The Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies hosted theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku as the guest speaker for spring commencement in Hanner Fieldhouse. Kaku is an internationally recognized authority on physics and a New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible and Physics of the Future.

Kaku is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York, and has hosted several TV specials for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and the Science Channel.

As the co-founder of string field theory, Kaku is continuing Albert Einstein’s dream of completing the unified field theory — an equation that will summarize all of the physical laws of the universe. Ascension magazine discussed Kaku’s entry into the scientific world and what scientific discoveries the future holds.

AM: What was the beginning of your interest in science?

MK: “When I was a high school student in California, I built an atom smasher in my family’s garage for a science fair project. Every time I turned it on, I would blow out the circuit breakers. My poor mother always wondered why she couldn’t have a son who played basketball.”

AM: Who influenced your career?

MK: “My career started when I met Edward Teller — the father of the hydrogen bomb — at a national science fair. I was a kid with dreams and didn’t have a clue as to how I could realize these dreams. Dr. Teller helped me get a scholarship to Harvard University (the Hertz Engineering Scholarship).”

AM: What has been one of the secrets of your success?

MK: “I believe one key to success is to have a role model. Find someone you admire and find out why that person became successful. When I was young, I had two role models: Albert Einstein and Dr. Zarkov from the “Flash Gordon” series. When Einstein died I said, ‘That’s it for me. I want to help finish the theory of everything.’

“In Flash Gordon, Dr. Zarkov made the series work. He invented the starship and power weapons. After all, physics is at the root of the future. If you understand physics, you understand cities in the sky, ray guns and rocket ships. Physics is really the foundation for MRI machines, radar and transistors.

“My goal is to impart some of that excitement to students today. I want them to appreciate science and technology.”

AM: What is important for people to know about science?

MK: “Some people don’t like science because they feel that it is drudgery. A lot of people think that science is memorizing the parts of a flower, but science is actually based upon a handful of principles. This is what needs to be stressed to young people — not trivial details in a book. Personally, I want to know how far you can push science until it completely falls apart.”

AM: What are some technologies that will be developed within the next several years?

MK: “Science and technology have created many wonders and luxuries, and the world is becoming more technological. We invented the laser, we wrote the World Wide Web, we invented the television, microwaves and radar.

“In some of my work with the Discovery Channel, we took a film crew into the scientists’ labs to show viewers the technology of the future. We were able to give viewers an understanding of what is going to happen in the next 10, 20, 30 or even 50 years.

“In the future, people will be able to control computers with tiny brain sensors. We will be able to blink and go online…our glasses and contact lenses will be connected to the Internet. We will have driverless cars due to the power of the GPS system and robotic body parts. Computers will completely disappear — they will be everywhere and nowhere, like electricity.

“In fact, IBM is pioneering the technology of a robot doctor to reduce the cost of medical care, and in the future, patients will be able to talk to their doctor right in the wallpaper. Several universities are experimenting with this technology, and in approximately five years, we will have intelligent wallpaper. We can already grow noses, ears, skin, bone and the first bladder was grown four years ago. However, we will have the ability to grow other human organs, such as livers and kidneys, and this will revolutionize medicine.”

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