Questions for Kaku?

Michio Kaku, physicist, author, and nearly omnipresent TV science dude, is speaking at the U of M bookstore today.  I am thinking about going to hear him talk (presumably about his new book, The Physics of the Impossible).  I am not sure that there is a Q&A session accompanying the talk, but if you have any good questions that I should ask, let me know in the comments.

Kaku’s book Hyperspace was one of the first physics books that I read as a kid, after Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.  I don’t remember a whole lot about what he wrote about, but I know that it piqued my interest in physics, and got me wondering about higher dimensions, so in that sense it was an important book in my life.  I haven’t read it in years, and I never read any of his other books.

I have started to notice Kaku popping up a lot on TV science programs a lot lately, saying what appears to be some outlandish stuff, or at least giving a lot of credence to ideas that are not as accepted as he makes them sound.  Of course, a lot of a scientist’s intent can be molded by the producers and editors of the shows, so it would be unfair to judge him based solely on that.  But throw in a snide comment or two on various physics blogs, and I have to start to wonder about this man who helped draw me in to physics.  Is he a kook who’s on the fringes of the physics community?  Or is he just a little more willing to push the boundaries and fudge the successes of certain theories in order to reach out to a larger popular audience?

I’m hoping to skim a little bit of Hyperspace tomorrow before the talk, and see if I can form an opinion from there.

Please feel free to share your opinions and your questions in the comments.


2 Responses to “Questions for Kaku?”

  1. 1 Tim April 22, 2009 at 6:42 AM

    I agree that he’s pushing popular ideas a bit too much. A friend of mine once told me about how Kaku, on a TV show, said that if all of the atoms line up just right, you can walk through a wall. I figured this was some kind of tunneling argument and tried to explain the great impossibility of this happening on macroscopic scales. But he wouldn’t believe me because I’m “not smarter than a famous physicist,” he told me.

  2. 2 Lab Rat April 25, 2009 at 2:43 AM

    I had never heard of Kaku! Wow, shows how little I get out of my own little biochem/microbiologist world.

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