Michio Kaku: 5 fascinating moments from this 1991 interview

From talking about Schrödinger's cat to nuking the South Pole, this decades-old interview shows why Kaku was born to be a science educator.

Harold Channer
  • Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist and renowned science communicator.
  • In 1991, he sat down for an hour-long interview in which he discussed climate change, nuclear weapons, human evolution, and more.
  • Kaku is a regular contributor to Big Think.
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Grandmas may be key to species survival, says new study

New research on killer whales may shine a light on the evolutionary power of menopause.

Photo Credit: Dan Antoche-Albisor / Getty Images
  • New research on killer whales suggests that post-menopausal grandmothers play a powerful role in the survival of generations that follow them.
  • "The Grandmother Hypothesis," theorizes that by surviving long past menopause, a woman improves the survival and reproduction of her children's children and, thus, her own genes.
  • Not only do grandma whales help raise and share their own food with their grandoffspring, they bequeath decades of foraging wisdom onto the next generation, guiding them to the best feeding spots.
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How does fire behave in microgravity? NASA study aims to find out

An ongoing experiment aboard the International Space Station aims to find out more about the fundamentals of combustion.

NASA
  • In the Confined Combustion project, astronauts aboard the ISS have been igniting fires in controlled spaces in order to study how flames spread in low-gravity spaces.
  • Past research has shown that flames spread differently in space. The new project aims to reveal more about how flames spread when ignited in various containers, and on various objects.
  • The results could help scientists learn more about how flames spread back on Earth.
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Nuclear-powered Mars rover to search for old life, prepare for human life

The Mars 2020 rover is set to launch in July of the same year, setting the stage for years and years of science on the Red Planet.

NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • NASA recently unveiled the final details of the Mars 2020 rover mission.
  • As yet unnamed, the Mars 2020 rover will launch in July of that same year. It's primary mission will be to search the planet for signs of microbial life.
  • However, the rover also contains instrumentation that will enable it to prepare for future human life, including a device to produce oxygen from Mars' CO2 atmosphere.
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#1: A mind-blowing explanation of the speed of light | Top 10 2019

We have arrived: Big Think's most popular video of 2019 tells us light exists outside of time.

  • Taking the #1 spot on Big Think's 2019 top 10 countdown, NASA's Michelle Thaller reminds us the only things that travel at the speed of light are photons.
  • Nothing with any mass at all can travel at the speed of light because as it gets closer and closer to the speed of light, its mass increases. And if it were actually traveling at the speed of light, it would have an infinite mass.
  • Light does not experience space or time. It's not just a speed going through something. All of the universe shifts around this constant, the speed of light. Time and space itself stop when you go that speed.
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