I am currently reading a book about the impossibilities of physics and I have to say that it is very interesting to read.
First of all it opens you up to all the possibilities of physics created through scientific exploration and advancement. It shatters some light on what you see in sci-fi movies like Star Wars or E.T. in a way that clarifies what is possible and what not.
So it reaches out to the sci-fi possibilities and explains if it possible or not. In the book there are a type 1, 2 and a type 3 impossibility.
A type 1 impossibility is about laserweapons, robots, AI, telerportation, telepathy, psychokinesis and starships.
A type 2 impossibility is about space travel faster than the speed of light, time travel and parallel universes
A type 3 impossibility is about prerecognition, seeing the future.
Most of all it lines up what should be possible in the future but what looks impossible for today.
What I love about this book is that it makes you wonder about extraterrestrials, UFOs, spaceflight, laserbeams, starships, in a way that looks realistic for that he describes the workings of physics which show you if it is possible or not.
Second, it explains some realistic viewpoints on finding extraterrestrial life. He describes the type 1, 2 or 3 civilization which might wander through the universe.
We are a type 0 civilization where we use oil and coal to power our machines. Note that knowadays we also use the sun for power. So we might be closer to a type 1 civilization than when this book was written.
A type 1 civilization is able to manipulate the weather, absorb all the energy from the sun and harness the power of volcanoes.
A type 2 civilization is able to use all the power of the sun which makes them 10.000 times more powerful than a type 1 civilization.
A type 3 civilization is able to move through the galaxy and absorb energy from every star they encounter on. They are 10 billion times more powerful than a type 2 civilization.
So that opens you up to thinking about what is possible and what not.
I think it helps me to find a certain view on what it means to be a civilization and what should be possible in the near future.
Kaku, M. (2009). Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time Travel. Londen: Penguin Adult.