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tv   [untitled]    April 15, 2011 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT

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her. oh i'm sorry washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture it's friday which means it's conversations with great knots i'm joined by professor michio kaku a theoretical physicist and bestselling author will discuss everything from string theory to one of the worst nuclear disasters in history back here at home republican paul ryan's anti medicare budget proposal passed in the house today
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right down the street makes its way to the sun and has no chance to pass that's just the tip of the iceberg of what we discuss in tonight's weekly rumble and if one of our apology and fathers is probably rolling in his grave right now given what the koch brothers are doing to our country it's a nice feeling take i'll tell you why thomas jefferson said of rich people or corporations ever became powerful enough to influence congress it could deal a death blow to the future of the united states of america. for tonight's conversations the great minds i'm joined by a brilliant physicist new york times bestselling author a man who can explain the most complex scientific problems and ways the rest of us can understand not only is he a professor of theoretical physics at the city university of new york he's also the
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host of the t.v. show sayf ice science physics of the impossible on the science channel as well as the host of two radio programs broadcast on over one hundred forty stations his current work is focused on finishing einstein's project of creating a unified theory to explain how everything works in the universe. and he is the co-founder of something called string field theory which we'll get into later his latest book is called physics of the future a science will shape human destiny and our daily lives whether you're twenty one hundred pleased to welcome from los angeles a man on the cutting edge of science after me. but your cock a welcome. glad to be on the show thank you very much i'm very very glad to have you with us i understand that when you were eight years old you had an epiphany that started you on this path. that's right some people remember the instant that princess diana died i remember the instant when albert einstein by it was in all the newspapers everyone was talking about the fact that he could not finish his
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greatest work it was to be the theory of everything an equation one inch long which would allow was to quote read the mind of god one theory which would describe everything from the big bang formation of the stars the galaxy people maybe even love and i said to myself that's for me that's what i want to finish a unified field theory. with string theory my recollection it's been some years of american action is that the the original objection or problem with it was and that it required tend to mention all multiverse or universe. if if you can translate that into english and tell us how you've solved that or how close you may be to that. fascinated by curious. string theory we think is yet it is the leading and only candidate for a theory of everything it says that everything we see around us is nothing but
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little tiny vibrating rubber bands and when they vibrate in one mode it's an electron when you playing it and it vibrates in another mode it turns into a neutrino or a cork or any of the thousands of subatomic particles we see so physics is nothing but the harmonies you can write on these tiny vibrating rubber bands chemistry is nothing but the melodies you can play on these interacting strings the universe is a symphony of strings and the mind of god that albert einstein wrote about would be cosmic music cosmic music resonating through ten baby levon dimensional hyperspace so you can imagine how controversial it is people were saying this is star trek. a multi-verse of universe that's right and now we have the large hadron collider outside you gave us was a lead that hopefully will test this theory maybe there are other universes and
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other dimensions. maybe here the. a friend of mine who started out in physics and ended up in metaphysics. suggested matter essentially you know that i as an einstein equals mc squared that the amount of energy in matter is is you know math and is the speed of light squared and times the mass and and that if you could then define that energy and look at the most subtle particle of energy that at that level the universe would be solid or at least would be filled and that that most subtle energy might be something that we could describe as raw of consciousness you use the word love just a moment ago is that anything close to what you were talking about. well in the sense that we think the tiniest bit of space time that tiniest bit of matter is
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cried by vibrating strings strings make music and the music of these strings is the it perfectly with the realization that all of the particles we see in nature are nothing but different notes out of vibrating string and now the picture coming out of string theory you mention the multi-verse that picture is that we have a bubble we live on the skin of this bubble said einstein and the bubble is expanding that's the big bang theory the new wrinkle in all of this is that we think there are other bubbles out there other bubbles and when these bubbles collide they form larger bubbles that's called the big splash theory or these bubbles can pinch trough so we have a bubble bath of universes and that we think is where the big bang came from the big bang came from we think bubbles colliding with other bubbles bubbles visioning in half just like what you see in
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a bubble about that is the multi-verse of universes and we started out by your opinion at the age of eight i understand also as a as a child you wanted to build a particle accelerator in your parents' garage and and that your parents had been interned in the concentration camps that roosevelt had put together through world war two how how has all of that shaped your world view. yeah it's true my parents were in a relocation can from one nine hundred forty two to nine hundred forty six but i was in the sputnik age the age when people said yes it's your duty to become a scientist and i was swept up by all that so when i was in high school i built an atom smasher a two point three million electron gold-beater trying to accelerate or that i built in my mom's garage so one day i had my mom mom can i have permission to build an
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atom smasher in the garage and she said sure why not go because if they got the garbage well it weighed four hundred pounds they contained twenty two miles of copper wire it consumes six kilobytes of power every time i turned it on i blew out every single circuit breaker in the house and my poor mom every time the lights went out she would say where is the fuse box and then she would say why couldn't i have a son who plays basketball and he did baseball and for god's sake why can't i find a nice chap and his girlfriend well hey i can't complain because the accelerator got me into harvard in fact when i was in high school my editor smasher earned the attention of a comic i've been a comic business has called edward teller he's the father of the hydrogen bomb he took me under his wing and he arranged for me to get a scholarship to harvard and that set me off chasing after einstein's theory of everything. you talk about how politics is important in your new
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book physics of the future there's. actually there's there's a whole bunch of things in here i'd love to talk to you. but but just in general and i know you've i've i've heard you tell the story before about explaining physics to politicians in the context of religion. can you can share that story with us and why in your mind politics as a theoretical physicist politics is. well in one thousand nine hundred three we were going to build the largest particle accelerator the largest ad mismeasure of all time much bigger than the large hadron collider ingenious with alone because actually a piece were the big what was called the super collider it was to be built outside dallas texas costing a leavened billion dollars but then in the last day of hearings because the cost
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overruns one congressman said now wait a minute will we find glide with your machine if so then i'll go for it off the porpoises did know what the say how are we going to find god with the super collider so he said we're going to find the higgs goes on well you could hear the jaws hit the floor of the united states congress a leavened billion dollars for another guy darn subatomic particle they took a vote and the machine was cancelled so ever since then we've businesses have been asking the question how should we have answered that question will we find god with your machine i would have answered it differently i would have said god i will never sign for symbols you ascribe to the deity this machine the supercollider will take us as close as humanly possible to his greatest creation genesis this is the genesis machine it will celebrate the greatest event in the history of the
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universe its birth unfortunately we said higgs goes on and our machine was cancelled and now a smaller version is going to geneva switzerland well and could you explain what's going to go what's going on in switzerland at the large hadron collider why that might be important for the rest of us and what is eads poser. well we have all these subatomic particles that we get by smashing atoms we smash apart protons we get quarks they get powers of subatomic particles and so we have a jigsaw puzzle this one piece missing in this case our puzzle and that's the higgs goes on that we hope to find with the large hadron collider we see string theory says that this jigsaw puzzle of particles is nothing but the lowest octave there's a higher octave the next octave of the string is called dark matter and dark matter we fake makes up most of the universe dark matter we think is ten times more
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plentiful than ordinary matter so every high school chemistry textbook is wrong every textbook says the universe is made out of adam's period end of story that's what the universe is made out of atoms we know realize that's wrong only four percent of the universe is made of atoms twenty three percent is made out of an invisible substance called dark matter which holds the galaxy together and invisible form of batter and beyond that seventy three percent of the universe is dark energy the energy of the big bang the energy that's driving the universe and making it expand so we're now beginning to realize that we are children we are children in terms of trying to understand the fundamental nature of reality but strength theory gives us a comprehensive theory that would explain dark matter as a higher vibration and dark energy as the energy of nothing can i ask you to be
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jane's usher in the modern context of four hundred years later when did it all begin. we think that thirteen point seven billion years ago there was this explosion of the universe libration from that explosion are still with us today we have photographed that radiation still circulating around the universe and by golly it looks like an explosion and exposure in the microwave region and in fact if you want to hear that explosion night get a radio tuned between two frequencies and you heard that static right and a large portion of that static comes from the big bang so believe it or not the snow the static that you see in a t.v. set that white noise you hear on a radio a good fraction of that comes from genesis itself so we know that the big bang took place thirteen point seven billion years ago but then the question is what happened
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before the big bang but einstein's theory breaks down at that point einstein's theory is useless we have to go to work theory beyond einstein and that we've bank his strength pirie and his string theory we have this picture of of bubbles bubbles popping into existence bubbles colliding with other bubbles a multiverse of universes and so this means that our universe may not be alone and the large hadron collider will be enough to perhaps probe the fifth dimension is so we're hoping that the larger and collider one thess up to speed starting next year will be a particle enough to probe the fifth dimension and this will be the reconciliation of the quantum quantum theory which in a very small and relativity very large which are mathematically in some ways you're irreconcilable. that's right in my book hyperspace parallel worlds and also my
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latest book physics for the future i write that we have two great paradigms in physics mother nature has a left hand and a right hand the left hand is relativity the theory of the very big black holes big bangs quasars relativity then on the other hand we hear the theory of the very small atomic physics lasers subatomic particles atom smashers these two theories eighty each other they have different mathematics different position principles they do not like each other at all and they need to attempt to try to put them together makes them explode we get nonsense only string theory has the capability of putting these two theories together like two pieces in a jigsaw puzzle we now realize that music is the paradigm that can combine the very big with a very small the music of strings professor had to take
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a short break afterwards i'd like to get into a conversation with you about what just happened in japan and nuclear power you wrote about it in your in your new book the physics of the future how science will show you can destiny in our daily lives by the year twenty one hundred coming up more in just a few minutes more with professor misha kaku as we continue our conversations with great minds. for. folks. you know sometimes to see
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a story and it seems so. you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you should hear see some of the part of it and realized everything you saw. i'm sorry because we. are back with more conversations with a great minds i'm joined by the theoretical physicist at the city university of new york professor issue co-founder of string field theory and author of numerous books including his most recent physics of the future science will shape human destiny and our daily lives by the year twenty one hundred dr kaku you in your book i'm looking at page two nineteen here you have it which begins a rather lengthy discussion of nuclear fission and you know the different ways that
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you two thirty eight is separated from due to thirty five years and what not we have just seen in japan the consequence. i guess for the third arguably for the third time in a big way of our experimentation with. what some would suggest is something beyond our our ability to deal with what's what is your take on what has happened at. we have to realize that when engineers plan for the future they very rarely plan for the once in a century of them it's not going to happen in their lifetime it's not going to happen in their children's lifetime but hey sometimes it happens even if you don't plan for it look at katrina that hurricane that devastated new orleans was not supposed to happen for one hundred years and if you go back a thousand years we had almost the identical tsunami and earthquake that ravaged
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northern japan but that was a thousand years ago better the great fog erupts every thousand years so it's that once in a century event which century will that fog line erupt wealth around that reactor they had a fifteen foot war that could take most to could care of most tsunamis but the wave that came in was forty five feet tall completely overwhelmed all the safety systems and the generators were put in the basement i can't think of anything more stupid than to put the generators of a nuclear power plant in the basement where they can get flooded immediately and that's what happened so i think of driving a car and driving a car all the sudden it spins out of control and your brakes don't work that's what happened in the opening minutes of that accident and then your radiator heats up and your radiator explodes that's the hydrogen gas explosion which took place four
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times and put daiichi site then you find out that your gas tank is about to explode that's the meltdown so what do you do if you drive your car into a river and that's what stopped the accident in the nick of time they put seawater seawater from the pacific ocean and dump it right into the reactor preventing three simultaneous meltdowns in the nick of time they did it right before it was about to expire. glowed into three gigantic meltdowns and that's where we are today a crippled nuclear power plant it's stable all in the sense that a time bomb is also stable a small earthquake a pipe break could set it off because it's just hanging there by your fingernails so imagine being on a cliff and hanging like your fingernails and one by one your fingernails start to crack that's a situation at the reactor right now it's stable but only if they can keep enough
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seawater in fresh water over the course a small earthquake could upset this entire scenario one of my best friends lives in tokyo his one of his kids and it's not suppose here in the united states but the rest is that his other daughter is in tokyo with him and his wife and and we've been corresponding ever since this happened in japan they refer to as three eleven the way we refer to nine eleven and my friend tells me that the media has been fairly reassuring and you know don't be so concerned and and tokyo is a long way away from from. fukushima depending on how you would say. are the citizens of tokyo safe and for that matter what will the consequence of this enormous amount of radiation that not only is going to the atmosphere but in particular into the ocean which is it seems to be the basis of much of our food
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chain most of what it what is this consequence going to be. will tokyo is one hundred fifty miles from the site the danger zone is out to perhaps fifty miles to the people of tokyo are at present relatively safe however take a look at the consequence of that accident the workers the workers at that site are like somewhere i worriers they know that many of them are not going to make it out alive because the radiation fields are lethal but the. managers the utility managers are incompetent i could this mental image of homer simpson operating a nuclear power plant totally overwhelmed by what is happening there we have contamination in the food the vegetable in the milk in the area around the reactor in the water is a million times higher than the legal limit inside the water this is a negative going to spread especially because they're dumping tens of thousands of
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gallons of radioactive water right into the pacific ocean and remember it's not stable they hope to stabilize it perhaps later this year but if they have to evacuate because of a secondary earthquake another pipe rate more radiation release if they have to evacuate from that site then the acid in his in freefall the only thing preventing a meltdown right now are the firemen the firemen shooting hose water into the reactors this is not in any nuclear physics textbook this is the it means that they're literally making it up as they go along you know textbook says that in case of an accident you call the local fire department and shoot hose water into a reactor which is in a partial meltdown state they're literally making it up as they go along sadly enough we are witnessing a science experiment and we are the guinea pigs what would you say to president
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obama who has traditionally supported nuclear power if if you were to ask your opinion of the future of energy and the future of nuclear energy in united states in particular. what's your pan has made the five bargain founds was this mythical figure who sold his soul to the double for unlimited power japan has no oil it has no call it has very little hydro power is thrown the dice spoused that is. unlimited energy the only price is your soul and the united states now is undergoing a national debate about whether or not we should also undergo a file skin bargain unlimited power the only prices your soul there's a new generation of reactors coming down the line they're called pebble bed gas coal reactors they are safer than the design used in japan that this
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sign is forty years old by the way the new design is safer in fact during the meltdown they claim that you can even go out to dinner go out to dinner take in a show and then take care of the meltdown but the bottom line is they melt and that's something that we have to take into consideration when i was in high school my advisor was edward teller father of the hydrogen bomb he was pro-nuclear but he was fond of saying that nuclear energy is so dangerous it does not belong on the surface of the earth it belongs underground and if they had built that reactor underground that all they would have to do is put a manhole cover on it and walk away from it that's the fascia in bargain my advisor edward teller clearly knew the dangers of nuclear power which could be handled if you take precautions like putting them underground unfortunately no one heeded his
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advice and so we have tragedies like what's emerging in japan today and obama has to confront this problem now in the united states what is the future of energy in in in the united states around the world i mean we've got this giant nuclear reactor ninety three million miles away from us seems like we should be making some use a verb. well yes the sun is a nuclear power plant it is ninety three or so million miles away some people think it's the only safe nuclear power plant precisely because it is ninety three million miles away but look at it this way thoughtful fuel prices are erratic but on general are going up but solar hydrogen renewables efficiency that curve is going down right now solar is about twice as expensive as fossil fuels but because costs of solar hydrogen are going down and the cost of fossil fuels are going up in about ten years they will intersect at that point market forces come into play and market
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forces will begin to mass produce solar tax credits will bring down the cost and make it competitive so in a ten years' time frame even without nuclear energy we will be entering a solar hydrogen era and then beyond back in my book physics for the future i mentioned that fusion power begins to open up in a twenty year time frame the french are building a gigantic fusion reactor which only operates on seawater we're talking about a reactor that produces no nuclear waste like what we have ensure pan helium gas is the only waste product and it has commercially valuable and russia the united states japan korea and the european union are backing the french reactor called the i p r if it is successful then in twenty years time we could be entering the solar fusion era independent of oil coal or even uranium
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we have about two minutes left professor and your your book physics of the future cover so much territory and artificial intelligence medicine nanotechnology energy space travel what in your mind is the most important message you'd like to leave with our viewers about your new book physics and ensure. let me just make a few predictions there are hundreds of predictions i make in the book based on interviews with three hundred of the world's top scientists first of all the internet will be sochi it will be inside your contact lens you will blink and you will go online your contact lens will recognize people spaces identify who they are print out the biography in your contact lens and if they speak chinese to you it will translate to chinese into english russian or whatever as they speak this is going to revolutionize the way we interact with reality once our contact lenses are
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fully intelligent and have the internet on them also when we do in a car cars will drive themselves google is investing millions of dollars through created c.p.s. guided car a robotic car that drives itself without you ever touching the steering wheel and later perhaps by mid century when you interact with computers you'll do it mentally through the mind the mind is a radio transmitter computers can now decipher the outlines of our thoughts and so by putting on a little helmet or an earpiece we'll be able to mentally control computers in our environment move things around just like in the science fiction novels in other words we will have the power of a greek god the ability to think and have our wishes come true extraordinary professor me chicago thank you so much for.


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