Our recent special guest in Streamlink's(1) live chat was theoretical physicist Michio Kaku(2) (pictured) who shared some of his fascinating thoughts in a 75 minute Q & A. Below are excerpts; members can view the entire transcript(3).
Alien-Believer San Jose
Dr. Kaku, do you believe that time travel is possible?
So far, time travel seems to obey all known laws of physics. But the problems are enormous, such as getting huge quantities of energy, and showing that a wormhole is stable. I think time travel is for Type III civilizations, not for us.
You are truly gifted, how do you account for that gift? Something or some way your mom or dad did things?
Personally, I think great scientists are made, rather than born. The ingredients are: 1) Encouragement from parents
2) At age 10 or so, something happens which ignites their interest, such as a chemistry kit or telescope
3) Having a mentor guide them.
4) Having a role model. Of all the hundreds of scientists I have interviewed for my book Visions, about the future, almost all of them fit these requirements.
I recently read an article in National Geographic about the Hubble. It stated that the Hubble may have taken pictures of the big bang. 1) Is that possible, and 2) If the big bang happened would it have been at a certain point, and how do we know which way to look for the light from it???
Actually, the COBE and WMAP satellites have taken baby pictures of the big bang. More precisely, these satellites have photographed the microwave shock wave emanating from the big bang 300,000 or so years after the original explosion. The big bang's radiation comes out every night. If we had microwave eyes, we could actually see the explosion of the big bang illuminating the night sky every night.
Dr. Kaku, if time travel is inevitable, and as you also state immortality will be possible, would it be plausible to assume that our progeny could travel back in time and take every living creature that ever existed back to an immortal feature. Sort of like a scientific version of heaven.
Personally, I believe in the many worlds interpretation of the quantum theory, so when you go back in time, the time line splits, and hence you have no paradoxes. Hence, you can, as you suggest, take living creatures back in time. However, they are not immortal. In your own time line, you are mortal. You own clock tells you how old you are, and hence when you might die, even if you travel across time. You age normally, even if you back in time, at least in theory.
Were you happy with your ABC UFO documentary experience?
Yes and no. The documentary did give some interesting observations of UFOs. However, it was very weak on science. It said very little about the theories of interstellar travel, and said very little about the technologies that might be available thousands to millions of years in the future.
Can you explain the warp theory from Star Trek and the probability that we will have it in the future? And is this the best of all the sci-fi genre?
There are two ways to warp space. First, we can stretch space behind the Enterprise and contract space in front, propelling us in the forward direction. Since space can be expanded faster than light speed, this might break the light barrier. Second, there are wormholes, in which you simply take a short cut through the fabric of space, i.e. like the Looking Glass of Alice. You can show mathematically that both are solutions of Einstein's equations if we have large amounts of positive and negative energy.
Positive energy can be created in the form of a black hole. A rotating black hole, in fact, is a doorway connecting two universes. But negative energy is quite exotic. We have seen it in the lab only in very tiny quantities. But if a Type III civilization had enough negative energy, than you might use it to fuel a warp drive machine.
Dr Kaku, Do you think SETI will ever detect a signal?
Not likely. We are looking in the wrong place. Even our e-mails, for example, are compressed and broken up, and then reassembled at the other end. If we were to intercept an e-mail message, it would appear as garbage. Hence, aliens in space might compress their messages and also send it over different frequencies and reassemble it at the other end.
In this case, we would only hear garbage. Hence, the universe might be teaming with signals from aliens, and we are too primitive to notice. Hence, I think the SETI people are well meaning, but woefully inadequate. The key problem is that scientists blindly assume that aliens are just like us, only a few decades ahead. We have to expand our minds, to grasp the possibility that they are millions of years ahead.