Monday, June 14, 2010

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

An excellent analysis of the viability of many possible technologies as well as cosmological events, such as invisibility, force fields, phasers, time travel and alien contact. All too often someone decries something to be impossible when perhaps they just mean it is improbable. Tsk tsk! There are numerous amusing stories of some famous thinker stating that some technology or event is impossible only to be proved wrong within years or decades.
Kaku investigates myriad phenomena and classifies one of three was: Class I Impossibility (impossible now, but possible in the next 10-100 years), Class II (impossible now, but possible in the a thousand to a million years) and Class III (impossible now and forever unless (what we know about) the laws of physics is fundamentally changed). Those with some exposure to these ideas or who have read previously on cosmology will find much of the content to be a review, but it is nicely segmented and would make a good book for the interested lay person.
Additionally, one is often reminded of things one has previously learned. For example, I had known that increases in size have differential increases in strength and mass, but I hadn’t connected it to the fact that if an ape were 10 time bigger, it would actually end up weaker because its mass increases by a cube while its size increases by a square. More simply, King Kong would break his leg; so would a large ant.


Blogger Yosha said...

Hey thanks for a reading list! I was just lamenting on being in a bit of a rut. I haven't looked through your earlier posts, but have you read "The Quirks & Quarks Guide to Space?" A bit basic but easy to read and entertaining.

9:55 AM  

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