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

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel [Kindle Edition]

Michio Kaku
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A rich compendium of jaw-dropping reality checks'


The Times

'After reading Kaku's boundless enthuasiasm for the future, what you wouldn't give for a real-life time machine'


Sunday Telegraph

'One of the world's most distinguished physicists ... takes the reader on a journey to the frontiers of science and beyond'




'One of the world's most distinguished physicists ... takes the reader on a journey to the frontiers of science and beyond'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 482 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0141030909
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9CJI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Got this book and finished it the day after it arrived. Captivating stuff ! As a high level introduction to the current state of a variety of scientific areas it's fantastic.
Kaku tends to spend a little more time on the areas close to him, but everthing gets good coverage. As a springboard to understand current progress it allows the reader to go off and find more information on the particular subject areas that interest them.
I read it in the same week as Ray Kurzweil's 'The Singularity is Near' and it's interesting to see both the overlap, and how things have moved on in 5 years.
All in all a great book for the layman and those with a scientific background. Oh, and a great price for a hardback book right now :)
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, but where was his editor ? 9 July 2009
Agree with all the comments above, and I very much enjoyed the book. My one issue was the surprising number of errors that I really would have expected to be caught by someone before it got to a printing press. Some examples - "transatlantic flights from LA to NY", "kiwi - the flightless Australian bird". The trivial errors in easily checked facts made me wonder a little about the stuff that I couldn't verify.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great book focused on the next generation of thinking beyond the traditional view of science as incremental and often historical.

I particularly liked the type 1,2,3 models of civilizations and the way science fiction was used to illustrate how to think big and beyond the current constraints of technology.

I see the core approach to focus on the parameters of what needs to get done and how to design towards these outcomes even if they are way beyond today's technology is essential for innovation to be more that just disruptive and truly transformational. I hope the triumph of the first few decades of the 20th Century will be seen again in the 21st. The main achievement of this book was it its unabashed language to say it as it is and to go out and question everything even with popular science fiction anecdotes. This is much closer to real science and what we need in this age of rapidly diminishing resources and escalating challenges. I have lost count the number of times I have thought "who is fixing the propulsion speed problem" as most all conversations keep looking at today's performance only.

With so much of today's focus on reducing energy consumption and "combating" climate change and growth I found it positive and uplifting to say that energy consumption is relative and to debunk what I see as media fads and miss use of common science. I genuinely felt for the misdirection Hawkins caused over the Godels incompleteness theorems and your point about moving beyond this by avoiding self-referential statements; the damage caused by Comte to French Science; the Conan Doyle tragedy and the persecution of Turin. I see this all the time in my field of Information Technology and is a warning to anyone who gets hooked on single idea to fix all.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great premise, reasonable execution 11 Jun 2009
The premise of this book is fabulous. Take all the things which we've read about and seen in science fiction books, TV shows and films, and examine how possible, or impossible they are.

So we have phasers, death stars, time travel, warp engines, telepathy and many many more. Yes, it's a geek heaven, but hopefully the book is accessible enough to attrect a wider audience. It certainly deserves it.

Kaku's approach is to look at the fictional invention, explain why it is impossible as it stands, but then go on to see how real physics could create something similar in the future. He classes inventions into type 1,2 and 3 impossibilities, possible in some form within the next century, possible in the distant future, and impossible given the laws of physics as they are currently understood. This is a framework which gives the author the opportunity to potter around on some of the more exciting playing fields of modern physics.

The most surprising thing about the book is the number of things he tags as type 1 impossibilities (starships, forcefields and teleportation amongst them) and the very small number of type three (perpetual motion, precognition).

The strength of the book is simply its source material. The whacky world of theoretical physics is one that should have interest to many beyond a purely scientific audience, especially when described in the largely layperson's terms used here.

My one slight niggle is that while Kaku is relatively easy to read, he isn't the most inspiring author in the world. His material is the inspiring part, and he puts it across well, but in the end I found the structure of the book rather repetitive.

Minor quibble though. Rcommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kaku does it again. 27 Dec 2008
By T. West
After reading Michio Kaku's Hyperspace some ten years ago, It's good to see his ability to turn vast, cosmological theories into palatable prose for ordinary humans remains undiminished.

Most of the common tropes of science fiction are looked at and discussed with relation to modern real-world physics and experiments that may lead us towards such inventions. There are very few examples which Kaku labels as genuinely impossible, and there is a sense of optimism in his writing that is almost contagious.

If you have seen his television work then this will not come as a surprise, but it is, for a book on high-end physics - easy going and hard to put down.

If you enjoy science fiction and want to know more of the science then this is a great place to start.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All good
Published 3 days ago by Mrs C M Rowley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Learnt a lot.
Published 1 month ago by freddy fuller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and value - thank-you!
Published 1 month ago by Leechadwick
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Arrived in good condition. No problems.
Published 2 months ago by W Long Associates UK
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Like Michio Kaku's work, for anybody with an inquisitive mind
Published 3 months ago by N. Stevenson-Oake
5.0 out of 5 stars Short & quick
Literally couldn't put this book down. As a physics graduate I found this book incredibly fascinating and allowed me to see what I've learnt applied in a way I hadn't though of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Spike
1.0 out of 5 stars A collection of platitudes
Having read MKs popular descriptions of string theory, I was quite eager to dive into this. Boy was I disappointed! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Christian Bierlich
5.0 out of 5 stars informative and interesting
Was so good I have lent it to my friend as she has a science degree, arrived quickly, mind opening
Published 8 months ago by carter83
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfull
Well i guess that true science geeks won't find a lot of "new" things in this title, but for a lame man like myself it was a wonderful journey to the boundary of physics. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jedrzej Szych
4.0 out of 5 stars A good accessible exploration
Prof. Michio Kaku is a familiar face to anyone who watches the Discovery Science Channel. Famous for his mixture of clever analogies and witty observations, he excels at making the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Andy G
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