Sci-Fi Science is a show on Discovery Science hosted by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku,
about how ideas once seen as science fiction are becoming possible through
Actually, as you’ll come to see as you watch it, modern science is still way off from acheiving the kind of things Kaku talks about here. He sounds convinced himself, but his solutions are often impossible, unappealing, or highly impractical. However, the show does at least discuss, in great detail, the challenges and possibilites with bringing these
sci-fi ideas to fruition, explaining what’s needed and letting you know how close modern science is (if at all) to acheiving these things.
For the above reason, I find this show helpful more as a tool for science fiction writing than as a forecast of future science reality. If I have an understanding of what scientists are saying is needed in order to acheive invisibility, teleportation, space travel, etc., and they let me know how close reality has already come (and what modern science predicts is possible) then as a writer it’s simply a matter of filling in the gaps with my own sci-fi elements. The closer the science fiction is to science reality, the more believable it will be to the reader.
One day as I was thinking in detail about the physics of invisibility I realized a problem that I had never heard anyone discuss before, and had to come up with a solution of my own. It wasn’t long after this that I came across a Sci-Fi Science episode that addressed the same problem and presented me with a similar solution. It was then that I knew this show was worth keeping an eye on.
Now that I’ve given plausible reasons why I watch it, it’s time to talk about where the show goes south.
At the beginning of every episode Kaku tells you what he’s thinking of making, and then briefly goes over what he thinks he’ll need to make it work, followed inevitably by “Who better to ask than the sci-fi fans”, which leads him to comic book conventions where he
interviews people dressed in anime costumes and asks them science questions. Because
where else will you get insightful tips like “Harry Potter and his friends have the Cloak of Invisibility and they put it on and you can’t see them.”?
I’ll conclude this section by adding that I am myself a Star Wars freak – so I’m not judging.
As a host, Kaku’s personality can be awkward at times. I think most people will find him lovable – he has a very warm, grandfatherly face. But he talks like the kind of grandfather that tries to convince you that he’s into the same stuff that you are by making vague references to Darth Vador and Captain Kirk.
As a scientist, his propositions can be extremely outlandish. He has some brilliant ideas, but I also have to warn you of what you’re getting into if you watch it. After giving it serious thought, he once concluded, “Obviously, creating my own universe isn’t going to work.” So that’s the kind of stuff you can expect to hear from him over the course of an episode.
And as I said before, his solutions to acheiving the various sci-fi goals are often unappealing. His ultimate solution to traveling to a parralel universe involved building a giant atom smasher in our solar system’s asteroid belt, using it to tear a hole in space, and sending into it nanobots carrying Kaku’s genetic code so that the nanobots can reconstruct him on the other side. It’s a one way ticket though – no way of getting back to our universe.
So countless generations from now we can spend all of our resources on a device that for a brief period of time will enable us to send something into another universe so that we can never hear from it again. Isn’t that exciting? 😀
On a humourous note, one week he did How To Prevent Machines From Taking Over The World, and the week after that he did How To Create A Cyborg Army. Judging from his apparent personality type he probably didn’t intend that to be funny – but it was. 🙂
“Aha! I defeated your evil army of killer robots! …Hey, I have an idea!”