Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku
  • Born: January 24, 1947
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Physicist









Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science (science communicator). He is a professor of theoretical physics in the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. Kaku has written several books about physics and related topics, has made frequent appearances on radio, television, and film, and writes online blogs and articles. He has written four New York Times best sellers: Physics of the Impossible (2008), Physics of the Future (2011), The Future of the Mind (2014). Kaku has hosted several TV specials for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the Science Channel.

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A force field is basically an invisible shield. You push a button and all of a sudden a bubble forms around you which is impenetrable. It can stop bullets, it can stop ray gun blasts and we realized force fields are actually a little bit difficult to create.
Aging is basically the build-up of error: error at the genetic level, error at the cellular level. Cells normally repair themselves; that's why you heal when you get a cut. But even the mechanism of repair eventually falls apart.
Already from your own cells scientists can grow skin, cartilage, noses, blood vessels, bladders and windpipes. In the future, scientists will grow more complex organs, like livers and kidneys. The phrase 'organ failure' will disappear. Future ;Failure
Anything that promotes a kernel of science, even though it's exaggerated and hyped by Hollywood, I think is a step forward. We in the ivory tower ultimately have to realize that in some sense we have to sing for our supper. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Cancer is like the common cold; there are so many different types. In the future we'll still have cancer, but we'll detect it very, very early, so that it won't kill anybody. We'll zap it at the molecular level decades before it grows into a tumor. Future
Chemistry is the melodies you can play on vibrating strings.
Climate change is the 800-pound gorilla in the living room that the media dances around. But in the scientific community, it's a settled question: 95 percent of scientists believe this is happening with 100 percent confidence temperatures are rising.
Consciousness, there are about 20,000 papers on consciousness with no consensus. Nowhere in history have so many people devoted so much time to produce so little. Time ;History
Consciousness-one level is understanding where we are in space. Consciousness two is where we understand our position in society: who's top dog, who's underdog and who's in the middle. And type-three consciousness is simulating the future. And type-three consciousness, only humans have this ability to see far into the future. Society ;Future
Even if we mortgage the next 100 years of generations of human beings, we would not have enough energy to build a Death Star. Death
First of all, the Big Bang wasn't very big. Second of all, there was no bang. Third, Big Bang Theory doesn't tell you what banged, when it banged, how it banged. It just said it did bang. So the Big Bang theory in some sense is a total misnomer.
For bedtime reading, I usually curl up with a good monograph on quantum physics or string theory, my specialty. But since I was a child, I have been fascinated by science fiction. My all-time favorite is 'The Foundation Trilogy,' by Isaac Asimov. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
For relaxation, I like to figure skate. Being on the ice and spinning and jumping, I feel very close to nature. In particular, I feel very close to Newton's laws of motion. On the ice, you can experience Newton's laws of motion in their purest, most elegant form. Nature
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. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
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.
Growing new organs of the body as they wear out, extending the human lifespan? What's not to like?
Having a super-brain does not suddenly make you a dictator of the world. So we don't have to fear the scenarios of science fiction where the Lex Luthors of the world take over. People with exceptional ability, they don't become politicians; they don't become multi-millionaires; some of them just become professors like me, making a measly income. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Humans are natural-born scientists. When we're born, we want to know why the stars shine. We want to know why the sun rises.
I am a futurist, projecting trends in science into the next decades and century, but ironically my two daughters - one is a neuroscientist and the other is a pastry chef - tell me that my taste in music is positively prehistoric. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I believe that science is the engine of prosperity, that if you look around at the wealth of civilization today, it's the wealth that comes from science. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I believe we exist in a multiverse of universes.
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. Women
I get paid to do what I love. If you understand physics, the foundation of the atomic theory and relativity, you understand how the future is going to unfold. You understand what things are not possible. You understand why things work. I get paid to do what I love the most, and that is to work on the Unified Field Theory and to see the future. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Future ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I have nothing against investment banking, but it's like massaging money rather than creating money. Money, Coins & Minting
I have nothing against investment banking, but it's like massaging money rather than creating money. If you're in physics, you create inventions, you create lasers, you create transistors, computers, GPS. Money, Coins & Minting ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I like to engage the public because when I was in high school, I had all these questions about anti-matter, higher dimensions and time travel. Every time I went to the library, every time I asked people these questions, I would get some strange looks. Nobody could answer any of these questions. Time ;Travel
I realized very early in life what my abilities and limitations were, and foreign languages was definitely one of my limitations. With strenuous effort, I just barely passed my French class at Harvard so I could graduate. Life
I think Newton would be the greatest scientist who ever lived.
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. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I used to watch the old 'Flash Gordon' series on TV, and it was thrilling to rocket to the planet Mongo every week. But after a while, I figured out that although Flash got the girl and all the accolades, it was really Dr. Zarkov who made the series work. Without Dr. Zarkov, there could be no Flash Gordon. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I vowed to myself that when I grew up and became a theoretical physicist, in addition to doing research, I would write books that I would have liked to have read as a child. So whenever I write, I imagine myself, as a youth, reading my books, being thrilled by the incredible advances being made in physics and science. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
If a Martian came down to Earth and watched television, he'd come to conclusion that all the world's society is based on Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. He'd be amazed that our society hasn't collapsed. Society
If I wasn't a professional scientist, I'd be an amateur scientist. But plan B was to go into computers. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
If you want to see a black hole tonight, tonight just look in the direction of Sagittarius, the constellation. That's the center of the Milky Way Galaxy and there's a raging black hole at the very center of that constellation that holds the galaxy together.
I'm a physicist, and we have something called Moore's Law, which says computer power doubles every 18 months. So every Christmas, we more or less assume that our toys and appliances are more or less twice as powerful as the previous Christmas. Power
I'm not a science fiction writer, I'm a physicist. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
In 2025, don't be surprised if a Chinese flag is placed on the moon.
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. Time ;Travel
In science, nothing is ever 100% proven. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
In string theory, all particles are vibrations on a tiny rubber band; physics is the harmonies on the string; chemistry is the melodies we play on vibrating strings; the universe is a symphony of strings, and the 'Mind of God' is cosmic music resonating in 11-dimensional hyperspace. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Religion & God
In the 1950s, we had all these B-grade science-fiction movies. The point was to scare the public and get them to buy popcorn. No attempt was made to create movies that were somewhat inherent to the truth. Truth ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
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. Future
In the future, I can imagine that we will genetically modify ourselves using the genes that have doubled our life span since we were chimpanzees. Life ;Future
In the future, you'll simply jump into your car, turn on the Internet, turn on a movie and sit back and relax and turn on the automatic pilot, and the car will drive itself. Future
It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.
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.
It's pointless to have a nice clean desk, because it means you're not doing anything.
It's very dangerous to put astronauts on a moon base where there's radiation, solar flares and micro meteorites. It'd be much better to put robots on the moon and have them mentally connected to astronauts on the Earth.
Leaders in China and India realize that science and technology lead to success and wealth. But many countries in the West graduate students into the unemployment line by teaching skills that were necessary to live in 1950. Success ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
My point is, no one can stop the Internet. No one can stop that march. It doesn't mean that it's going to be smooth, though.
No matter how beautiful the theory, one irritating fact can dismiss the entire formulism, so it has to be proven.
No one knows when a robot will approach human intelligence, but I suspect it will be late in the 21st century. Will they be dangerous? Possibly. So I suggest we put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they have murderous thoughts.
No one knows who wrote the laws of physics or where they come from. Science is based on testable, reproducible evidence, and so far we cannot test the universe before the Big Bang. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Now, we used to think the brain was like a computer. But now, we realize that's not true. There's no programming of the brain. There's no Windows. And we think the brain is more like a large corporation. Because think of the unconscious mind. In a corporation, you have subdivisions which operate independently of the main office.
One day I went up to my mom and I said, 'Mom, can I have permission to build a 2.3-million electron-volt atom smasher - a betatron - in the garage?' And my mom stared at me, and she said, 'Sure. Why not? And don't forget to take out the garbage.'
One day when I was 8 years old, everyone was talking in hushed tones about a great scientist that had just died. His name was Albert Einstein.
One in 200 stars has habitable Earth-like planets surrounding it - in the galaxy, half a billion stars have Earth-like planets going around them - that's huge, half a billion. So when we look at the night sky, it makes sense that someone is looking back at us.
One problem with politics is that it is a zero sum game, i.e. politicians argue how to cut the pie smaller and smaller, by reshuffling pieces of the pie. I think this is destructive. Instead, we should be creating a bigger pie, i.e. funding the science that is the source of all our prosperity. Science is not a zero sum game. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Originally, the burden of proof was on physicists to prove that time travel was possible. Now the burden of proof is on physicists to prove there must be a law forbidding time travel. Time ;Travel
Our astronauts, when they go orbiting around the earth, they actually come back slightly younger than a twin that they would have on the planet Earth who was stationary. This is called the twin paradox.
Our grandkids will lead the lives of the gods of mythology. Zeus could think and move objects around. We'll have that power. Venus had a perfect, timeless body. We'll have that, too. Pegasus was a flying horse. We'll be able to modify life in the future. Life ;Future ;Power
Physics is often stranger than science fiction, and I think science fiction takes its cues from physics: higher dimensions, wormholes, the warping of space and time, stuff like that. Time ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Remember the movie 'The Matrix,' where virtual information popped up to help inform physical day-to-day reality? Such things won't always be the stuff of Hollywood. If the Internet is accessible via contact lenses, biographies will appear next to the faces of the people we talk to, and we will see subtitles if they speak a foreign language.
Science fiction without the science just becomes, you know, sword and sorcery, basically stories about heroism and not much more. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Science is definitely part of America's infrastructure, the engine of prosperity. And yet science is given almost no visibility in the media. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
So often, science fiction helps to get young people interested in science. That's why I don't mind talking about science fiction. It has a real role to play: to seize the imagination. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Some advice: keep the flame of curiosity and wonderment alive, even when studying for boring exams. That is the well from which we scientists draw our nourishment and energy. And also, learn the math. Math is the language of nature, so we have to learn this language. Nature
Some people are a little bit afraid about the future because they see all these gadgets and gizmos coming down the pike and they think they're too old to learn all this new stuff. But eventually they begin to realize, 'Hey, some of this stuff is useful.' Future
Sooner or later, we will face a catastrophic threat from space. Of all the possible threats, only a gigantic asteroid hit can destroy the entire planet. If we prepare now, we better our odds of survival. The dinosaurs never knew what hit them.
Technologies that may be realized in centuries or millennium include: warp drive, traveling faster than the speed of light, parallel universes; are there other parallel dimensions and parallel realities? Time travel that we mentioned and going to the stars. Time ;Travel
The energy necessary to create a wormhole or to wrap time into nuts is incredible. It's not for us. It's maybe for our descendants who have mastered the energy of this technology. So if one day, somebody knocks on your door and claims to be your great great great great granddaughter, don't slam the door. Time ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.
The job market of the future will consist of those jobs that robots cannot perform. Our blue-collar work is pattern recognition, making sense of what you see. Gardeners will still have jobs because every garden is different. The same goes for construction workers. The losers are white-collar workers, low-level accountants, brokers, and agents. Future ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The media, of course, loves to make claims about the fountain of youth. Don't believe it. No one has it. But we're getting close.
The river of time may fork into rivers, in which case you have a parallel reality and so then you can become a time traveler and not have to worry about causing a time paradox. Time
The universe is a symphony of strings, and the mind of God that Einstein eloquently wrote about for thirty years would be cosmic music resonating through eleven-dimensional hyper space. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Religion & God
There's no reason why we cannot become smarter, more perfect, and maybe even live longer.
Time travel and teleportation will have to wait. It may take centuries to master these technology. But within the coming decades, we will understand dark matter, perhaps test string theory, find planets which can harbor life, and maybe have Brain 2.0, i.e. our consciousness on a disk which will survive even after we die. Life ;Time ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
To a physicist, we have the 'I' word, the I-word is 'impossible.' That's dangerous.
We can summarize electricity, magnetism and gravity into equations one inch long, and that's the power of field theory. And so I said to myself: I will create a field theory of strings. And when I did it one day, it was incredible, realizing that on a sheet of paper I can write down an equation which summarized almost all physical knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Power
We do spend too much time on the telephone, and you know something? We love it. Time ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
We have to realize that science is a double-edged sword. One edge of the sword can cut against poverty, illness, disease and give us more democracies, and democracies never war with other democracies, but the other side of the sword could give us nuclear proliferation, biogerms and even forces of darkness. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;War & Peace
We need a theory that goes before the Big Bang, and that's String Theory. String Theory says that perhaps two universes collided to create our universe, or maybe our universe is butted from another universe leaving an umbilical cord. Well, that umbilical cord is called a wormhole.
We physicists don't like to admit it, but some of us are closet science fiction fans. We hate to admit it because it sounds undignified. But when we were children, that's when we got interested in science, for a lot of us. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
We're in 'Jurassic Park' territory. If we go to the zoo in the future, we'll have zoos for extinct animals. Future
What we usually consider as impossible are simply engineering problems... there's no law of physics preventing them.
When I get bored, or get stuck on an equation, I like to go ice skating, but it makes you forget your problem. Then you can tackle the problem with a fresh new insight. Einstein liked to play the violin to relax. Every physicist likes to have a past time. Mine is ice skating. Time
When I was 16 years old, I assembled a 2.3 million electron volt beta particle accelerator. I went to Westinghouse, I got 400 pounds of translator steel, 22 miles of copper wire, and I assembled a 6-kilowatt, 2.3 million electron accelerator in the garage.
When I was a child, it was cool to be a scientist.
When we're born, we want to know why the stars shine. We want to know why the sun rises.
When you come up with a theory, you fall in love with the beauty the simplicity and elegance of it. But then you have to get a sheet of paper and pencil and crack out all the details. Hundreds and hundreds of pages. Because you have to prove it. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
When you look at the calculation, it's amazing that every time you try to prove or disprove time travel, you've pushed Einstein's theory to the very limits where quantum effects must dominate. That's telling us that you really need a theory of everything to resolve this question. And the only candidate is string theory. Time ;Travel
Years ago, I picked up figure skating. How hard could spins and jumps be, I thought? It's just applied Newtonian physics. After repeatedly falling on my rear end, I realized it was harder than I thought. But it had an upside. That is how I met my wife, who was ice dancing at the Rockefeller Center ice rink.
You can mass-produce hardware; you cannot mass-produce software - you cannot mass-produce the human mind.
You cannot create new science unless you realize where the old science leaves off and new science begins, and science fiction forces us to confront this. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
You have to have a cultural ethic that allows for making mistakes. It cannot be that just because you make mistakes, you're out. You have to make mistakes in order to innovate.
You see, I'm also a futurist. I dream about the world 50, 100, maybe even 1,000 years in the future. But I also realize I'm probably not going to see it. However, I wouldn't mind having at least a copy of myself see the future, maybe 50, 100, 1,000 years into the future. It would be a fantastic ride. Future