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Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific…
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Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of… (2008)

by Michio Kaku

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"… it is always dangerous to declare that something is absolutely impossible in the physical sciences." (pg. 285)

A fantastically engrossing book in which renowned physicist Michio Kaku explains how outlandish science-fiction mainstays like time travel, phasers, interstellar travel, invisibility and teleportation may actually be scientifically possible. Even more remarkably, he argues that many of these things may not only be possible but probable. He splits the various ideas into three classes: Class I, which are impossible today but could be possible within the next century or so; Class II, which are possible according to our understanding of physics but will only be realised in the distant future; and Class III, which are ones that violate the known laws of physics. It says a lot that most of the ideas – even some surprising ones – end up in the first class.

It is a book that really brings home just how fascinating science is and the exciting boundaries present and future physicists are and will be pushing. Kaku's writing is occasionally clunky, but he explains the core concepts well. There is an enthusiasm for the wonders of science present in these pages that seems to seep through the pages into the skin of the reader. Similar to other popular science books like Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, your brain becomes giddy as it contemplates such highly stimulating ideas.

But this is not just geeking out and fantasising about one day owning your own lightsaber. It makes you realise not only how remarkable the future may be, but how remarkable the present is. Not only can we theorise about these outlandish concepts but there are significant efforts underway to one day make them a reality. We already live in a remarkable age; think of the complexity of the various technologies we use in our day-to-day lives. On page 11, Kaku talks about 'maglev' trains which are already becoming operational in our time: trains that use magnets to levitate above the tracks. These are things which are coming to bear in our lifetimes, and think about how much more may just be around the corner. Think about a hypothetical book from fifty or one hundred years ago which speculates about the internet and personal computers and mobile phones and so on, and how such things must have seemed like science fiction to people of that time. Quite aside from any of its particular qualities – and there are many – books like Physics of the Impossible are incredibly life-affirming to those willing to engage with them, because they make you dream and make you realise that wild dreams for the future can come true.
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Bello! Il titolo mi stuzzicava, e l'avevo in wishlist da tempo, quindi quando è spuntata un'offerta l'ho acchiappato al volo.
È il primo libro che leggo di questo scienziato, e penso che non sarà l'ultimo.
La fisica dell'impossibile è non solo ma anche quella della fantascienza di Star Trek, Guerre Stellari, dei supereroi, e viene presentata con un linguaggio tecnico il giusto, una prosa scorrevole e accattivante, mai noiosa, la chiarezza non viene mai meno nonostante l'argomento non sia di quelli di cui si discute in coda dal panettiere. Ovviamente l'esigenza di chiarezza e concisione impatta sulla precisione, ma questo è solo un pregio per un libro di divulgazione scientifica. E mi tolgo tanto di cappello davanti al signor Kaku, perché non deve essere per niente facile per uno scienziato di quel livello rinunciare ad andare a fondo nella materia in cui è maestro.

Mi è piaciuta la divisione degli argomenti per tipo d'impossibilità, cose impossibili oggi ma probabili in un futuro non lontano, visto che in alcuni campi la tecnica ha fatto e sta facendo passi da gigante, cose non impossibili in linea teorica ma di difficile attuazione in un futuro anche più lontano, perché le innovazioni tecniche che ne potrebbero permettere la realizzazione sono ben lontane dall'essere possibili a breve, e la terza classe, cose impossibili perché sfidano le leggi della fisica (ma impossibili per ora, lasciamo la porta aperta perché ogni giorno porta una nuova scoperta, e poi questa parte ha solo due capitoli .....).


Sebbene non sia digiuna di fisica delle particelle per gli studi fatti da giovane e le letture fatte (matematica e fisica e la loro storia sono rimaste una mia passione) devo dire che questo è uno dei libri più comprensibili che ho letto al riguardo, dunque lo consiglierei decisamente a chi volesse avvicinarsi a questo genere, e a tutti gli amanti di Star Trek, che scopriranno con piacere che alcune delle cose che vediamo nella serie sono vicine, anche se purtroppo non ancora davvero a portata di mano (e con mio rammarico il viaggio a curvatura non è uno di questi, è un'impossibilità di seconda classe).

E se per caso qualcuno volesse diventare srcittore di fantascienza, beh, leggere questo libro è un must. ( )
  LdiBi | Oct 24, 2015 |
This was a very interesting book but it was long and tedious. I did appreciate that most of the science was easy to grasp but since this book dealt mostly with science fiction and impossibilities, most of what was said was speculation. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Not as exciting as Kaku's previous books but summarizes well the physics behind the most popular SF topics (time travel, faster than light travel, teleportation, force fields, etc.). ( )
  TheCrow2 | Jun 21, 2014 |
...and another half star. The format felt repetitious, the tone a bit condescending, and it covered too much so was not able to really explain things. There are plenty of better books around, I struggled to finish this one. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
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To my loving wife, Shizue, and to Michelle and Alyson
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One day, would it be possible to walk through walls?  [Preface]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307278824, Paperback)

Teleportation, time machines, force fields, and interstellar space ships—the stuff of science fiction or potentially attainable future technologies? Inspired by the fantastic worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Back to the Future, renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku takes an informed, serious, and often surprising look at what our current understanding of the universe's physical laws may permit in the near and distant future.Entertaining, informative, and imaginative, Physics of the Impossible probes the very limits of human ingenuity and scientific possibility.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A fascinating exploration of the science of the impossible--from death rays and force fields to invisibility cloaks--revealing to what extent such technologies might be achievable decades or millennia into the future.

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