three-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
16-May-June-2005
By: 
Michio Kaku
user_rating: 
0

A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos

A-ParallelWorldsParallel Worlds poses a most provoking idea: that we’re not the only universe around. Another (or millions of others) may exist parallel to our own in "hyperspace," sitting just millimeters away in 11 dimensions—a realm far beyond our own four dimensions. Drawing on M-theory (the newest iteration of string theory, which may be the "theory of everything" or turn out to be the theory of nothing), Kaku raises the prospect that these universes "may eventually collide, as they perhaps did during the Big Bang. In the event of such collision, our universe and everything in it would be annihilated. Quantum physics, string theory, general relativity, time travel, "white holes," quarks, and a potential "big freeze"—they’re all in Kaku’s ambitious, cutting-edge book. And there’s no escape—except to another universe.
Doubleday. 428 pages. $27.95. ISBN: 0385509863

Detroit Free Press 4 of 5 Stars
"Kaku is more like a professor who’s been assigned to teach Cosmology for Poets and decides—rightly—that he’s going to have to take it very slowly and emphasize history over math if he doesn’t want to lose his audience. … Just persevere, and earn your reward in Part III, in which Kaku considers some possible sci-fi outgrowths of multiple universes." Marta Salij

Science News 3.5 of 5 Stars
"While outlining such mind-bending ideas, Kaku answers questions a novice might ask, such as how long a light-year is. But he also summarizes cutting-edge astronomy to inform readers of all levels of scientific expertise."

Los Angeles Times 3 of 5 Stars
"I particularly enjoyed the various detours into science fiction. … However, the volume of material and the numerous side roads mean that readers need a certain level of patience to get to the meatier elements of the book..." Simon Singh [Author of Big Bang]

San Antonio Exp-News 3 of 5 Stars
"In Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku, another genius (in high school he built a working particle accelerator in his garage), updates us on this science and speculates about the future of our universe." Jerald Winakur

Kansas City Star 2.5 of 5 Stars
"Beginning science-minded readers will give up, and intermediary readers will plow through. Expert readers will find this a collation of theories with which they’re familiar." Robert Folsom

Critical Summary

Kaku (Hyperspace) teaches theoretical physics at City University of New York. Sound daunting? It is—considering he deals with recent satellite data suggesting that mysterious dark energy makes up nearly three-quarters of the universe. Parallel Worlds, which meshes Kaku’s interests in physics and futurology, asks hair-raising questions: Do higher dimensions exist? Can black holes bend time? And if our universe is dying, will we be able to jump ship to another? Kaku runs through the recent history of cosmology, from Newton to Einstein, and introduces his own theories. He writes clearly, and a good glossary helps. But with many digressions and complex concepts, most readers will need some help. A few critics recommended starting with Brian Greene’s Fabric of the Cosmos ( 4 of 5 Stars May/June 2004), a snappier, though still difficult, book. Or, just go to superstringtheory.com. That’ll clear it right up.