possibility. In Physics of the Impossible, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction that are. Second, I want to thank Rotchy Barker, who was my first trading mentor. He took me into his Page How the Turtle W. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. In this latest effort to popularize the sciences, City University of New York professor and media star Kaku.
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“Class I impossibilities” are technologies that are impossible today, but do not . Physics of death stars: Perhaps in hundreds of thousands of years in future. Physics of the future: how science will shape human destiny and our daily .. In Physics of the Impossible, I discussed how the latest discoveries in physics may. Download: Physics of the nvilnephtalyca.tk In countless Star Trek episodes this is the first order that Captain Kirk barks out to the crew, raising.
It is one of the triumphs of twentieth-century science.
In this challenging book, he attempts to examine other options for a theory of the atomic world. Smolin is a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada, and an outspoken critic of the direction his subject has taken over the past four decades. A fount of provocative ideas, he has showcased them in several popular books, including The Trouble with Physics and Time Reborn He is perhaps best known for his rejection of string theory, a widely used framework for fundamental physics that he dismisses as misguided.
It goes right back to square one, introducing quantum mechanics at a level basic enough for high-school science students to grasp. The mathematical structure of quantum mechanics arrived before physicists were able to interpret it, and Smolin gives a clear account of subsequent arguments about the nature of the theory, before finally setting out his own ideas. For me, the book demonstrates that it is best to regard Smolin as a natural philosopher, most interested in reflecting on the fundamental meanings of space, time, reality, existence and related topics.
James Clerk Maxwell, leading nineteenth-century pioneer of the theory of electricity and magnetism, might be described in the same way — he loved to debate philosophical matters with colleagues in a range of disciplines. These enable us, in principle, to predict the future of any particle if we have enough information about it. This view of the world is incompatible with the conventional interpretation of quantum mechanics, in which key features are unpredictability and the role of observers in the outcome of experiments.
This same argument may also be stated in another way as follows. Every movent moves something and moves it with something, either with itself or with something else: e. But it is impossible for that with which a thing is moved to move it without being moved by that which imparts motion by its own agency: on the other hand, if a thing imparts motion by its own agency, it is not necessary that there should be anything else with which it imparts motion, whereas if there is a different thing with which it imparts motion, there must be something that imparts motion not with something else but with itself, or else there will be an infinite series.
If, then, anything is a movent while being itself moved, the series must stop somewhere and not be infinite. Thus, if the stick moves something in virtue of being moved by the hand, the hand moves the stick: and if something else moves with the hand, the hand also is moved by something different from itself. So when motion by means of an instrument is at each stage caused by something different from the instrument, this must always be preceded by something else which imparts motion with itself.
Therefore, if this last movent is in motion and there is nothing else that moves it, it must move itself. So this reasoning also shows that when a thing is moved, if it is not moved immediately by something that moves itself, the series brings us at some time or other to a movent of this kind. And if we consider the matter in yet a third wa Ly we shall get this same result as follows.
If everything that is in motion is moved by something that is in motion, ether this being in motion is an accidental attribute of the movents in question, so that each of them moves something while being itself in motion, but not always because it is itself in motion, or it is not accidental but an essential attribute.
Let us consider the former alternative. If then it is an accidental attribute, it is not necessary that that is in motion should be in motion: and if this is so it is clear that there may be a time when nothing that exists is in motion, since the accidental is not necessary but contingent.
Physics of the Impossible
Now if we assume the existence of a possibility, any conclusion that we thereby reach will not be an impossibility though it may be contrary to fact. But the nonexistence of motion is an impossibility: for we have shown above that there must always be motion.
Moreover, the conclusion to which we have been led is a reasonable one. For there must be three things-the moved, the movent, and the instrument of motion. Now the moved must be in motion, but it need not move anything else: the instrument of motion must both move something else and be itself in motion for it changes together with the moved, with which it is in contact and continuous, as is clear in the case of things that move other things locally, in which case the two things must up to a certain point be in contact : and the movent-that is to say, that which causes motion in such a manner that it is not merely the instrument of motion-must be unmoved.
Now we have visual experience of the last term in this series, namely that which has the capacity of being in motion, but does not contain a motive principle, and also of that which is in motion but is moved by itself and not by anything else: it is reasonable, therefore, not to say necessary, to suppose the existence of the third term also, that which causes motion but is itself unmoved.
So, too, Anaxagoras is right when he says that Mind is impassive and unmixed, since he makes it the principle of motion: for it could cause motion in this sense only by being itself unmoved, and have supreme control only by being unmixed. We will now take the second alternative.
Review: Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku
If the movement is not accidentally but necessarily in motion-so that, if it were not in motion, it would not move anything-then the movent, in so far as it is in motion, must be in motion in one of two ways: it is moved either as that is which is moved with the same kind of motion, or with a different kind-either that which is heating, I mean, is itself in process of becoming hot, that which is making healthy in process of becoming healthy, and that which is causing locomotion in process of locomotion, or else that which is making healthy is, let us say, in process of locomotion, and that which is causing locomotion in process of, say, increase.
But it is evident that this is impossible. For if we adopt the first assumption we have to make it apply within each of the very lowest species into which motion can be divided: e.
Or if we reject this assumption we must say that one kind of motion is derived from another; e. But the series must stop somewhere, since the kinds of motion are limited; and if we say that the process is reversible, and that that which is causing alteration is in process of locomotion, we do no more than if we had said at the outset that that which is causing locomotion is in process of locomotion, and that one who is teaching is in process of being taught: for it is clear that everything that is moved is moved by the movent that is further back in the series as well as by that which immediately moves it: in fact the earlier movent is that which more strictly moves it.
But this is of course impossible: for it involves the consequence that one who is teaching is in process of learning what he is teaching, whereas teaching necessarily implies possessing knowledge, and learning not possessing it. Still more unreasonable is the consequence involved that, since everything that is moved is moved by something that is itself moved by something else, everything that has a capacity for causing motion has as such a corresponding capacity for being moved: i.
It will have the capacity for being thus moved either immediately or through one or more links as it will if, while everything that has a capacity for causing motion has as such a capacity for being moved by something else, the motion that it has the capacity for suffering is not that with which it affects what is next to it, but a motion of a different kind; e.
Now the first alternative is impossible, and the second is fantastic: it is absurd that that which has a capacity for causing alteration should as such necessarily have a capacity, let us say, for increase. It is not necessary, therefore, that that which is moved should always be moved by something else that is itself moved by something else: so there will be an end to the series.
Consequently the first thing that is in motion will derive its motion either from something that is at rest or from itself.
But if there were any need to consider which of the two, that which moves itself or that which is moved by something else, is the cause and principle of motion, every one would decide the former: for that which is itself independently a cause is always prior as a cause to that which is so only in virtue of being itself dependent upon something else that makes it so. We must therefore make a fresh start and consider the question; if a thing moves itself, in what sense and in what manner does it do so?
Now everything that is in motion must be infinitely divisible, for it has been shown already in our general course on Physics, that everything that is essentially in motion is continuous. Now it is impossible that that which moves itself should in its entirety move itself: for then, while being specifically one and indivisible, it would as a Whole both undergo and cause the same locomotion or alteration: thus it would at the same time be both teaching and being taught the same thing , or both restoring to and being restored to the same health.
Moreover, we have established the fact that it is the movable that is moved; and this is potentially, not actually, in motion, but the potential is in process to actuality, and motion is an incomplete actuality of the movable. The movent on the other hand is already in activity: e.
The 11 Greatest Unanswered Questions of Physics
Consequently if a thing can move itself as a whole , the same thing in respect of the same thing may be at the same time both hot and not hot. So, too, in every other case where the movent must be described by the same name in the same sense as the moved. Therefore when a thing moves itself it is one part of it that is the movent and another part that is moved. But it is not self-moving in the sense that each of the two parts is moved by the other part: the following considerations make this evident.
In the first place, if each of the two parts is to move the other, there will be no first movent. If a thing is moved by a series of movents, that which is earlier in the series is more the cause of its being moved than that which comes next, and will be more truly the movent: for we found that there are two kinds of movent, that which is itself moved by something else and that which derives its motion from itself: and that which is further from the thing that is moved is nearer to the principle of motion than that which is intermediate.
In the second place, there is no necessity for the movent part to be moved by anything but itself: so it can only be accidentally that the other part moves it in return.
I take then the possible case of its not moving it: then there will be a part that is moved and a part that is an unmoved movent. In the third place, there is no necessity for the movent to be moved in return: on the contrary the necessity that there should always be motion makes it necessary that there should be some movent that is either unmoved or moved by itself. In the fourth place we should then have a thing undergoing the same motion that it is causing-that which is producing heat, therefore, being heated.
But as a matter of fact that which primarily moves itself cannot contain either a single part that moves itself or a number of parts each of which moves itself. For, if the whole is moved by itself, it must be moved either by some part of itself or as a whole by itself as a whole.
If, then, it is moved in virtue of some part of it being moved by that part itself, it is this part that will be the primary self-movent, since, if this part is separated from the whole, the part will still move itself, but the whole will do so no longer.
If on the other hand the whole is moved by itself as a whole, it must be accidentally that the parts move themselves: and therefore, their self-motion not being necessary, we may take the case of their not being moved by themselves.
Therefore in the whole of the thing we may distinguish that which imparts motion without itself being moved and that which is moved: for only in this way is it possible for a thing to be self-moved. Further, if the whole moves itself we may distinguish in it that which imparts the motion and that which is moved: so while we say that AB is moved by itself, we may also say that it is moved by A.
And since that which imparts motion may be either a thing that is moved by something else or a thing that is unmoved, and that which is moved may be either a thing that imparts motion to something else or a thing that does not, that which moves itself must be composed of something that is unmoved but imparts motion and also of something that is moved but does not necessarily impart motion but may or may not do so.
Thus let A be something that imparts motion but is unmoved, B something that is moved by A and moves G, G something that is moved by B but moves nothing granted that we eventually arrive at G we may take it that there is only one intermediate term, though there may be more.
Then the whole ABG moves itself. But if I take away G, AB will move itself, A imparting motion and B being moved, whereas G will not move itself or in fact be moved at all. Nor again will BG move itself apart from A: for B imparts motion only through being moved by something else, not through being moved by any part of itself.
So only AB moves itself. That which moves itself, therefore, must comprise something that imparts motion but is unmoved and something that is moved but does not necessarily move anything else: and each of these two things, or at any rate one of them, must be in contact with the other. If, then, that which imparts motion is a continuous substance-that which is moved must of course be so-it is clear that it is not through some part of the whole being of such a nature as to be capable of moving itself that the whole moves itself: it moves itself as a whole, both being moved and imparting motion through containing a part that imparts motion and a part that is moved.
It does not impart motion as a whole nor is it moved as a whole: it is A alone that imparts motion and B alone that is moved. It is not true, further, that G is moved by A, which is impossible. Here a difficulty arises: if something is taken away from A supposing that that which imparts motion but is unmoved is a continuous substance , or from B the part that is moved, will the remainder of A continue to impart motion or the remainder of B continue to be moved? If so, it will not be AB primarily that is moved by itself, since, when something is taken away from AB, the remainder of AB will still continue to move itself.
Perhaps we may state the case thus: there is nothing to prevent each of the two parts, or at any rate one of them, that which is moved, being divisible though actually undivided, so that if it is divided it will not continue in the possession of the same capacity: and so there is nothing to prevent self-motion residing primarily in things that are potentially divisible.
From what has been said, then, it is evident that that which primarily imparts motion is unmoved: for, whether the series is closed at once by that which is in motion but moved by something else deriving its motion directly from the first unmoved, or whether the motion is derived from what is in motion but moves itself and stops its own motion, on both suppositions we have the result that in all cases of things being in motion that which primarily imparts motion is unmoved.
Part 6 Since there must always be motion without intermission, there must necessarily be something, one thing or it may be a plurality, that first imparts motion, and this first movent must be unmoved.
Now the question whether each of the things that are unmoved but impart motion is eternal is irrelevant to our present argument: but the following considerations will make it clear that there must necessarily be some such thing, which, while it has the capacity of moving something else, is itself unmoved and exempt from all change, which can affect it neither in an unqualified nor in an accidental sense.
Let us suppose, if any one likes, that in the case of certain things it is possible for them at different times to be and not to be, without any process of becoming and perishing in fact it would seem to be necessary, if a thing that has not parts at one time is and at another time is not, that any such thing should without undergoing any process of change at one time be and at another time not be.
And let us further suppose it possible that some principles that are unmoved but capable of imparting motion at one time are and at another time are not. Even so, this cannot be true of all such principles, since there must clearly be something that causes things that move themselves at one time to be and at another not to be.
For, since nothing that has not parts can be in motion, that which moves itself must as a whole have magnitude, though nothing that we have said makes this necessarily true of every movent. So the fact that some things become and others perish, and that this is so continuously, cannot be caused by any one of those things that, though they are unmoved, do not always exist: nor again can it be caused by any of those which move certain particular things, while others move other things.
Systems Thinking, : Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture
The eternity and continuity of the process cannot be caused either by any one of them singly or by the sum of them, because this causal relation must be eternal and necessary, whereas the sum of these movents is infinite and they do not all exist together. It is clear, then, that though there may be countless instances of the perishing of some principles that are unmoved but impart motion, and though many things that move themselves perish and are succeeded by others that come into being, and though one thing that is unmoved moves one thing while another moves another, nevertheless there is something that comprehends them all, and that as something apart from each one of them, and this it is that is the cause of the fact that some things are and others are not and of the continuous process of change: and this causes the motion of the other movents, while they are the causes of the motion of other things.
Motion, then, being eternal, the first movent, if there is but one, will be eternal also: if there are more than one, there will be a plurality of such eternal movents. We ought, however, to suppose that there is one rather than many, and a finite rather than an infinite number. When the consequences of either assumption are the same, we should always assume that things are finite rather than infinite in number, since in things constituted by nature that which is finite and that which is better ought, if possible, to be present rather than the reverse: and here it is sufficient to assume only one movent, the first of unmoved things, which being eternal will be the principle of motion to everything else.
The following argument also makes it evident that the first movent must be something that is one and eternal. We have shown that there must always be motion. That being so, motion must also be continuous, because what is always is continuous, whereas what is merely in succession is not continuous.
But further, if motion is continuous, it is one: and it is one only if the movent and the moved that constitute it are each of them one, since in the event of a thing's being moved now by one thing and now by another the whole motion will not be continuous but successive. Moreover a conviction that there is a first unmoved something may be reached not only from the foregoing arguments, but also by considering again the principles operative in movents.
Now it is evident that among existing things there are some that are sometimes in motion and sometimes at rest. This fact has served above to make it clear that it is not true either that all things are in motion or that all things are at rest or that some things are always at rest and the remainder always in motion: on this matter proof is supplied by things that fluctuate between the two and have the capacity of being sometimes in motion and sometimes at rest.
The existence of things of this kind is clear to all: but we wish to explain also the nature of each of the other two kinds and show that there are some things that are always unmoved and some things that are always in motion.
In the course of our argument directed to this end we established the fact that everything that is in motion is moved by something, and that the movent is either unmoved or in motion, and that, if it is in motion, it is moved either by itself or by something else and so on throughout the series: and so we proceeded to the position that the first principle that directly causes things that are in motion to be moved is that which moves itself, and the first principle of the whole series is the unmoved.
Further it is evident from actual observation that there are things that have the characteristic of moving themselves, e. This being so, then, the view was suggested that perhaps it may be possible for motion to come to be in a thing without having been in existence at all before, because we see this actually occurring in animals: they are unmoved at one time and then again they are in motion, as it seems.
We must grasp the fact, therefore, that animals move themselves only with one kind of motion, and that this is not strictly originated by them. The cause of it is not derived from the animal itself: it is connected with other natural motions in animals, which they do not experience through their own instrumentality, e. Therefore animals are not always in continuous motion by their own agency: it is something else that moves them, itself being in motion and changing as it comes into relation with each several thing that moves itself.
Moreover in all these self-moving things the first movent and cause of their self-motion is itself moved by itself, though in an accidental sense: that is to say, the body changes its place, so that that which is in the body changes its place also and is a self-movent through its exercise of leverage.
Hence we may confidently conclude that if a thing belongs to the class of unmoved movents that are also themselves moved accidentally, it is impossible that it should cause continuous motion. So the necessity that there should be motion continuously requires that there should be a first movent that is unmoved even accidentally, if, as we have said, there is to be in the world of things an unceasing and undying motion, and the world is to remain permanently self-contained and within the same limits: for if the first principle is permanent, the universe must also be permanent, since it is continuous with the first principle.
We must distinguish, however, between accidental motion of a thing by itself and such motion by something else, the former being confined to perishable things, whereas the latter belongs also to certain first principles of heavenly bodies, of all those, that is to say, that experience more than one locomotion. And further, if there is always something of this nature, a movent that is itself unmoved and eternal, then that which is first moved by it must be eternal.
Indeed this is clear also from the consideration that there would otherwise be no becoming and perishing and no change of any kind in other things, which require something that is in motion to move them: for the motion imparted by the unmoved will always be imparted in the same way and be one and the same, since the unmoved does not itself change in relation to that which is moved by it. But that which is moved by something that, though it is in motion, is moved directly by the unmoved stands in varying relations to the things that it moves, so that the motion that it causes will not be always the same: by reason of the fact that it occupies contrary positions or assumes contrary forms at different times it will produce contrary motions in each several thing that it moves and will cause it to be at one time at rest and at another time in motion.
The foregoing argument, then, has served to clear up the point about which we raised a difficulty at the outset-why is it that instead of all things being either in motion or at rest, or some things being always in motion and the remainder always at rest, there are things that are sometimes in motion and sometimes not? The cause of this is now plain: it is because, while some things are moved by an eternal unmoved movent and are therefore always in motion, other things are moved by a movent that is in motion and changing, so that they too must change.
But the unmoved movent, as has been said, since it remains permanently simple and unvarying and in the same state, will cause motion that is one and simple. Each chapter is named by a possible, or improbable, technology of the future. After a look at the development of today's technology, there is discussion as to how this advanced technology might become a reality. Chapters become somewhat more general towards the end of the book. Some of our present day technologies are explained, and then extrapolated into futuristic applications.
In the future, current technologies are still recognizable, but in a slightly altered form. For example, when discussing force fields of the future, Dr. Kaku writes about cutting edge laser technology , and newly developed plasma windows. These are two of several technologies, which he sees as required for creating a force field.
To create a force field these would be combined in a slightly altered form, such as more precise or more powerful. Furthermore, this discussion on force fields, as well as on the pantheon of highly advanced technologies, remains as true to the original concepts as in how the public generally imagines advanced technologies as possible, while remaining practical.
Kaku writes that since scientists understand the basic laws of physics today they are able to perceive or imagine a basic outline of future technologies that might work.
Kaku writes: Class I Impossibilities are "technologies that are impossible today, but that do not violate the known laws of physics. Shields up! Force fields are vital for surviving any battle in the fictional world, but what exactly are force fields?
In science fiction force fields are very straight forward, but to make a repulsive force does appear impossible to make in a lab. Gravity appears in the four force list in Kaku's book. Gravity acts as the exact opposite of a force field, but has many similar properties.
The whole planet keeps us standing on the ground and we cannot counter the force by jumping. A future technology that may be seen within a lifetime is a new advanced stealth technology. This is a Class I Impossibility. In , Duke University and Imperial College were able to bend microwaves around an object so that it would appear invisible in the microwave range. Downstream the water has converged in such a way that there is no evidence of a boulder upstream.
Likewise, the microwaves converge in such a way that, to an observer from any direction, there is no evidence of an object. In , two groups, one at Caltech and the other at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology , were able to bend red light and blue-green of the visible spectrum. This made the object appear invisible in the red and blue green light range. However, this was only at the microscopic level. Teleportation is a class I impossibility, in that it does not violate the laws of physics, and could possibly exist on the time scale of a century.
In , researchers first teleported information at the quantum level . As of information can be teleported from Atom A to Atom B, for example.
But this is nothing like beaming Captain Kirk down to a planet and back. In order to do that, a person would have to be dissolved atom by atom then rematerialized at the other end. On the scale of a decade, it will probably be possible to teleport the first molecule, and maybe even a virus. Such a technology is time travel.We will now take the second alternative. Any such evidence would also help validate theories that seek to find a common description of three of the four natural forces—electromagnetism, strong force, and weak force.
After all, although quantum mechanics might not satisfy the philosophically minded, it has proved to be a completely dependable tool for physicists — even those who have no interest in debates about its interpretation. Was there ever a becoming of motion before which it had no being, and is it perishing again so as to leave nothing in motion?
Whenever power is drained from the force fields, the Enterprise suffers more and more damaging blows to its hull, until finally surrender is inevitable. We have now to take the assertion that all things are sometimes at rest and sometimes in motion and to confront it with the arguments previously advanced. He has written numerous research articles on topics ranging from meteor physics, Martian meteories, stellar structure and evolution, cosmology, the history of science and mathematical number theory.
On the scale of a decade, it will probably be possible to teleport the first molecule, and maybe even a virus. If, therefore, there must always be motion, there must also always be locomotion as the primary motion, and, if there is a primary as distinguished from a secondary form of locomotion, it must be the primary form.
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