In his recently published book, THE GOD EQUATION, theoretical physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku takes us on his quest to discover the “theory of everything”. Inspired by the works of Albert Einstein, Kaku wants to find a single equation that could, in Einstein’s words, “read the mind of God”.
But did Einstein even believe in God? When asked, he acknowledged that throughout his life he struggled with the question of belief in God. At times he was an agnostic, then a religious non-believer, a Pantheist, but never an atheist. Finally he conceded, “the problem involved is too vast for our limited minds.”
Seeking answers to otherworldly questions is not new. It brings to mind the Biblical Story of Babel, the parable about man’s hubristic quest to reach the unreachable. Remnants today of postdiluvian Mesopotamian ziggurats attest to man’s never-ending quest to climb the heights, to fathom the unfathomable. Although like us, the ancients never saw the face of God, but those who believed in His existence did so through indirect evidence and that was enough to motivate them to build a tower to reach His domain.
But there are questions we can answer; that is the focus of Kaku’s book. In clear and precise language he probes the depths of human understanding in an effort to reveal the secrets which lie just beyond the reach of reason. As a species, we seek to uncover the same mysteries which intrigued our ancient ancestors millennia ago. For example, the Greek philosopher Democritus, in his search for the ultimate theory of everything, formulated the atomic theory of the cosmos in the 5th Century BCE. Unfortunately, his insights were ignored and all but forgotten until the English meteorologist and chemist, John Dalton, posited the modern theory of atoms twenty-four centuries later in the year 1808 CE. Picking up where Democritus, Dalton and Einstein left-off, Professor Kaku also seeks to read the mind of God by finding the answers to questions such as, what happened before the Big Bang, what lies on the other side of the universe, are there parallel universes, and is time travel possible?
According to Kaku, most theoretical science theories today are developed in much the same manner as did the ancients, indirectly. We never witnessed the Big Bang or entered an DNA molecule, but we know of their existence through the process of indirect evidence. For example, a telescope can look at the universe and chase the expanding cosmos and a microscope can make visible what is invisible to the naked eye, but neither instrument can look at itself. Only human intelligence can gather indirect evidence, fortify it with reason, thus enabling us to plunge the depths of knowledge.
Perhaps one of the most outstanding revelations Kaku shares is Einstein’s assertion that gravitational attraction is an illusion. Einstein claimed that gravity does not pull objects but rather that space-time warps push them. Well, so much for settled science. To be able to wrap your head around that concept you need to know the difference between Einstein’s theories of special relativity and general relativity, both of which are explained by Kaku in layman terms.
Einstein’s colleague and close friend Max Planck is credited with introducing a new branch of physics called quantum mechanics. It challenges everything we know about the universe; it is a form of ‘unsettling science’ because it violated all the laws of physics which preceded it. Kaku shines the light on how quantum mechanics eventually led to Einstein’s iconic equation E=mc2.
The book is a fascinating read because of the theories Kaku lucidly illuminates. He explains the existence of Black Holes, Worm Holes, and Dark Matter. He introduces us to innovative new ways of perceiving our universe through his explanations of Wave Theory, String Theory and the feasibility of Time Travel.
Kaku points out that we are the beneficiaries of two-thousand years of inquiry from the time when mankind first asked, “why” or “why not”. He explains that mankind has sought to find the meaning to the creation of the universe from the dawn of civilization to the present time. To some, the cosmos was perceived as remarkably ordered and beautiful but to others it appeared chaotic and muddled. Scientists want to know how everything originated; theologians want to know why everything was created. Michio Kaku tackles those and many other questions, the pursuit of which has enabled the stream of knowledge to flow from generation to generation. I urge you to read this book; it will inspire you to think about our moment in the cosmos, and perhaps enable you to complete Einstein’s mission, which was to “read the mind of God” and discover why we are here.