cover image The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Michio Kaku. Doubleday, $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-54274-6

CUNY physics professor Kaku (The Future of Humanity: Our Destiny in the Universe) shines light on a theory that could “unravel the deepest mysteries of space and time” in this riveting work of popular science. Kaku’s focus is on string theory, which proposes that “the universe was not made of point particles but of tiny vibrating strings, with each note corresponding to a subatomic particle.” The theory, the author writes, offers answers to questions about time travel, wormholes, and parallel universes. Kaku provides a history of string theory, which “emerged accidentally” after a chance rediscovery of an 18th-century mathematician’s work in 1968, and breaks down the centuries-long quest for a definitive explanation of how all cosmic forces operate, including the discovery of atoms in ancient Greece, Newton’s work that proved symmetry is “one of our most powerful tools in unifying all forces of nature,” and Einstein’s discovery of general relativity. Kaku lauds string theory for having “seized the imagination of the world’s top scientists,” but still gives fair credit to pushback against it: “The most glaring problem is that, for all the press extolling the beauty and complexity of this theory, we have no solid, testable evidence.” Kaku’s expertise at making mind-bending concepts comprehensible makes this a real intellectual eye-opener. (Apr.)