Michio Kaku Explains the Physics Behind Absolutely Everything

“It’s turtles all the way down,” a possibly apocryphal old lady once said as a way of fully explaining her concept of the world supported on the back of a giant tortoise. But according to City University of New York’s Michio Kaku, it’s physics all the way down. He shares this highly educated assumption with, presumably, everyone in his field of theoretical physics, and if you’ve got 42 minutes, he’ll tell you why the subject’s explanatory power has compelled him and so many others to dedicate their lives to it. In “The Universe in a Nutshell,” the lecture embedded above, Kaku tells of the origins of modern physics, breaks down how it has clarified to humanity so many of the mechanisms of existence, and reminds us of both the countless technological advances it has already made possible and the infinitude of them it will in the future. To our fellow humans just a few generations back, he says, we, with our advanced communication devices and our ability to watch slickly produced, high-resolution lectures on demand, would look like wizards; our grandchildren, enjoying yet more benefits from physics, would look like gods.

This video comes to you free from Big Think, though as a production it originates from the associated venture Floating University, which sells access to lectures on a variety of subjects, from physics to demography to linguistics to aesthetics. Given all the useful information technology now so widely available — thanks in part to discoveries in, yes, physics — a particularly fruitful time has come for projects meant to reinvent education. Floating University considers itself to be “democratizing education,” and the demand certainly seems fervent. “Why can’t school be like this?” writes one YouTube commenter. “I don’t want homework, I don’t want a binder with dividers, I don’t want to be bored to death with worksheets. I just want to LEARN.” This, of course, started arguments. But that’s democracy for you.

Please note, oodles of Free Physics Courses – including ones by Richard Feynman, Leonard Susskind, Sean Carroll, and Walter Lewin — can be found in our collection of 500 Free Online Courses.

Related content:

Learning Physics Through Free Courses

Modern Physics: A Complete Introduction

Einstein in 60 Seconds (or 40 Hours)

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.



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by | Permalink | Comments (12) |

  • Kathleen Vernacchio

    Thank you for sharing this. It was very enjoyable.

  • preethi

    very useful link….

  • Derek

    Michio Kaku is one of my absolute favorite physicists. I could listen to him on anything.

  • Joe Andrews

    Re Global Warming – and I apologize in advance if you find my following comments laughable, I recently read in “Scientific American” that it is theorized that our section of our galaxy may be passing through an area of “clumped” dark matter, and a detection system based on strands of DNA is being planned to detect the matter. If dark matter can clump, is it not also possible that dark energy can clump? And if it can, how do we know that global warming is not being caused by a pass through a clump to dark energy, and not by the burning of fossil fuels? I am aware that current theory regarding particle physics states that dark matter, and I believe also dark energy, comprises particles, WIMPS, that do not interact easily with “solid” atoms. Therefore with no interaction there theoretically can be no heat. But is it possible that a reaction could occur that current physics cannot account for. Thank you for reading, and don’t choke on your bagel from laughing.

  • Russ Mason

    Tom Campbell is way, way ahead of Michio Kaku. Check out Campbell’s YouTube videos, or get his My Big TOE (Theory of Everything) books. Kaku is indeed wonderful at self-promotion, however.

  • Rue Caliber

    what is with the words at the bottom?
    they start out being what he is saying,
    and then it starts to lag behind.
    and then near the end it turns into a story about time travel,
    but it is too fast to read unless you pause it.

    odd.

  • Rupert Brook

    Call me cynical if you like but a theory of everything is simply just that; a theory.It does n’t even matter if you can prove it because proof lies in satisfaction and satisfaction lies too.All that physics has given the world is yet another way to make misery for the many and pleasure for the few.
    Such a great waste of time! If all that the people of this world can do is make misery then all they deserve is an eternity of misery too.Save your pity for those they harm and not for the Physicists.
    They are nothing in the scheme of things and never will be.
    ‘If a man knoweth anthing he knoweth nothing , yet as he ought to know.
    The gathering of endless knowledge is mere vanity.

  • Jason

    In response to Joe Andrews, the problem with your hypothesis is this. There is considerable measurable evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming. That’s not to say that there couldn’t be another cause, but as Occam’s Razor states, science prefers the simplest explanation.

  • steven

    loved this…reignited my interest, despite the fact i’m not in this field, it’s always been of interest and the way this video portrayed was very well done

  • steven

    geez brooke, give it a rest…downer…the discovery of why things are they are is the single best adventure that can be given to humanity…even if the answer isn’t found the process is well spent and better than many ways people choose to live their lives…

  • steven

    *the way they are

  • Tigger123456

    How do you get rid of all the garbage on the screen?

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