PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

by Michio Kaku

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:44 am

From the back cover of Parallel Worlds:

“Kaku employs an amiable style that does much to make the story accessible even for those of us who have trouble telling the difference between superstring theory and Silly String aerosol…Fascinating and sometimes downright boggling.: - Sci Fi Magazine

“Kaku covers a tremendous amount of material…in a clear and lively way.” - Los Angeles Time Book Review



Would you agree with the reviewers' assessments of Kaku’s writing? Did you feel he made difficult material more accessible to the reader?
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:28 pm

I don't think anyone can take quantum physics or the theory of relativity and make it easy. It is difficult subject matter. I do think Kaku did an excellent job of giving analogies that made thing easier to understand. I think he was able to educate in a broad sense of what is going on without requiring us to have a degree to read the book.
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:02 pm

gemini wrote:I don't think anyone can take quantum physics or the theory of relativity and make it easy. It is difficult subject matter. I do think Kaku did an excellent job of giving analogies that made thing easier to understand. I think he was able to educate in a broad sense of what is going on without requiring us to have a degree to read the book.

Totally agree with you, gemini. Just about the time he would start to overwhelm me with facts and particularly figures, then he'd stop and give an analogy that brought the theory back down to earth and made it understandable. One of those "Ah-ha, so that's what he means," moments.

I also liked how he brought the scientists/theorists/dreamers/schemers into the book. He brought a little humanity to the figures and theories.

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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:06 pm

Good answers, gemini and Theresa. I agree with what you have said.

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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby IngridN » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:30 pm

Yes he did make it more accessible but not all the time.
I enjoyed the book and the way he writes and he does cover a looooooot of
material. But it is not an easy book to read :hypnotic:
Sometimes I found it very difficult to form a picture in my mind of his descriptions.

I also think that in some cases he could have explained better for example:
When he talks about the phases of the universe on page 105 he writes
” The inflatory period ended allowing the universe to coast in a standard Friedmann Expansion.” By “ standard Friedmann Expansion” I think he means that, as the universe expanded the density dropped and the expansion rate followed suit, but I could not find any explanation about this theory in the book. :blush:
However he does state that the expansion gradually ended.
I did go back to page 41 but there you only find the explanation about how Friedmann used Einstein’s General Relativity on cosmological predictions for closed, flat and open universes.

There was also a part of the book which I did not like.
Chapter 11 about escaping the Universe and different types of civilizations
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:42 pm

I agree with all that has been said here so far. Dr. Kaku has a very special talent in this regard. I was surprised at how much I could understand. But there were still particular theorems that went right over my head—like String Theory. :perplexed: I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to understand them.
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:47 pm

IngridN wrote:Yes he did make it more accessible but not all the time.
I enjoyed the book and the way he writes and he does cover a looooooot of
material. But it is not an easy book to read :hypnotic:
Sometimes I found it very difficult to form a picture in my mind of his descriptions.

I also think that in some cases he could have explained better for example:
When he talks about the phases of the universe on page 105 he writes
” The inflatory period ended allowing the universe to coast in a standard Friedmann Expansion.” By “ standard Friedmann Expansion” I think he means that, as the universe expanded the density dropped and the expansion rate followed suit, but I could not find any explanation about this theory in the book. :blush:
However he does state that the expansion gradually ended.
I did go back to page 41 but there you only find the explanation about how Friedmann used Einstein’s General Relativity on cosmological predictions for closed, flat and open universes.

There was also a part of the book which I did not like.
Chapter 11 about escaping the Universe and different types of civilizations

IngridN, I felt the same way in a couple of places, but I cannot remember the specific examples. Ch. 11 was one of the ones that went way over my head, in most part. We will be discussing the types of civilizations in a later question.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:18 pm

Theresa wrote:
gemini wrote:I don't think anyone can take quantum physics or the theory of relativity and make it easy. It is difficult subject matter. I do think Kaku did an excellent job of giving analogies that made thing easier to understand. I think he was able to educate in a broad sense of what is going on without requiring us to have a degree to read the book.

Totally agree with you, gemini. Just about the time he would start to overwhelm me with facts and particularly figures, then he'd stop and give an analogy that brought the theory back down to earth and made it understandable. One of those "Ah-ha, so that's what he means," moments.

I also liked how he brought the scientists/theorists/dreamers/schemers into the book. He brought a little humanity to the figures and theories.

Yes Theresa. You bring up one of the things I liked best but forgot to mention and that was how he introduced us to all the students of the cosmos that invented each step that ties into todays theories. He gave each of them enough history to make them intertesting and I wanted to know more about their lives. Like some of you mentioned I get into the human aspect of these great thinkers.
Last edited by gemini on Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:30 pm

Liz wrote:
IngridN wrote:Yes he did make it more accessible but not all the time.
I enjoyed the book and the way he writes and he does cover a looooooot of
material. But it is not an easy book to read :hypnotic:
Sometimes I found it very difficult to form a picture in my mind of his descriptions.

I also think that in some cases he could have explained better for example:
When he talks about the phases of the universe on page 105 he writes
” The inflatory period ended allowing the universe to coast in a standard Friedmann Expansion.” By “ standard Friedmann Expansion” I think he means that, as the universe expanded the density dropped and the expansion rate followed suit, but I could not find any explanation about this theory in the book. :blush:
However he does state that the expansion gradually ended.
I did go back to page 41 but there you only find the explanation about how Friedmann used Einstein’s General Relativity on cosmological predictions for closed, flat and open universes.

There was also a part of the book which I did not like.
Chapter 11 about escaping the Universe and different types of civilizations

IngridN, I felt the same way in a couple of places, but I cannot remember the specific examples. Ch. 11 was one of the ones that went way over my head, in most part. We will be discussing the types of civilizations in a later question.


You bring up a good point that a lot of this book is really over the average person's head. I tried taking notes and truly understanding each theory at the beginning of the book but as it got more complicated I gave up on complete understanding and tried to keep up with the general ideas. Even some of those were beyond my ability to grasp but I did get a lot more knowledge of the differences between the main theories than I understood before. I do get your point IngrigN, that if you try to get every detail in your head this book can be overwhelming. I do still have to credit Kaku for writing this for the laymen and trying to bring this information to everyone.
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:02 pm

This is really the first book I have ever attempted on this subject matter so I really can't compare his writing to anything else. I was rather daunted by the subject matter to begin with but I did find I could at least grasp the main concepts though certainly not the details. I did watch the dvd, Parallell Universes, first which helped me grasp the bigger picture on a few things. Like you all I enjoyed reading about the history of cosmology and the amazing brains behind the science. His analogies were a great help to me and I think he has a talent for making it all much more understandable to those of us who are only familiarSilly String! :lol:
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Re: PW Question #3 ~ Kaku's Writing

Unread postby Liz » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:30 am

I have to say that even though I didn't get it all, I found it fascinating and wanted to keep reading. I didn't feel that way when I read Cold Mountain. I gave up after page 40.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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