φυσικής με αφορμή τα λάθη στην τηλεοπτική σειρά Star Trek.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
One could almost believe this book is contemporary, with the recent Star Trek reboot movie bringing Trek back into popular culture, but alas, this book is from 1995. (It would have been really interesting to see what Krauss would have done with all that black hole sloppiness in J.J. Abram's movie.) But I finally got around to reading this, partially thanks to the TBR pile and Science reading challenges. It's not good to let books sit ignored for so long!

Reading this book, as with most popular sc
Apr 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Para Penikmat Star Trek
Shelves: sci-fi
Baru kali ini saya benar-benar jatuh cinta sama fisika :) Krauss sukses membuat saya geleng-geleng kepala! Boleh jadi, inilah "kitab suci" paling lengkap buat penggemar Star Trek di seantero jagat raya, mulai dari generasi pertama Spock, Enterprise (Picard) hingga Deep Space Nine.

Krauss, Doktor Fisika MIT, belum apa-apa sudah mengawali buku ini dengan kata pengantar "super-kocak" yang ditulis oleh satu dari tiga fisikawan terbesar abad ini: Stephen Hawking, yang ternyata juga penggemar berat Sta
Nonethousand Oberrhein
Sciency Fiction
Retracing the hundreds of episodes of the TV series, the authors explain the science behind the big and small gizmos (from the warp engine to the tricoder) known to any Star Trek fan. More than a scientific legitimation of the show, this book finds the good excuse to talk and vulgarize hard science in a very accessible and enjoyable way. “Trekker” (or “Trekkie”) knowledge may be useful to get the hidden episode reference, but it is not a strict requirement: any Science enthusiast
Benjamin Thomas
Sep 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book gives a good overview look at each of the major physics-oriented aspects of the Star Trek universe. Just how likely is it that we will develop transporters, food replicators, or (probably of greatest interest to most of us) holo suites? The answers are here in this well written layman's guide. This book is best suited for the curious, for those who wonder if these things will one day be possible. The authors take us down each path, sometimes determining that it will be possible, someda ...more
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bello davvero.
Nonostante gli argomenti non siano dei più semplici, il ritmo è scorrevole, leggero e si riesce a capire quasi tutto :)
L'autore ama Star Trek e la fisica e si vede :))
Una gran bella lettura.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never seen before reading this book! I chose to watch two episodes whe I began to read it! Now I want to watch them all. Very well written and clear
Rod Murphy
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many of us have grown up watching the Enterprise and crews explore planets, fight aliens, and have nail-biting escapes that we never question the science. How would transporters work? Photon torpedoes? How fast is Warp 9? This book examines the physics of space travel and our current state of the art (not even close). But theoretically….

Yet as Krauss points out, that does not stop discussion of the latest ‘Trek’ over coffee the following day, such as this:
‘ By the same token, not just light b
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting read. Krauss hits on a lot of the main science from the shows and whether those are plausible at all. It's refreshing to know that a lot of it isn't that far from possibility. Our technology is just not there yet and may not be for a long time, but it's interesting to know how these things may be put into effect. He touches on subjects like transporters, food replicators, warp-drive, anti-matter, phasers, alien life, and more. The only thing about this book is that it is o ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. It is perfect for a Trekkie who loves and appreciates science! Dr. Krauss (who we were fortunate to hear speak earlier this year) is an excellent writer and communicator of complex science to the casual "armchair" scientist. He covers many of the basic foundational technologies portrayed in the universe of Star Trek, and explains them and their implications in terms of proven laws and practices of physics and the the scientific method. A great read for even the casual ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Readers know that today’s science fiction often becomes tomorrow’s science fact. But how does “Star Trek” stack up against the real universe? As readers explore the concepts, they will discover what science the creators of the series got right . . . and not so right . . . in the “Star Trek” future. Written by a theoretical physicist, readers will find much to ponder in the discussion of physics as it is known today and the suggestions of what it might one day become.

For fans of the series as wel
H.S. Rivney
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trekkers will enjoy the scientific point of view about how the ships can/might/won't fly, transporter technology, time travel, neutron stars, dark matter, the holodecks, phasers, and assorted other Trek technobabble and props that makes science fiction fun. It's a deep read, and delves into, well, physics, and is not to be consumed in one sitting or even one weekend by the average human. Heavy in details, formulas, and facts, it's sure to change your perspective on which ever franchise you like ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Book. If gives you exactly what the title of the book says it will do. The book took complicated physic problems and made them easy to understand in relation to how the Star Trek series uses them. The book also gave what it would take for things to happen the way that they did in the series/movies and how that plays into both the writing of the series and the way that the movies/series showed things in a certain order. If you are "sciency" and like to learn how the things in the show are do ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolutely fascinating read. I'm not normally into non-fiction, or even physics, but I'm glad I picked this up. Krauss explains the physics of Star Trek in a way that people with little familiarity with physics can easily understand.

He also incorporates that classic Star Trek spirit of wonder as he explains and speculates. The Physics of Star Trek was an engaging read and I highly suggest it if you have the slightest interest in physics or Star Trek :)
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Star Trek fan, this book fulfilled both sides of my knowledge quest about Star Trek; it is both legitimate and impossible, given that it is a dream creation. Krauss provides clear and understandable evidence for both and that balanced portrayal made reading this book a pleasure for a non-physicist, Trek fan. I liked his tone and style of writing as well. Concepts were easy to grasp and it was fun to read.
Vance J.
I am not a Classic Trekkie, but I have enjoyed the TV shows and movies. Written in 1995, this book is a bit dated, but it did provide (I think) a good review of some of the issues in the earlier series/movies. I was a bit surprised that Krauss did not include the Drake Equation when referring to the odds of other intelligent life in our Galaxy - it's pretty well-known.
G Flood
As someone who is a fan of the Star Trek series, I found this book at times amusing, mesmerizing but most often, completely dazed & confused by the physics lingo.

I think I will leave the physics to the amazing physicists and continue my enjoyment of the Star Trek series and movies in oblivious bliss.
Olivier Novel
I like Star Trek, much more than I like Star Wars on this scientifical its basis, as Trek is clearly science fiction and Wars is pure fantasy. I also like Lawrence Krauss, he's very good as a scientific communicator, so all was well with this, and this was done 20 years ago, so the way LC talks about data seems so naive and outdated that it might as well have been written 40 years ago.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting book for anyone who enjoys Star Trek. I have really only seen the original series so I will definitely be reading this again after checking out the other installments of the show since a lot of the discussion is from the later series. Having some background in Physics helps, but is not needed.
Al Eden
A bit dated, just because technology moves so fast these days. Although it is kind of fun to try to spot the areas where it is out of date and try to bring it forward to today yourself. Still an interesting book.
Daniel Pokrývka
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Absolutely amazing how Lawrence combines his knowledge of physics with my favourite sci-fi TV series world. Also - one does (re-)learn a lot by reading this book. About universe, about special relativity ..
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Goodreads Librari...: Page count correction 3 186 Sep 14, 2017 01:22PM  
  • The Star Trek Encyclopedia
  • The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers Volume 1
  • The Metaphysics of Star Trek
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual
  • The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books
  • The Klingon Dictionary
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion
  • A World Without Ice
  • The Ethics of Star Trek
  • Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual
  • Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • All Good Things...
  • Star Trek: Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise
  • Star Trek Generations
  • Star Trek Memories
  • The Continuing Mission
  • Q-Squared
  • Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles
Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of a ...more

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The Physics of Star Trek and Beyond (2 books)
  • Beyond Star Trek: From Alien Invasions to the End of Time (The Physics of Star Trek and Beyond, #2)
“No matter where you go, there you are.” 19 likes
“an electron accelerated to .9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 9999999999999 times the speed of light would hit you with the same impact as a Mack truck traveling at normal speed.” 6 likes
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