Physics of the Impossible Book Summary - Physics of the Impossible Book explained in key points
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Michio Kaku

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

4.4 (151 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku explores the science behind some of the seemingly impossible feats in science fiction, and examines the possibility of realizing them in the future.

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    Physics of the Impossible
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    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.

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    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.

    Physics of the Impossible Review

    Physics of the Impossible (2008) by Michio Kaku explores the fascinating world of scientific possibilities that were once deemed impossible. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a mind-expanding exploration of concepts like teleportation, time travel, and even contact with extraterrestrial civilizations, stretching the limits of our imagination.
    • Kaku combines accessible explanations of complex theories with engaging anecdotes, making the book an enjoyable and thought-provoking read for both science enthusiasts and novices alike.
    • With its forward-thinking and optimistic perspective, the book challenges conventional wisdom, sparking curiosity and inspiring readers to ponder the future of scientific advancements.

    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
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    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.

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    Physics of the Impossible FAQs 

    What is the main message of Physics of the Impossible?

    The main message of Physics of the Impossible explores the possibilities of futuristic technologies and their feasibility based on current scientific understanding.

    How long does it take to read Physics of the Impossible?

    The reading time for Physics of the Impossible may vary, but it typically takes several hours to read. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Physics of the Impossible a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Physics of the Impossible is a fascinating and thought-provoking read. It offers an engaging exploration of theoretical physics and the potential future of technology.

    Who is the author of Physics of the Impossible?

    The author of Physics of the Impossible is Michio Kaku.

    What to read after Physics of the Impossible?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Physics of the Impossible, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Possible by William Ury
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