Michio Kaku


American Futurist, Theoretical Physicist, Popularizer of Science, Author, Henry Semat Chair and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York

Author Quotes

Futurism today is led by science-fiction writers, by sociologists, by historians. Now, I have nothing against them. I'm sure they do great work. But they're not scientists. They're clueless.

I concluded that, unhappily, I?d been born into a world dominated by a rampaging monster called ?law? that was both all-powerful and all-stupid.

I think that by creating a world of plenty, by creating institutions and organizations that promote knowledge and promote understanding, I think I could be part of being in a better world.

In 2025, don't be surprised if a Chinese flag is placed on the moon.

In the beginning God said, the four-dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric, second rank tensor equals zero, and there was light, and it was good. And on the seventh day he rested.

It should also be pointed out that some of the strains of smart mice were exceptionally timid compared to normal mice. Some suspect that, if your memory becomes too great, you also remember all the failures and hurts as well, perhaps making you hesitant. So there is also a potential downside to remembering too much.

Mathematics... is the set of all possible self-consistent structures, and there are vastly more logical structures than physical principles.

Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg likens this multiple universe theory to radio. All around you, there are hundreds of different radio waves being broadcast from distant stations. At any given instant, your of?ce or car or living room is full of these radio waves. However, if you turn on a radio, you can listen to only one frequency at a time; these other frequencies have de-cohered and are no longer in phase with each other. Each station has a different energy, a different frequency. As a result, your radio can only be turned to one broadcast at a time. Likewise, in our universe we are tuned into the frequency that corresponds to physical reality. But there are an in?nite number of parallel realities coexisting with us in the same room, although we cannot tune into them. Although these worlds are very much alike, each has a different energy. And because each world consists of trillions upon trillions of atoms, this means that the energy difference can be quite large. Since the frequency of these waves is proportional to their energy (by Planck's law), this means that the waves of each world vibrate at different frequencies and cannot interact anymore. For all intents and purposes, the waves of these various worlds do not interact or in?uence each other.

Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos

Science is the engine of prosperity. But you'd never know it, listening to some of the politicians. They're lawyers and businessmen, not scientists. Lawyers and businessmen massage wealth; they don't create it

Sometimes the public says, ?What's in it for Numero Uno? Am I going to get better television reception? Am I going to get better Internet reception?? Well, in some sense, yeah. ? All the wonders of quantum physics were learned basically from looking at atom-smasher technology. ? But let me let you in on a secret: We physicists are not driven to do this because of better color television. ? That's a spin-off. We do this because we want to understand our role and our place in the universe. [On the practical applications of particle physics research with the Large Hadron Collider.]

The entire electromagnetic spectrum? from radar to TV, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays, microwaves, and gamma rays? is nothing but Maxwell waves, which in turn are vibrating Faraday force fields.

The olfactory sensors of dogs, he said, had evolved over millions of years to be able to detect a handful of molecules, and that kind of sensitivity is extremely difficult to match, even with our most finely tuned sensors. It?s likely that we will continue to rely on dogs at airports for the foreseeable future.

There are 60 sub-atomic particles they?ve discovered that can explain the thousands of other sub-atomic particles, and the model is too ugly. This is my analogy: it?s like taking Scotch tape and taping a giraffe to a mule to a whale to a tiger and saying this is the ultimate theory of particles. ? We have so many particles that Oppenheimer once said you could give a Nobel Prize to the physicist that did not discover a particle that year. We were drowning in sub-atomic particles.

A plasma is the fourth state of matter. Solids, liquids, and gases make up the three familiar states of matter, but the most common form of matter in the universe is plasma, a gas of ionized atoms.

As Sir William Osler once said, ?The philosophies of one age have become the absurdities of the next, and the foolishness of yesterday has become the wisdom of tomorrow.?

Consciousness turns out to consist of a maelstrom of events distributed across the brain. These events compete for attention, and as one process outshouts the others, the brain rationalizes the outcome after the fact and concocts the impression that a single self was in charge all along.

Fifty years ago, scientists made a mistake thinking that the brain was like a digital computer. Yet , the brain has no programming, no Pentium chip, no central processor, no Windows, no operating system, no subroutines, etc. We now realize that the brain is entirely different; it?s a learning machine, a neural network of some sort, that rewires itself after learning every new task. This means that our robots are simple adding machines when compared to the brain. Currently, our most advanced robots have the intelligence of a bug. (But even bugs can rapidly hide, find food, and mates, etc., which our robots cannot.) In the coming decades, robots will be as smart as a mouse, rat, rabbit, dog, or cat, and eventually as smart as a monkey. So they will inevitably play a role in our lives. In fact, robotics may eventually become an industry larger than the automobile industry today, performing the 3 D?s, i.e., jobs that are dirty, dreary, and dangerous. But when robots become commonplace, we will have to bond with them, so they will have to understand our emotions as well. They will have to recognize changes in our face and voice, allowing them to understand our emotional state, and then have a menu of responses to these emotions. Emotions also help us assign a value judgment on everything, which robots do not have. For example, robots will have to know whom and what to save in case of an emergency, and hence will have to make snap-value judgments. In fact, there is a whole branch of artificial intelligence theory, called ?friendly AI,? which analyzes the programs necessary to make robots acceptable to humans.

Global warming is actually a misnomer. It should be global extremes and global swings, because you add - as you add more energy into the atmosphere, it sloshes around. Energy doesn't simply uniformly warm up the planet. And that means droughts in one area, enormous snowstorms in another area, 100-year floods here, 100-year forest fires there.

I confess I sometimes sneak a peek at 'The Big Bang Theory.' I chuckle at their antics. But I cringe when they portray physicists as clueless nerds who are doormats when it comes to picking up women.

I think, in the coming years, we will have a brain pacemaker that can stimulate the memory of people with Alzheimer's disease. They will be able to upload simple memories of who they are and where they live. Beyond that, we will be able to use electronics to upload vacations we never had, perhaps. And the internet itself will be a brain-net of emotions and memories.

In Einstein's equation, time is a river. It speeds up, meanders, and slows down. The new wrinkle is that it can have whirlpools and fork into two rivers. So, if the river of time can be bent into a pretzel, create whirlpools and fork into two rivers, then time travel cannot be ruled out.

In the future we'll be able to mentally contact anybody we want, see whatever image we want. And when we don't like it, we'll just turn it off.

It turns out that the left temporal lobe, if there's a lesion there, will create hyper-religiosity. People become super-religious. They see demons and spirits everywhere. We think Joan of Arc may have had it.

Max Planck once remarked, Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature. And it is because in the last analysis we ourselves are part of the mystery we are trying to solve.

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American Futurist, Theoretical Physicist, Popularizer of Science, Author, Henry Semat Chair and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York