Dr. Michio Kaku — Exploring Time Travel, the Beauty of Physics, Parallel Universes, the Mind of God, String Theory, Lessons from Einstein, and More (#562)

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“If quantum theory says that an electron could be in two places at the same time, then why can’t people also be in two places at the same time? And for that matter, why can’t the universe be in two places at the same time? At this point you may say to yourself, ‘This is weird.’ Well, get used to it. It’s called physics!”

— Dr. Michio Kaku

Dr. Michio Kaku (@michiokaku) is a professor of theoretical physics at The City College of New York, co-founder of string field theory, and the author of several widely acclaimed science books, including Beyond Einstein, The Future of Humanity, The Future of the Mind, Hyperspace, Physics of the Future, Physics of the Impossible, and his latest, The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything.

He is the science correspondent for CBS This Morning, the host of the radio programs Science Fantastic and Exploration, and a host of several science TV specials for the BBC and the Discovery and Science Channels.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#562: Dr. Michio Kaku — Exploring Time Travel, the Beauty of Physics, Parallel Universes, the Mind of God, String Theory, Lessons from Einstein, and More

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear another episode with someone who ponders the mysteries of the universe for a living? Listen to my conversation with Columbia University physics and astronomy professor Janna Levin, in which we discuss youthful indiscretion, extra dimensions, omnivorous reading, Möbius strips, philosophy 101, time travel, UFOs, and much more.

#445: Janna Levin on Extra Dimensions, Time Travel, and How to Overcome Boots in the Face
  • Connect with Dr. Michio Kaku:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


  • What piqued Michio’s curiosity about science at an early age — and what did he build in his garage with his parents’ grudging permission? [05:08]
  • How did hydrogen bomb pioneer Edward Teller, the patron who paid Michio’s way through Harvard, react when he turned down his generous job offer to design hydrogen warheads in favor of probing the mysteries of The Big Bang? [10:20]
  • Knowing his California-born parents had been locked up by the United States government in an internment camp on the basis of their Japanese heritage during WWII, did Michio have any reservations about serving the country during the Vietnam War? [11:30]
  • The ingredients Michio feels are necessary for anyone to rise above any hardship. [12:53]
  • What sci-fi had an impact on young Michio’s curiosity and passion to explore the mysteries of science? [14:47]
  • Does Michio think Einstein underestimated philosophy’s potential for practical application? Are there any philosophies better suited than others for answering the universe’s big questions? Are there any questions that can’t be answered? [16:46]
  • What constitutes burden of proof when it comes to science? [25:56]
  • What is a parallel universe? [35:20]
  • Why does the rate at which time moves vary depending on where it’s observed, and what are the implications of this phenomenon? [37:04]
  • How does Michio think about consciousness? Is the term synonymous with self-awareness? [42:26]
  • When Einstein pondered what it would take to “read the mind of God,” what kind of God was he imagining? For that matter, how does Michio think about the concept of God? [53:22]
  • What is string theory, why is it controversial, and why are such controversies healthy for science? [58:50]
  • What would be the practical applications of a theory of everything proven? What questions could we finally answer? [1:04:37]
  • Does music play a part in how Michio contemplates physics? [1:09:52]
  • Michio’s challenge to our listeners. [1:13:07]
  • Why didn’t cosmologist George Gamow win the Nobel Prize for his work on proving the Big Bang theory? [1:13:36]
  • Is there a career cost for research scientists who work to make science more accessible to the non-academic masses? What is the cost to society if there aren’t scientists willing to take that risk? [1:16:58]
  • How are some scientists seemingly able to predict the future more accurately than others? What advancements does Michio foresee in the next couple of decades? [1:22:13]
  • For listeners unfamiliar with the body of Michio’s work, where does he recommend they begin? [1:29:17]
  • Michio’s favorite Einstein quote and other parting thoughts. [1:30:56]


“Curiosity by itself is not enough. … You have to have a passion that takes you all the way to the top.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“If the quantum theory says that an electron could be in two places at the same time, then why can’t people also be in two places at the same time? And for that matter, why can’t the universe be in two places at the same time? At this point you may say to yourself, ‘This is weird.’ Well, get used to it. It’s called physics!”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“In science, truth comes out of incorrect debate with untruth.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“I said, ‘Mom, can I have permission to build a 2.3 million electron volt particle electron accelerator in the garage?’ And she kind of stared at me and said, ‘Sure, why not? And don’t forget to take out the garbage.'”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“To a physicist, what is beauty? Beauty to a physicist is symmetry. There’s a symmetry in music. … The ultimate symmetry would take the universe, just like the prongs of an ice crystal, rotate all the prongs so that the universe rotates into itself. That is string theory. The lowest octave of string theory is relativity.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“I have a challenge for young people out there. For you young people out there listening to this interview, if you ever discover the God equation and figure out the mystery of dark matter, then I give you a word of advice. What should you do? First of all, tell me first. Tell me first and we’ll split the paper. We’ll split the Nobel Prize and we’ll both be considered the next Einstein.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“When you listen to the static on a radio, you’re listening to Genesis. The Big Bang itself is still reverberating throughout the universe.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“Unless you engage the public, they’re not going to give you tax money to do your research.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku

“If it ain’t fun, don’t do it.”
— Dr. Michio Kaku


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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8 Replies to “Dr. Michio Kaku — Exploring Time Travel, the Beauty of Physics, Parallel Universes, the Mind of God, String Theory, Lessons from Einstein, and More (#562)”

  1. Hi Tim!

    I have been following you for many years and would like to offer my highest appreciation for the curiosity, joy, knowledge and wisdom that you have shared for me many times over. I would like to share with you something I know is close to both our hearts, saving Indigenous languages as well as Rainforest and Nature conservation. I work with a group called the Alkw Media Society who administer Nuxalk Radio.

    Nuxalk Radio is a community radio station broadcasting on 91.1 FM from the Nuxalk village of Q’umk’uts’ (Bella Coola) and worldwide online.

    They launched si7mt (summer solstice) June 21, 2014 with a licence to operate on Sovereign Unceded Nuxalkulmc (Nuxalk Territory) granted by the Stataltmc (Hereditary Leadership) of the Nuxalk Nation Government (Nuxalk ancestral government).*

    Their slogan is: Lhulhamktulhs ala ts’ktaliwalh alh ti s-kulhulmcilh t’ayc n wa sulutilh ats (Broadcasting the laws of the lands and waters).

    Nuxalk Radio’s mission is to:

    Promote Nuxalk language use, increase the fluency of semi-fluent Nuxalk language speakers, inspire new Nuxalk language learners, raise the prestige of the Nuxalk language and reaffirm the fact that the Nuxalk language is relevant today
    Contribute positively to physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being
    Assert Nuxalk Nationhood by raising up our Nuxalk ancestral government, reclaiming and reoccupying our territory and promoting stewardship and protection of our homelands
    Share Nuxalk history and culture; and
    Promote the common goals of our neighbouring Nations and global Indigenous groups

    Nuxalk Radio aims to be a part of building a grassroots Indigenous radio network with the focus on maintaining our languages, protecting the environment, healing and empowering our Nations.

    We have a new project called the House of Numst’, which will be the new home of Nuxalk Radio and a cultural center and meeting space for traditional leadership. We would love to share more about our project and perhaps you may want to be apart of our amazing team.

    We are working with Michael Green Arcitects out of Vancouver (amazing group, check them out), and Paragon project management who did something called the Heiltsuk Big House, again, check it out, its unbelievable.

    I will can share links to an award winning 5 minute documentary short called Nuxalk Radio, a VICE article about our station, and a local news article about our project if you are interested.

    I look forward to hearing from you man! 😀

    Graham Gillies
    [Moderator: contact information removed from public forum but preserved in intake field.]

  2. Thought this was a great conversation! I loved his infectious energy and enthusiasm for the topics. Made me eager to learn more. Thank you!

  3. This guy is brilliant – grateful for the question on a personal God. Both from Tim and the answer that was given. God is anything but PC. Well done gents!

  4. Hi Tim!

    What a fantastic episode! I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Kaku and find this topic extremely fascinating!

    I hope you’re enjoying “Time Enough for Love” – this is one of my favorite books and has impacted me through my life. The thought of being “rejuvenated” and able to live another lifetime really hit home with me back in the day.

    Reminds me of a quote that I heard (not sure of the source and I’m paraphrasing). A reporter was interviewing a woman that just turned 100 and asked “do you have any regrets?”. She said “yes, I wish I would have started playing the piano when I was 60 – I would have been playing for 40 years!”.

    We’re never to old to start something new!

    Thanks for all the great episodes!

    Vic Stachura

  5. Hi Tim

    Long time follower and this is my first reply. This was a wonderful interview with a great subject. I found it very interesting but the reason I write is because my 10 year old daughter was driving with me playing on her iPad while I was listening to the podcast. After a few minutes she stopped what she was doing and listened intently. Since then she has asked questions pertaining to physics and space and time travel! Also, she’s asked me to play the podcast again for her. I just love her curiosity on most things but this floored me. As always I try to stoke the flames of her curiosity and asked her if she’s like me to get one of Dr Kaku’s books. She enthusiastically said yes.
    So I am thrilled by this development and will be looking forward to seeing where she goes from here. I’d like to thank you for bringing us the wide variety of content you deliver.

    Best wishes

  6. Hi Tim,
    Love your podcast and read 4hour workweek a while ago.( haven’t accomplished it yet lol ).
    Read 50% of “the control group is out of control” and it made me think of your podcast interview with Dr. Michio Kaku where he speaks about Quantum and string theory. ( beautiful thinker ) .
    So Parapsychology… Two exact experiments conducted the same protocols achieving opposite results (section IV Wiseman and Schlitz).. Could this be due to Quantum effects? An electron can exist in two different places at the same time.
    Just a thought. Carry on, with all the goodness.
    Jay Meakin

  7. In the Universe matter and anti-matter must obey
    ” The Law of Conservation and Transformation of energy / mass”.
    Einstein’s “rest” E = mc^2 is not fully formula of energy/mass.
    Dirac wrote complete formula of mass/energy: E=±MC².
    According to the Dirac formula E=±MC² contents of matter and antimatter
    and must have equivalent proportions
    (matter – antimatter as two sides of one and the same coin-particle)