When I was out for a bike ride yesterday I stopped by a large book store and looked to see if they had a copy of Michio Kaku’s new book The God Equation. They didn’t, but did have plenty of copies for sale of his various previous efforts to promote string theory, such as 1987’s Beyond Einstein, 1994’s Hyperspace and 2005’s Parallel Worlds. If someone interested in fundamental physics walks into a bookstore, and looks in the Science section for something to read written by a well-known physics professor, these books are what they’re likely to end up taking home and reading.
When I got back from the bike ride, several people had forwarded me a link to this story from the Guardian which gives a good idea of what’s likely in the book, claims like:
Well, string theory has also created a tremendous amount of interest, as well as a backlash. People say, well, where is the proof? Quite frankly we don’t have the proof, in the same way that Newton did not have the proof of his inverse square law back in 1666. Sometimes, the mathematics and the ideas are ahead of the concrete experimental data. That’s where the Large Hadron Collider comes into play…
The Standard Model is the theory of almost everything. It works spectacularly well but it’s one of the ugliest theories proposed so far. There’s this avalanche of experimental numbers you have to put in by hand. But in string theory the Standard Model just pops right out. With just a few assumptions you get the entire Standard Model. So the point here is that we need experimental proof and the LHC may give us hints of a deviation in the Standard Model and that’s where this post-LHC physics comes into play.
This is just complete and unadulterated bullshit, of exactly the same sort Kaku and a host of others well-credentialed physicists have been heavily and successfully promoting for the last 35 years. I started writing about this 20 years ago, and there have been some changes since then (for one thing, we have Sabine Hossenfelder). I’m still waiting though for any of the leading figures in the physics community responsible for the string-theory hype campaign to do anything at all to try and stop Kaku and the rest of the Fake Physics onslaught that they unleashed.
Usually with books like this, once I get a copy of the book I try and write here a careful review quoting the writer accurately and explaining the problems with what they’ve written, but this time I think I’ll pass on the grounds that this would be a waste of time.
The funny thing though is that I probably agree with Kaku far more than most people about the possibility of unification, although I wouldn’t use the terminology “God equation” to describe a unified theory. Unfortunately Kaku has done far more than most physicists to discredit the search for a better unified theory, through the endless nonsense he has put out about the subject in books like this. I do think we’ll find a better, more unified theory, and I even think I know a couple of the crucial equations, which, leaving God out of it, are:
Update: You can read the book’s introduction here. It seems that Kaku has conceptualized the book as a response to criticism of string theory. Near the end of the introduction, he assures us:
This book will hopefully give you a balanced, objective analysis of string theory’s breakthroughs and limitations.
This morning he’s on Morning Joe.