Physics of the Impossible A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel by Michio Kaku is a popular science title. The purpose of popular science titles is to entertain the layman or the casual reader about science. It is an interesting genre of nonfiction books.
Michio Kaku like many budding scientists got his inspiration to become a scientist from watching science fiction. He wanted to emulate Professor Zarkov from Flash Gordon. He thinks that many young scientists were inspired by science fiction.
This book covers where science meets science fiction. It is broken down into three sections, the first is those things which look possible in the immediate future, those things which may be possible in the far future, and those which may never be possible. He opens the first chapter with Arthur C. Clarke's three laws:
I. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
II. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
III. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
From this point onward, Michio Kaku pushes the limits of the possible. He discusses many new ideas in science that are pushing the boundaries of what might be true. Things like quantum telephortation, metamaterials, plasma fields, lasers, and other currently possibel ideas are discussed. We get to learn about how man machine interfaces seem like telepathy to some. He also debunks many ideas in the process; everything from telepathy to precognition.
As he moves into the second part of the book, he pushes the absolute limits of possibility. You get to read about the Alcubierre Warp Drive http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
and the Nikolai Kardashev Scale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale . Many interesting subjects like the latest information on searching for extrasolar planets that might be earthlike are covered.
Each chapter is mostly an outline of a specific issue in physics that is related to science fiction. Thus we have a chapter on time travel, faster than light, and alternate universes. This is more of an overview of the subject than a book with a lot of depth. There are not a lot of technical details, it is written for the layman, and it is meant to be entertaining.
If you like hard science fiction or you like to speculate about what is possible in science, this book would be very entertaining. It pushes the limits of reason. I rather liked it.