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The Future Is Nearly Here: Do We Want It?? "The Physics of The Impossible" (CalS

by Humanist Association at CSULA Friday, Apr. 10, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Time travel. Teleportation. Other intelligences. According to Michio Kaku's recent bestseller of the same title, some of these things are on the verge of becoming real. But should they??? Do science fiction novels and movies present us with a dream of the future, or a nightmare to be avoided at all costs? Do you really WANT to live in Star Wars or Star Trek??

Title: "The Physics of the Impossible."
Where: The University-Student Union at Cal State L.A. (East L.A., junction of 10 & 710 freeways) - parking map at http://www.calstatela.edu/univ/maps/cslamapp.php
When: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 6-8 PM.

Science fiction writer, science teacher and one-time space program worker Jonathan Vos Post, inspired by Michio Kaku's recent bestseller of the same title, will give a talk on the futuristic technologies we see at the movies and read about in Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning novels. Teleportation, force fields, invisibility, death-ray beams, time travel, faster-than-light travel, access to parallel universes, encounters with robotic or alien intelligences: How likely are we to see these in our lifetime? And more important, even if they are possible -- should we make them reality? Just because something is technologically possible, must it be built? Is Science Fiction a Dream, or a Nightmare?


Jonathan Vos Post: as seen live by 10,000,000 people on the NBC-TV "Today Show", he is a widely published author of Science Fiction (with coauthors including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Sir Arthur C. "2001" Clarke), Science (coauthors including Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman), Poetry, Math, Drama, and other fields. He has been a Professor of Mathematics at Woodbury University in Burbank, California and a Professor of Astronomy at Cypress College in Orange County. In his so-called spare time, he has written speeches for a major presidential candidate, won elections for local political offices, played in Rock bands, produced operas, written for comic books, rewritten movie and TV scripts, and spends more time on blogs, Facebook, and LinkedIn than his Physics professor wife considers healthy.

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. Physicist Michio Kaku in a 2008 book "Physics of the Impossible" explored to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction that are deemed equally impossible today might well become commonplace in the future. From teleportation to telekinesis, Kaku used the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals--and the limits--of the laws of physics as we know them today. He ranked the impossible technologies by categories--Class I, II, and III--depending on when they might be achieved, within the next century, millennia, or perhaps never. Jonathan picks up where Kaku leaves off, agreeing and disagreeing in surprising ways, to bring you across the the edge of the Impossible.

Jonathan agrees with dissident Nobel Laureates Brian Josephson and Sir John Eccles that thinking is not done in brain cells, and that telepathy and "nonlocal" mental phenomena may be possible.

Jonathan summarizes breakthroughs in the past 5 years of "cloak of invisibility" science more like Harry Potter than H.G. Wells.

Jonathan discusses moral and ethical issues: if an "impossible" science or technology becomes possible, SHOULD it be unleashed upon our planet?

Arthur C. Clarke formulated the following three "laws" of prediction:

1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something
is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that
something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to
venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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