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Imagined abilities now real, Kaku tells Stambaugh crowd

Published: Fri, March 21, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.


Physicist Michio Kaku poses with YSU student Dan Gallo of Hubbard before speaking to a group of students Thursday afternoon at Stambaugh Auditorium. Kaku also spoke Thursday evening to an audience at the historic North Side auditorium.


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Advancements in technology are enabling us to use our brains in ways once seen only in movies, says world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku.

For instance, he said,

researchers at Johns Hokpins University have been able to outfit a man with an artificial arm that can function like a real arm. And thanks to

researchers from Brown University, a paralyzed woman also has a robotic arm that

allows her to perform tasks such as drinking from a glass.

Acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking and others who are paralyzed are able to type on a computer by the use of a computer chip in their brain, which translates their thoughts to the computer screen. A dime-sized chip is placed on the brain to enable that to happen, Kaku told a packed crowd Thursday night at Stambaugh Auditorium.

When asked if that hurts, Kaku said the brain does not feel pain.

“The brain has no pain sensors,” Kaku said.

“It is the most complex object in the known universe,” he said.

Physics and computers have taught us more about the brain within the last five to 10 years than ever before, he said. And that knowledge is beginning to bring formerly only imagined abilities to reality.

Technology now exists to map the brain and even detect if someone is lying or telling the truth by the amount of activity inside the brain.

“You can see thoughts ricocheting around like a ping-pong ball in the living room,” he said.

In the talk laced with as much humor as science, the author and frequent television guest spoke as part of Youngstown State University’s Skeggs Lecture Series. He is a regular guest on “CBS This Morning” and other television shows, has hosted science programs on the BBC and the Discovery Channel and has written several books, including “The Future Of The Mind,” released in February and now a New York Times best seller.

Earlier Thursday, Kaku, the Henry Semat Chair in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York, spoke to a group of Youngstown State University students, telling them while his high-school classmates were spending Christmas break shopping and caroling, he was building an atom smasher in his mother’s garage.

“It blew out all of the fuses in the house,” he said.

Kaku decided he wanted to be a scientist when he was 8. His elementary-school teacher came into the classroom, telling students that the greatest scientist had just died.

“It changed my life,” he said.

He remembers a photograph of the scientist’s desk in the newspaper with an unfinished manuscript. That scientist was Albert Einstein, and the unfinished manuscript was “the theory of everything.” Kaku made it his pursuit to complete that theory.

“It was an equation one-inch long and it was reading the mind of God,” he said.

Kaku is co-founder of string-field theory, a major branch of string theory, which is the leading candidate today for the theory of everything.

String theory is almost science fiction, he said. It sees 11 dimensions.

“Only in other dimensions do we have enough room to unify all forces of nature,” he said.

Kaku referred to the discovery this week proving the universe expanded immediately after the Big Bang.

“Our universe is a bubble, and the bubble is expanding,” he said. “The new wrinkle in all of this is there could be other universes.”


1lovethiscity(147 comments)posted 6 months ago

Kudos to YSU for bringing the greatest physicist of our time to Youngstown. The placed was packed!

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2lovethiscity(147 comments)posted 6 months ago

I'm not sure who is worse. People like you who characterize our region as a "depressing cesspool" or the Tea Party.

Get out of the house much, Jeff?

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3MLC75(529 comments)posted 6 months ago

@jeff,if the area is such a cesspool,where are you here ?Jeff tell your mom,to let you out of the basement,sunshine will do you good.

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4walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 6 months ago

“It was an equation one-inch long and it was reading the mind of God,” he said.

While I find Kaku very intelligent and interesting, his arrogance knows no bounds. A Vulcan mind-meld with the Creator may actually cause his head to explode, a la "Scanners". ANd, as with Einstein, he too will one day die and meet the Creator.

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5lovethiscity(147 comments)posted 6 months ago

300...I don't attack agnosticism or atheism as stupid. They are belief sets that any one is entitled to hold without criticism for doing so. I suggest you do the same when it comes to a person's religion.

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6walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 6 months ago

I never mentioned any religion nor did I use "God" in my post. It was Kaku that used the term "God". By logic, he must, therefore, believe in God, as do I. He is the one that believes that God's mind can be read. Now, would it not make sense that if God can create the universe and something so complex as the human brain, he would also not make some sort of shield around his mind so that it could not be read? I believe Mr. Spock had such an shield but I may be wrong. I would think it would be easier to read the mind of a simpleton.

Now, as for the Big bang Theory (the actual theory, not the hilarious TV sitcom), it must have been truly big. But, what exactly exploded? What existed before the Big Bang? OK, here is another question. Let's surmise that the universe did begin with the Big Bang and this bubble is expanding. Into what is the universe actual expanding? Some large cosmic milk jug? Or, maybe it is just a donut that keeps going round and round (not a cream stick or a bismark). Or, maybe it does fold over like a taco and it will touch again. And, if he thinks that there may be other "universes" out there, he needs to call them something else because the universe is "it" in all totality! At least on this earth.

Man's arrogance is astounding! To attempt to quantify God and his creation, using some finite equation derived from a finite mind to explain the infinite is pure folly. We still haven't figured out the exact ratio for the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Nor have we cured the common cold which is truly God's "check" on our arrogance. While such conjecture about our existence and the universe can be fun, it will never be solved and we will all die.

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7qz4k5y77(8 comments)posted 6 months ago

Boardman_Jeff -

Jesus loves you man!

God bless.

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876Ytown(1242 comments)posted 6 months ago

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine"

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