No science fiction novel could match the sheer awe and wonder of the real universe, where strange and mysterious forces move and parallel worlds exist alongside our own. Theoretical physicist and author Michio Kaku serves as a tour guide extraordinaire in Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos, an utterly breathtaking trip through the deepest and darkest reaches of the known, and the unknown, realms of space, time and alternate dimensions.
Kaku has written some widely acclaimed science books such as Hyperspace and Beyond Einstein, but Parallel Worlds has got to be the most jaw-dropping. Chockful of the latest discoveries, theories and concepts of cosmology, theoretical and quantum physics, told with such flair and style and directness that any layperson can comprehend, this book is just as much a gripping page-turner as any Dan Brown thriller or spectacular sci-fi novel, and what makes this book even more special is the fact that Kaku is filling us in on the real deal – the latest research into the universe - what it’s made of, how it works, and why there is a pretty good chance it is only one of many that co-exist on different dimensional planes.
The world of cosmology has seen so much growth and evolution, but none so much as in the last few years, when string theory and M-theory (membrane theory) have given cosmologists and physicists a new brand of excitement revolving around finding the Holy Grail of their fields – a unified theory of “everything.” Kaku explains the basic history of cosmology, talks about the key players and who discovered what, when and how, and then brings us right into present day, with our foremost astronomers, physicists and scientists seeking ways to test the theory of the multiverse. Yes, you read it right. MULTI-verse, as in multitudes of universes that exist alongside our own but in different dimensions unseen by the human eye. New experiments involving quantum particles tell a different story, though, and point to the possibilities of teleportation, inter-dimensional travel, contact with other universes, numerous and ongoing Big Bangs, and all kinds of other amazing theories that long ago made up the stuff of sci-fi fiction and film.
Kaku is such a wonderful and personable writer, you almost forget this guy is a brilliant scientist with a razor-sharp mind. This is undoubtedly one of the first books on this subject matter I’ve read (and I have read many) that I found myself fully understanding, and not once did I have to go back and re-read a page three times in order to “get it.” Obviously, some basic knowledge of quantum physics may make “Parallel Worlds” even more compelling, but it isn’t a requirement for coming on board the most thrilling ride through the universe available in book form.
Most exciting of all are the chapters hinting at discoveries to come in the near future, with new technologies and satellites bringing us one step closer to the outermost reaches of space, and our imaginations. But there are also warnings, for the Universe cannot exist forever, and the mere idea that our distant relatives may have to one day leave Earth and shuttle off to a parallel universe is mind-boggling. Kaku makes the whole experience a blast, and no one I know could possibly read this book without ending up with the same result as I did – a mouth open wide in the “Wow!” position, and a mind opened even wider at the sheer wonder and potential of what lies beyond the solar system we call home.