Saturday, 28 January 2012

Book #11 Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku

Parallel Worlds

Last year I read Michio Kaku's Physics Of The Impossible in a bid to expand my knowledge around the subject of physics, something which, alongside maths and chemistry was not a particular strong suit for me when I was still in the education system. I enjoyed it so much that I determined that I would eventually get around to another. I've had Parallel Worlds now for some months and eventually got around to it this week.

Parallel Worlds is at once accessible and complicated. It splits into three categories.

1) Historical approaches to theoretical physics and the birth of the universe : Einstein, Big Bang
2) Literary approaches to parallel universes and how this could be possible within string theory
3) What might happen when the universe dies and how human life might survive

The early sections of the book are quite easy to digest as they are mainly historical. I found later discussions on M-Theory and string theory difficult to comprehend, but as is quoted in the book, if you think you've understood quantum mechanics then you probably haven't as it is at the farthest edge of what humans are capable of comprehending.

I came to this book mostly in search of quotes in relation to quantum science  and got what I was looking for in that respect, but, the final third in relation to the possible death of the universe was so beyond my lifetime as to disinterest me a little.

What I did love about this and found rather heartwarming, is that Michio Kaku among others is clearly of the belief that the existence of human life with its frail balance of not just ecosystems upon Earth but within the grand exacting balance of the universe itself, points to some kind of argument of intelligent design. As a spiritual person I liked this a lot, but men of Science and men of faith are seldom one and the same. Kaku is an eminent physicist and like me, sees no reason why the two beliefs cannot coexist.

The book has dated slightly as it was published prior to the advent of the LHC in CERN in Switzerland. Kaku was aware of the approaching advent of the LHC and speaks theoretically of it in this book. I think I would like to read a bang up to date book by him.

Interesting and detailed if often a little overwhelming, Parallel Worlds is a gateway to some serious existential philosophising. I enjoy Kaku's approach and will certainly continue to read his physics books for lay people 8/10

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