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Famed Physicist Michio Kaku Speaks at Commencement

May 6, 2011

To Address Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Kaku Speaker

 

Rose-Hulman is proud to announce Dr. Michio Kaku, world-renowned theoretical physicist, futurist, popularizer of science, and best-selling author, as the 2011 Commencement speaker for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's 133rd commencement on May 28.

Dr. Kaku's most recent book, Physics of the Future, currently on the New York Times bestsellers list, examines how science will shape human destiny and people's daily lives by the Year 2100.  He is a co-founder of string field theory and continues Einstein's search for a "Theory of Everything" seeking to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory.

"The Class of 2011 will join a proud tradition of Rose-Hulman alumni solving today's most challenging problems in technology, medicine, business and social services.  Dr. Michio Kaku is one of the world's most influential scientists of our time and he will be addressing the most talented graduates in the history of Rose-Hulman," said President Matt Branam.

Dr. Kaku graduated at the head of his class at Harvard University in 1968.  He is the host of the radio weekly programs, Science Fantastic and Explorations in Science, has hosted numerous documentaries, including the British Broadcasting Corporation's recent series on time, and he has been featured in documentaries like Me & Isaac Newton.  He has written for popular science publications, including Discover, Wired and New Scientist.

 

After Harvard, Dr. Kaku went on to earn a Ph.D. in 1972 from the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.  He now holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York.  He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Other best-selling books by Dr. Kaku have been Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century and Beyond (1999), Physics of the Impossible (2008), Parallel Worlds (2006), Einstein's Cosmos (2005), Beyond Einstein (1995) and Hyperspace (1995).

The physicist whose theoretical talents have helped contribute string field theory to our body of recent scientific knowledge devotes much of his time to popularizing the concepts of physics, and he says he's often asked why doesn't he spend less time proselytizing and more time doing science. In one of his many televised appearances, Kaku explained that the cancellation of the American super collider told him that physicists had better "sing for their supper."

Kaku Visions
Kaku 250

When Kaku writes about the technologies of the future, he discusses the possibilities before the backdrop of the science-fiction stories he loved growing up, Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, etc. For example, in his book Physics of the Impossible, he divides technologies we might consider impossible into 3 classes. Among the imminently possible technologies (he calls these "Class I") are everything from robots to anti-matter, including force fields, invisibility, "light sabers" and "ray guns" (but for the want of a power pack). His second category of physical possibilities could be thousands of years away, like parallel universes and time travel. In class III, technologies that defy the known laws of physics, Kaku includes only perpetual motion machines and precognition.

Part of Kaku's unique popularity as a physicist/writer may stem from the fact that his explanations focus not on why technologies are impossible today, but on how impossible technologies could become real in the future.

From all his appearances (see below), Kaku seems to enjoy discussing the implications of theoretical physics, and he can present it to the popular audience without daunting math formulas. Instead, he uses analogy and metaphor drawn from the current tangible world, often centering on technologies rooted in physics research that have become part of daily life.

"We could be in the middle of an
intergalactic conversation and we wouldn't
even know it."-- Michio Kaku on SETI/alien life

Learn more about Dr. Kaku at http://mkaku.org.