By Chet Yarbrough
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Michio Kaku infers there is an undiscovered Unified Field Theory. Kaku is a theoretical physicist, a graduate of Harvard and U.C. Berkley. Kaku’s Einstein’s Cosmos mingles interesting details of Albert Einstein’s life with Einstein’s unshakable belief that there is a Unified Field Theory that explains everything about everything; i.e. the cosmos’ origin, its deterministic exigencies, and the physical realities of this and other universes. Kaku recounts the incredible insights Einstein gave the world through thought experiments that became experimentally proven truths; truths revealed many years after Einstein postulated the immutable speed of light, the mutable fourth dimension, and mass/energy equivalence.
Kaku notes that scores of physicists, since Einstein’s 1905 equation (), have earned their Nobel Prize by proving Einstein’s theories experimentally correct. Einstein believes the speed of light cannot be equaled or exceeded by any phenomena in the cosmos. Einstein believes time is the fourth dimension of the universe. He theorized time is relative to the speed of light; i.e. as mass approaches the speed of light, time slows down. Einstein believes mass equals energy and that energy conserves itself; i.e. when mass is smashed, it produces energy, with any mass remaining or lost preserving the same amount of energy.
The discovery and experimental validation of quantum theory splits physicists into three factions; i.e. some believe there is a UFT but it is undiscovered; some believe there may be a UFT but it is experimentally unprovable, and some believe there is no UFT and that all life forces and realities are probabilistic rather than deterministic. UFT’ non-believers suggest there are two realities. One reality is the macro and microscopic world, and the other is the sub-atomic world; each with its own Physics’ realities, its own laws.
Einstein’s three thought experiments suggest a Unified Field Theory that opens a Pandora’s Box, a box of knowledge that could destroy the world. Einstein’s thought experiments lead to the creation of the atom bomb. However, the last thing that remains in the myth of Pandora’s box is hope. Einstein’s thought experiments leave the hope for clean, renewable energy; the hope of space exploration and human habitation in other worlds and galaxies, and the hope of a determinable future.
Kaku ends Einstein’s Cosmos with a brief explanation of the current state of Unified Field Theory’ research; i.e. Kaku suggests the most promising research is in string theory; particularly, superstring theory. The belief that a probabilistic and deterministic world can be explained in terms of strings that vibrate and change the nature of reality like a violin changes the sound of a note based on strings that are plucked.
However, like Einstein’s brilliant thought experiments in 1905, the truth of a superstring theory’ is not provable with today’s technology. There is presently no way of observing or measuring strings. They are too small-smaller than a Planck length.
Though Kaku does not mention Lee Smolin, a Harvard educated physicist, some believe string theory is a research dead-end. Kaku’s book shows that the same concerns were raised about Einstein when his thought experiments could not be experimentally proven. And so—“hope” is left in Pandora’s box for discovery of a Unified Field Theory.