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March 24th, 2008
"A form of invisibility may become commonplace" within a century, if not a few decades, according to the author, who cites advances in nanotechnology and holograms. So-called metamaterials that make part of the light spectrum invisible already exist, possibly pointing the way to cloaking devices. But using the power of the unproven "fourth dimension," the method favored by H.G. Wells's "Invisible Man," isn't likely to pan out, according to Kaku.
The discussion of gadgets sometimes drags, and in later chapters the author wisely turns his attention to what's really fascinating in this enterprise: people and ideas. This is a book of enormous sweep, crammed with science and its history. His portraits of such figures as Erwin Schrodinger (of the fabled cat paradox in quantum mechanics) and Paul Dirac, the "founder of antimatter," are immensely readable.
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