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Dr. Kaku, The Science Salesman

First, let me say one thing about The Winter Park Institute: they have done a great job of bringing in excellent guest speakers, whom I have enjoyed greatly. Dr. Donald C. Johanson and Dr. Jane Goodall have been two of my favorites so far. I was bummed about the cancellations of Elie Wiesel and especially Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson who once said, “If you removed all the arteries, veins, and capillaries from a person’s body, and tied them end-to-end…the person will die.” I have never had the chance to see Dr. Tyson give a lecture and was inspired to see him. However, The Winter Park Institute did an awesome job inviting someone of equal greatness to take Tyson’s place: Michio Kaku.

Dr. Kaku is my absolute favorite scientist (who is alive)–Carl Sagan being my all time favorite. Yes, I am guilty of liking rock star scientists who can market themselves well. I have read almost all of Dr. Kaku’s books; Hyperspace, Parallel Worlds, and Visions. I even have a picture of us on my desk from when I met him for the first time last year.

Despite all of this, last night–that is, Sept. 12th–I was slightly bored. Yes, bored…. and not because of the guest being Michio Kaku, but because of Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku would have been my unquestioningly favorite guest, but repetition burst that bubble. I saw Dr. Kaku last year in May at Valencia State College East. Surprisingly, he gave the same lecture with the same PowerPoint, all the way down to each joke and even the “enter your school name here” line. The only thing different about the presentation was the short video about the future of hospitals that did not even work! What’s up with that Dr. Kaku!?! I guess I will wait until he releases a new book to see him again.

[information]For more photos of this event, view our gallery. Also explore one reporter’s exclusive interview with Dr. Kaku.[/information]

For those of you who have seen him before, you obviously didn’t miss anything. But for the rest of you, here’s a short recap. In last night’s address to Rollins, Dr. Kaku discussed the future of the next twenty years–a topic he covers in his most recent book, Physics of the Future. Dr. Kaku explained the scientific concepts to the non-scientific community in a way that was vivid and kept the audience engaged. He helped develop the String Theory (which later evolved into the M-Theory) that attempts to combine all the forces in the laws of physics–Einstein’s unfinished work. Einstein could not accept the micro-analysis of randomness. Consequently, the String Theory is still trying to iron out the wrinkles of the micro to macro dilemma while attempting to combine the final forces of quantum mechanics with general relativity into a one-dimensional vibrating string existing in thirteen dimensions of twelve spatial and one of time. Doesn’t sound too hard.

Sometimes I wonder if these rock star scientists become so involved with marketing themselves that they stop participating in the science beyond its promotion. Did Dr. Kaku hit a wall–much like Einstein did in his final days–and now promotes what he accomplished before? Either way, Dr. Kaku has done a great service to all of humanity, pushing the boundaries of knowledge, and for that I thank him…even if he pulled a fast one on Rollins.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.

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