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Publisher's Summary

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. In Physics of the Impossible, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction (such as phasers, force fields, teleportation, and time travel) that are deemed equally impossible today might well become commonplace in the future.

From teleportation to telekinesis, Kaku uses the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals - and the limits - of the laws of physics as we know them today. In a compelling and thought-provoking narrative, he explains:

  • How the science of optics and electromagnetism may one day enable us to bend light around an object, like a stream flowing around a boulder, making the object invisible to observers downstream
  • How ramjet rockets, laser sails, antimatter engines, and nanorockets may one day take us to the nearby stars
  • How telepathy and psychokinesis, once considered pseudoscience, may one day be possible using advances in MRI, computers, superconductivity, and nanotechnology
  • Why a time machine is apparently consistent with the known laws of quantum physics, although it would take an unbelievably advanced civilization to actually build one

    Kaku uses his discussion of each technology as a jumping-off point to explain the science behind it. An extraordinary scientific adventure, Physics of the Impossible takes listeners on an unforgettable, mesmerizing journey into the world of science that both enlightens and entertains.

  • ©2008 Michio Kaku (P)2008 Random House, Inc.

    Critic Reviews

    "Science and science fiction buffs can easily follow Kaku's explanations as he shows that in the wonderful worlds of science, impossible things are happening every day." ( Publishers Weekly)

    What members say

    Average Customer Ratings


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    • Overall
    • Kurt
    • simi valley, CA, USA
    • 07-22-09


    Dr. Kaku isn't only a brilliant string theorist and well rounded communicator with a full breadth of knowledge, he is also inspirational and curious.
    This book covers various sci-fantasies, such as force fields and time travel, and categorizes them into 3 different levels of 'impossibility' for our future.
    He discusses force fields, invisibility, faster that light travel, E.T., and ultimately whether we will be able to escape the final end of this universe by bridging this universe to another and slipping away into a new, younger univese as this one succumbs to entropy or is torn apart as a result of the expansion of space itself.

    He also touches on string theory, various current socioeconomic problems. He's well read, and without a doubt, he's the kind of guy you could easily sit and listen to for hours on end and not get bored.
    Excellent book, fun, and certainly not difficult to understand.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    • Story

    Huge fan of Michio Kaku!!

    What made the experience of listening to Physics of the Impossible the most enjoyable?

    I love all of the ideas behind the chapters. Deciphering science fiction from fact is something many people cannot do alone, as they do not have physics backgrounds. Professor Kaku gives the listener valuable insight into the world of science and science fiction.

    What other book might you compare Physics of the Impossible to and why?

    His other books are equally amazing.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Everything - this is a must-have for those researching for science fiction writing and for those interested in science.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • RW
    • Clovis, CA
    • 11-23-08

    Outstanding Book. Needs Author as Narrator.

    Narrator does not have passion or understanding of the subject matter. Dr. Kaku's voice would bring both!

    31 of 34 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Fantastic Book! I highly recommend it!

    We are only part way through this book and already love it! It's neither too long nor too scientific. It clearly explains complex ideas in an easy to understand format and it is fun. My children think it's great too! If you want to know more about the impossible get this book!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Kerry
    • Andalusia, AL, USA
    • 06-02-10

    Great book

    The pacing was nice, and the details rampant. If you enjoy learning about complex ideas this is a very good book. It explains things in terms that are interesting and easy to understand.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Great Overview of an Important Subject

    The writting is first rate. The level of detail is appropartae for the layperson or scientist. Goes into therory with enough detail that you understand and can expalin to other. Narrator did a great job. Worth the listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    • Story

    Excellent storytelling AND about Phusics no less..

    Kaku did a great job of compiling many fascinating topics and presents series of thoughts surrounding each topic. He also takes a lot of sci-fi topics or concepts that authors have imagined for years and explains the physics behind the ideas. Kaku places each topic into a category or level of impossibility... those that are not possible yet with our level of understanding but seem probable to those that seem least in this universe.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    • Story

    Goldie Locks science

    Where does Physics of the Impossible rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book ranks on a shelf by itself. I enjoyed the way Dr. Kaku explains difficult subjects in an everyday understandable fashion.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This question doesn't really apply so I will just say. I really enjoyed the way the author explained common science fiction topics such as artificial intelligence and time travel from a point of view that accepts their possible eventuality.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked the section describing nano technology.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This book doesn't work like that but I did get a real sense of hope for an interesting future for man kind.

    Any additional comments?

    I've seen Dr. Kaku many times on T.V. And know his voice well. The narrator often inflected his speech identical to that of the author. I just found that to be a curiosity.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    • Thomas
    • Plano, TX, United States
    • 10-11-12

    Kaku the Optimist!

    I've always loved Michio Kaku's writings. He is such an optimist when it comes to humanity's future, but he isn't afraid to also spell out what is physically impossible. That is what this book does. He divides up levels of impossibility, based on an understanding of what future technologies could - and probably will - bring. In this he discussed abstract functions like time traveling and warping spacetime.

    All in all, if you are a curious scientist, an interested science enthusiast, or even just someone questioning our future, give this audiobook a listen. I certainly would recommend it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Benjamin
    • Santa Monica, CA, United States
    • 01-12-10

    Excellent Read!!!

    Insightful, engaging, fun, and fascinating. This book illicits vivid images from the imagination and then confirms their veracity (some more so than others). Though a little technical at times, it hardly take away from the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful