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Michio Kaku is a renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author, popularizer of science and media personality. He’s the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory). Although once an active physicist, he essentially stopped publishing original research in the early 1990's. Kaku is popular in mainstream media because of his knowledge and his accessible approach to presenting complex subjects in science — as well as his talent for supplying irrational, fear-mongering soundbites. While his technical writings are confined to theoretical physics, his public speaking and media appearances cover a broad range of topics, from the Kardashev scale to more esoteric subjects such as wormholes and time travel.
He also hosts the show Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible (based on his book of the same name) on the Science Channel which debates the likelihood of science fiction tropes coming into reality. In doing so, he displays his ignorance of almost all branches of science outside of physics. He also hosts a public radio show (Exploration) which follows the same lines, with a smattering of geopolitics thrown in.
Though Kaku is a qualified physicist working on reconciling quantum mechanics and relativity through string theory, he tends to be a bit of a crank who, somehow, has managed in recent years to appear as an "expert" on nearly every scientific documentary ranging from cosmology to the environment.
When he isn't deciding what he is an expert on (and it does make one wonder how much time he spends on it), he is busy with his Science of the Impossible aimed at Star Trek fans who want to know how phasers "work," his cameo appearances on random History Channel shows, and the Science Channel series based on one of his woo-istic books (which he flogs heavily on his radio show).
In short, he may be brilliant, but he is embarrassing outside his field of expertise.
In August 2010, during a TV interview, Kaku demonstrated some bad thinking about UFOs. He said that 95% can be easily identified, but the remaining 5% are truly unidentified and "can't be dismissed." He also implied that witnesses in positions of authority are somehow more reliable, which doesn't stand up to scrutiny. He also stated that aliens might come from a different dimension but is more sensible than David Icke generally.
Kaku has a history of rather hysteric anti-nuclear views. In the 90s, he spread myths about plutonium toxicity, and organized protests against the launch of the Cassini probe on the grounds that it was powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator containing plutonium. He predicted dire consequences for launch failure, which obviously didn't happen. These predictions did not take into account the fact that several accidents involving spacecraft carrying nuclear power sources happened in the past and none of them had significant impact.
After the nuclear accident at Fukushima, he joined the fear-mongering. For example, he appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes, where he claimed that the accident would "impact all of humanity" and has "unspeakable consequences," and made a number of other overblown predictions. The program called him a "leading nuclear scientist," although there's almost no connection between his field and nuclear power. He also made blatantly false claims about the core of Chernobyl's Unit 4 core still being molten.
- Physics of the Future (2011) ISBN 978-0-385-53080-4
- Physics of the Impossible (2008) ISBN 978-0-385-52069-0
- Parallel Worlds (2006) ISBN 978-0385509862
- Einstein’s Cosmos (2005) ISBN 0-297-84755-4
- Visions (1999) ISBN 0-19-288018-7
- Beyond Einstein (1995) ISBN 0-19-286196-4
- Hyperspace (1994) ISBN 0-19-286189-1
- Episodes #182 and #451 of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe contains an interview with Michio Kaku, while episode #452 bashes him a little bit
- The Big Think collection of questions for Michio Kaku
- Kaku on INSPIRE-HEP
- According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, a hand phaser contains a sarium krellide power cell. Aren't you glad you asked?
- Michio Kaku: UFOs Are Real, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show
- See for example this thread in the BAUT forum.
- Michio Kaku On Aliens On Physics
- Dr. Michio Kaku's Speech on Cassini
- Fukushima Now Radiating Everyone: 'Unspeakable' Reality 'Will Impact All Of Humanity'
- A perfect lover has no memory: Michio Kaku rant
- Michio Kaku: “The Chernobyl core is still melting into the earth” — May yet hit groundwater and create steam explosion