Physics of the Impossible Book Summary - Physics of the Impossible Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Physics of the Impossible summary

Michio Kaku

A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel

4.5 (119 ratings)
25 mins
Table of Contents

    Physics of the Impossible
    Summary of 11 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 11

    There’s real science behind the ideas of force fields and invisibility cloaks.

    Remember the force fields used in Star Trek? Formidable energy barriers that protected starships from rockets and enemy fire? The stuff of fantasy, right? Actually, force fields are known to classical physics.

    As we know, many objects can exert an influence over other objects in their vicinity without direct contact with them. For instance, a magnet attracts or repels things that lie within a certain field around it. In the nineteenth century, a British scientist named Michael Faraday came up with the concept of force fields, invisible areas or lines of force that envelop a magnet. Later, the concept expanded to include other forces, such as the earth’s gravitational field.

    Sure, these aren’t the force fields we know from science fiction, but they could help us create them. It might even be possible to develop force fields that deflect rockets.

    Here’s how: When gas is exposed to extreme heat it becomes plasma, an electrically charged mass that’s neither solid, liquid nor gas. This plasma could then be molded by magnetic and electrical fields to form an invisible sheet or plasma window. This force field could then be reinforced with a lattice of carbon nanotubes: nanoscopic cylinders made of thin, rolled-up sheets of carbon. Carbon nanotubes are stronger than steel and could deflect rockets.

    But what if you wanted instead to deflect someone’s attention, say, with an invisibility cloak? This, too, isn’t impossible!

    Our ability to see depends on the light that objects reflect. The more light that passes through a material rather than being reflected by it – such as what happens with a gas or liquid – the less visible the material. But there’s another way that things can become invisible: in 2006, scientists at Duke University developed composite materials known as metamaterials that contain small particles which deflect as opposed to reflect light waves. Any objects enveloped in such material are virtually invisible.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Physics of the Impossible?

    Key ideas in Physics of the Impossible

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Physics of the Impossible about?

    Just how unrealistic is the technology we see in sci-fi novels and television shows? In Physics of the Impossible (2008), renowned physicist Michio Kaku takes a mind-bending look into how far away we really are from such fantastical notions as starships traveling faster than the speed of light or teleporting to different planets.

    Best quote from Physics of the Impossible

    If at first an idea does not sound absurd, then there is no hope for it. - Albert Einstein

    —Michio Kaku
    example alt text

    Who should read Physics of the Impossible?

    • Anyone interested in the future of technology
    • Sci-fi fans curious about the science behind their favorite TV series and movies
    • Anyone interested in astrophysics

    About the Author

    Acclaimed physicist Michio Kaku holds the Henry Semat Chair in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York. He has presented the popular BBC series Time and Visions of the Future, and is the best-selling author of Hyperspace and Parallel Worlds.

    Categories with Physics of the Impossible

    Books like Physics of the Impossible

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial