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tv   QA Michio Kaku  CSPAN  August 26, 2019 5:59am-7:00am EDT

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>> if we want to understand what all of these things are happening to us, whether it is the exportation of the algorithms that run twitter and help thein order to russian intelligence agency influence an election or the ransomware that has now taken down big cities like baltimore and atlanta, we have to understand that people who are behind these things and all of them. knight at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span two. in 1979, a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea -- let viewers make up there on mines. c-span opened the doors to washington policies for all to see, bringing you unfiltered content from
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television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind. brought to as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. ♪ ♪ brian: brian: here is a piece of video of you on this network in 1979. [video clip] at the recent government report concerning the three-mile island, the government concedes that one out of 10 people will eventually die of cancer in the three-mile island area. brian: do you remember that time almost 40 years ago and have you changed your thinking? michio: i remember that very vividly.
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i am a theoretical physicist and i work with the theories of albert einstein. being before a television camera was a new experience but when the three-mile island to happen, ever was that we needed a scientist about the site for this mess to the american people. so they contacted me and i said to myself this why i do for a -- what i do for a living. i'm a physicist. i said to myself i will get on national television and national radio because the situation demands it. not because i want to do it but because people had to know, the dangers, the positives, the negatives of energy, one of the big questions of the age. that is how i backed into becoming a media person. brian: you say in your book that there was a teacher in second
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grade that had a big impact on your future. michio: she said god so loved the earth that he put the earth just right of the sun, not too far that the oceans will freeze but just right from the sun. now, i was floored. i was in second grade. this was a scientific principle with this with religious interpretation. i said that is right. if we were to close, the oceans would boil, if we were to close, the oceans would freeze. we are in the goldilocks zone of the sun. now, of course we have seen 4000 other planets orbiting other stars and almost all of them are too close or too far from the sun. you have either two points of view, either god exists and still loves the earth or we have a crapshoot. brian: what do you think? michio: now that we have been so many planets, 4000 of them, there are billions upon billions of planets.
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on average, every single star you see at night has a planet going around it. every single star on average that it is indisputable that most of them were outside the goldilocks on. this zone. you can still believe in god but that is not an argument that clinches the deal. brian: i wanted to ask you about a bunch of obvious things that you write about, what is a planet? michio: it is a mud ball that goes around a star. i say that because it does not release light of its own. it is dark, it doesn't have life of its own. it orbits around the sun gaining energy and within planets are very interesting because they could have life. that is how we got started. even our solar system we think the planets may harbor some form of life. maybe microbial life. we look at planets, we look at stars to find where the plants are but we focus on the planet because that is the habitat for life in the universe.
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brian: what is a star? michio: a star is a gigantic solar furnace. it is a ball of hydrogen gas that releases energy by converting hydrogen into sunlight. a star is in some sense a hydrogen bomb. it will face the same equations of einstein. e=mc2. m is hydrogen, e is sunlight that comes out of the store. brian: what is a comment? michio: a comet is a dirty ice to -- what is a, comet?--
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michio: a comet is a dirty ice ball that was around in the solar system. they are only 10 or 20 miles across. they aren't very big. they're basically made out of ice remnants of the original , solar system which we think surrounded the sun now orbit in a disk. brian what is the difference : -- brian: what is the difference between a meteor and a meteorite? michio: that flash of light that you see was an across the sky is caused by a rock that burns up in the atmosphere and that is called a meteor. either the block itself with a streak of light. however, wanted his the ground, it becomes a mineral. we called a meteorite. if the meteor which has fallen from the sky, what is a galaxy? brian: what is a galaxy a galaxy consist of hundreds of stars left over from the creation of the universe, the big bang. it looks like a gigantic disk of stars, our galaxy for example is the milky way galaxy and the nearest galaxy to us is the andromeda galaxy and we think there are about a hundred billion galaxies in the visible universe. believe it or not that means we can actually count the number of stars in the visible universe. they hundred billion galaxies, a hundred billion stars per galaxy so that is the number of stars in the visible universe. a hundred billion times a
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hundred billion. brian: what is an asteroid? michio: that is left over from the creation of the solar system. we are talking about mars or jupiter. it's debris. we think it is a failed planet, a planets between mars and jupiter that never quite condensed or maybe got too close to jupiter and got broken up. brian: so if you had to pick another place to live outside of the earth, where would you go? michio: i would go to another planet. we have looked at all the planets so far. none of them are exactly earthlike, venous we once thought was tropical. many had astronauts sunbathing on the beaches of venus. we now know venus is our evil twin. just like the earth, closer to the sun, the temperatures are 900 degrees fahrenheit. if you were to walk on the surface of venus your feet would sink into molten metal.
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you don't want to go to venus. mars is the closest. it is a frozen desert but it is the closest planet we have. it's a rocky planet. one of the moons of jupiter is europa. the moons of jupiter are interesting. it has a liquid ocean underneath the ice covered, who would have have thought you could have that going around a distant planet. the volume is larger than the oceans of the earth. nasa wants to put a submarine under the eyes to look for life -- under the ice to look for life forms under the ice cover. brian: we talked about your second-grade teacher. do you remember when you first got interested in science? michio: i remember that very distinctly. i was eight years old. everyone was talking about the fact that a great scientist had just died. i will never forget they flashed a picture of his desk on the newspapers and the caption says
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something like this. this is the unfinished manuscript from the greatest scientist of our time. i was eight years old. i said to myself why couldn't he finish it? what is so hard that the greatest scientist couldn't finish it? it was a homework assignment. what could be so hard that he could not answer it? why didn't he ask his mother? what could be so hard that he could not finish it? i went to the library and found of his name was albert einstein. that book was the unified theory. the theory that would allow us to read the mind of god. i said to myself that is for me. i want to be part of this grand expedition to finish that book. today i could read that book, i could see all of the dead ends that einstein pursued. we actually think we have it, it is called string theory. i am one of the founders of the subject.
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we think we can complete a book that einstein set into motion, the theory of everything. there is even an oscar-winning movie called the theory of everything. brian: go back to your childhood, where were you born? what were your parents doing at the time? michio: my grandparents came to this country about 100 years ago. they were from japan. my grandfather was part of the cleanup operation in san francisco after the san francisco earthquake. my family has a long history in california but in 1942, because they were japanese-americans there are locked up at a relocation camp for four years behind machine gun and barbed wire. in 1946 they finally got out but they were penniless so they settled in palo alto which is now ground zero for silicon valley.
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back then it was all apple orchards and alfalfa fields. that's where i grew up in a farm like environment in what is now called silicon valley. brian: what did your parents do after they got out of the camp? michio: there was nothing for them to do but menial jobs. their money was confiscated, they were broke. however, there was a certain cachet to being a japanese gardener. my father became a rather successful gardener. he wanted me to take over the business. i tried gardening for a while and then i said no way. i have to find another way to make a living. so when i was in high school i decided i have to do something. i went to my mom and said can i have permission to build and atom smasher in the garage? a 2.3 million electron betatron particle accelerator. my mom stared at me and said sure, why not. and don't forget to take out the garbage.
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i took out the garbage and got 22 miles of copper wire and i built the atom smasher in my mom's garage. i blew out every single circuit breaker in the house every time i turned it on. my poor mother must have said to herself, why couldn't i have a son who plays basketball, maybe if i buy him a baseball. and why can't he find a nice japanese girlfriend? why does he have to build these machines in the garage? but that was a turning point because of the science fair projects i did in high school, i earned the attention of an atomic scientist. edward teller. edward teller pretty much took me under his wing. he arranged for me to get a scholarship to harvard. he knew exactly what i was doing. i didn't have to is going to him when antimatter was, what an accelerator was, what a betatron was. he knew immediately. he arranged for me for to get a scholarship so that started my life as a physicist.
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brian: how did you meet him? michio: he came to albuquerque, new mexico for the national science fair. he was in the habit of recruiting young scientist. he went to the national science fair. i was actually on television with him in 1963 in albuquerque at the national science fair. when i graduated from harvard he interviewed me for a graduate fellowship but at that point he was very clear. he said i am looking for people who want to design hydrogen warheads. your physics will be very valuable designing new and better hydrogen warheads. he offered me a scholarship. he said los alamo's, livermore, m.i.t., you name it, we can arrange for you to work there. but my interests began to veer off in the direction of when i was a child, wondering what was einstein's unfinished theory? i wanted to work on an explosion
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bigger than the hydrogen bomb. i wanted to work on the big bang, the creation of the universe itself. for me, a hydrogen bomb was a footnote. i wanted to work on the creation of the universe. brian: here is edward teller. this video goes back to 1974. [video clip] >> one of the seismic events that convinced me to work on this was the speech. the day after hitler's invaded the low lands, he said it is the duty of the scientists to contribute the weapons that are needed for the defense of freedom. brian: do you agree? michio: that is a point that he stressed to me directly. he said i recruiting for what
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the new york times later calls the star wars scholarship. this scholarship propelled the brightest young minds in america from high school and college into los alamos to create the star wars program. now we know he had a checkered history, many of the early designs did not work for the star wars program but that was the vision he had, he always had a very clear mission that science should be used in the interest of national security. those times are different from today, we had a sputnik moment. in 1957, when sputnik went up, it was practically your patriotic duty to use science in the interest of america because the russians will one day orbit hydrogen bombs. the homeland will be endangered. that is why a whole generation of young kids became scientists and engineers and technicians. it was the so-called sputnik moment.
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brian: when you were growing up, when did you discover you have the brain to understand this stuff? michio: when i was a kid, i read about einstein and my favorite quote about einstein was a theory can't be explained to a child than theory is probably worthless. meaning that every theory has a picture behind it that children can understand, newton talked about things moving in space, friction, the motion of bodies, einstein talked about clocks and meter sticks and rocketship's things that children could understand. i said to myself well, it is a great idea but if they are all based on pictures and you understand those pictures then mathematics is bookkeeping. it is complicated bookkeeping, you have to learn how to do the bookkeeping of course but it is
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bookkeeping. it is the physical principle, the concept that makes everything move. when einstein was 16, when he was 16 he found that principle. when he was 16 years old he asked himself the question, can you outrace a light beam? we would say that is a stupid question. it took him 10 years to 16 to 26 and he finally found the answers and he changed world history. he found that you cannot outrace a light beam. that is a children's question. i said i can understand these children's questions. i just have to learn the mathematics. it is the principle that is involved. today we know the speed of light is the ultimate velocity in the universe. einstein figured that out starting at the age of 16. so all great theories have a
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physical principle behind it. children can visualize. brian: as you went through that process, what were the milestones where you began to gather the knowledge and you have people that said 80 want to do this you have to go here, who else had an impact on you? michio: a lot of people tried to give me advice when i was in high school but i knew that most of the advice was wrong. i tell kids today that you have to have a role model. the wheel has been invented already. why would you have to reinvent the wheel if you have to become a sports figure or a movie star, find somebody you admire, look at their life history, follow the path. i said to myself, i want to become a physicist. a theoretical physicist, i read about einstein's life so i knew what i had to do and at what age of my life. when do i have to get a phd? when do i have to become a professor? when do i have to work on big physical concepts?
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it was no mystery to me. so many young kids come up here and have bum advice from their high school advisor. they want them to a trade school or learn something that is better than pumping gas. i said to myself, tell the kids, find a role model. the wheel has been invented already. brian: was teller your role model? michio: no, it was einstein. teller made a big pitch for me to design weapons and for me, at that point in my life i realized that the basic physics of hydrogen warheads is well known, well-established, as you know, china and developing nations that the hydrogen bomb on the -- got the hydrogen bomb practically on the first try. so, it was an engineering problem. i'm a physicist. i wanted to look at the physical concept of new undiscovered things like why the big bang take place? what was the energy source of the big bang, why did it bang to begin with? these are questions of cosmic
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importance that are far beyond engineering of simply assembling a hydrogen warhead. brian: but why were you able to figure it out and most people are drowning in all this language when they would be back in high school? michio: i think we have a high school system that stresses memorization, drudgery and does not encourage the bright students to come up. for example, in asia they had the expression the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. here is the oddball, if you are steve jobs or bill gates, you get hammered down. in america we had the expression -- the squeaky wheel gets the grease. now, i was the squeaky wheel. i want to get the attention of my teachers in high school. that is why i built the atom smasher. most of my teachers could not help me but i wanted to do it because i said to myself this is
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something that is doable. i just have to get the basic equipment. the basic physics i understood. it was not such a big deal for me to build an atom smasher. brian: what did you do with it? michio: i turned it on. the goal was to create antimatter. that was the whole thrust of the science fair project. i photographed antimatter. it comes naturally from a source called sodium 22. i put that in a cloud chamber and put it in a magnetic yield in the tract of anti-electrons bent in the wrong direction. electrons bent this way, antimatter bends the opposite way and a magnetic field. i took beautiful pictures, pictures that are research quality they tell me. i won a grand prize at the national science fair. i will never regret doing a science experiment. that took me from a gardener's kid to getting a scholarship to harvard and then beginning to work on the unified field theory.
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that is how it started. brian: what did the rest of the kids think of you? michio: they thought i was nuts. of course. the teachers that i had to work with -- i told them i had to cut transformer steel. i had to glue copper wire and they helped me but they did not know what i was doing. they just said here is this young kid that needs to cut 400 pounds of steel and line 22 miles of copper wire and i did it on the high school football field. brian: how big was atom smasher? michio: it was about this big, it consumed six kilowatts of power. the capacitor bank was used -- huge because it had to store six kilowatts of power and the give us this tremendous crackling sound when i turned it on. the magnetic field was so powerful that in principle, it would pull the film out of your teeth -- the fillings out of your teeth if you got too close to it. you have to be careful, it was a hammer anything like that.
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in principle if i ran it on dc it would literally ran a hammer , from across the room and flinging toward you. that happened with mri machines today because they too have the magnetic field of about 10,000. now today, we have a big one. a big one outside geneva, switzerland. that is huge. that is basically my little machine scaled up to the size of a city. it's the hay drawn collider -- hadron collider. that is the leading scientific instrument in the world today. outside geneva. brian: why didn't we build it? michio: we had designed for the supercollider to be built outside of dallas, texas in the 1990's. then, on the last day of hearings, costs were rising and congress wanted to know if they should keep on budgeting the supercollider and they canceled it. they give us a billion dollars, to dig the hole, a second billion two filled the hole. that is the wisdom of the united states congress. $2 billion to dig and fill a whole.
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now why did he cancel it? in the last day of hearings when congress is asking physicists, if we will find god with your machine, if so, i will vote for it. so, that physicist was paralyzed. they said something like we will find the higgs boson. but you could hear all the jaws hit the floor of the united states congress. $10 billion for another subatomic particle. the vote was taken and the next day it was canceled. since then, physicists have bat our heads against the wall wondering how we should have answered that question. will we find god with this machine? brian: what would you have said? michio: i would have said, god
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whatever signs and symbols you ascribed to the deity, the supercollider will take us as close to his greatest creation, genesis. this is a genesis machine. it will re-create on a microscopic scale the most glorious event on the history of the earth. that turn out to be the same thing that happened in switzerland? michio: that's right, the very very same machine is in switzerland. we are hoping it will find dark matter. which is the next form of matter. our machine was canceled because we did not know how to talk the language of the average taxpayer. that was a lesson. we have to understand where the taxpayer is. in the old days we would go to congress and say one word, russia. congress would work without their checkbook and say how much?
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those days are gone. brian: i want to show some video of you in 1997 saying strong things about nasa. [video clip] michio: i am here to save the space program from nasa bureaucrats. nasa bureaucrats are trying to fabricate new laws of physics that i have never seen before in any of my textbooks. in any of the books that i have published for phd students. if any of these engineers were to send that report to me i would flunk them. brian: why did you feel so strongly? michio: i believe in the space program. but, i think we need to do it safely. why would the taxpayers turn against the space program? when we lost the shuttle we came within a hair's breadth of losing the space shuttle. americans were saying enough is enough. seven beautiful astronauts perishing because some
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bureaucrat authorized the launch of that missile. nasa wanted to launch a mission. a great mission, by the way which would give us gorgeous , amounts of information about saturn. with 17 pounds of plutonium. -- 72 pounds of plutonium. this split the scientific community. on one hand, we wanted this to orbit saturn and give us great photographs. on the other hand, if that rocket were to blow up, nasa's own computer program estimated that some of the plutonium could go to disney world. think about that. if you are a taxpayer and you realize that this rocket to saturn all of a sudden caused the evacuation of disney world and you had to cancel your vacation and cross orlando, florida off the tourist map you would get really angry. i said to myself it is not worth it. chances are it will be a success. chances are we'll go to saturn and get glorious photographs. which is what happened. i said to myself, it is a gamble. do we want to take that gamble
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and perhaps lose the space program. i love the space program so much that you have to save it from the nasa bureaucrats. their attitude was launch the sucker. brian: you are saying your book that 544 humans have been in space. 18 of those have died. what do those numbers mean to you? >> it means that 1% of the time you don't come back. it's russian roulette. people asked me, would i want to go into space knowing that 1% of the time i'm not going to come back? these people are test pilots. they are experienced astronauts. they go through the training. they have taken courses. they know the odds. it is 1%. we are 60 years into the space age and we have not got that number down below 1% misfire. mars is even worse. 30%. 30% of our space probes never reach mars.
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as elon musk said, he would love to be the first person on mars, but he does not want to be there on impact. i agree with that. we forget. space is not a picnic. 1% of the time our rockets blow up. brian: in 2010 you were here. the program is called in-depth, it is three hours, it is available to our audience to go back and listen to it. three hours of you going into some detail on some of the things that we are talking about. it would add information for people who want to find out more. arthur c. clarke, this is from 1964, i want you to put him in the context. [video clip] what about the city's the day after tomorrow. say the year 2000. it will be possible in that age for a man to conduct his
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business from tahiti just as well as he could from london. i am serious when i suggest that one day we may have brain surgeons in edinburgh operating on patients in new zealand. brian: how is he doing on his predictions? michio: he is right on the money. we have internet. we have telemedicine. doctors in one place can do surgery, can handle robots on the other side of the planet. we have planets at duke -- we -- we have -- we have robots at duke university that communicate with robots in kyoto. different operations that you can do in duke university, you can also do in kyoto. if anything, i think he underestimated the power of the internet. you mentioned being able to -- he mentioned being able to communicate anywhere on planet earth.
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guess what, elon musk unveiled a plan to create a planetary internet. thousands of many satellites. you are at the top mount everest, there you are downloading the kardashians. today, you have to have a tower next to mount everest. but of thousands of mini satellites orbit the earth, exactly what he said could become a reality. brian: what does a theoretical physicist do when he has free time? michio: for einstein it was playing the violin. it was a time for him to think back at his work and to rethink his strategy. he also liked sailing. for me, i am a professor. i realize that i like to teach. i can bore 20 kids teaching a course. if i'm on radio or television, i can bore 20 million kids. i say to myself that is an opportunity to touch the minds of young people.
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whenever interview a nobel prize-winning scientist, i ask them when was it that spark of science began to germinate? they always say when i was 10, 10 is that magic year. you have that epiphany. you went to the planetarium. you saw your first telescope. you've saw the moon or the rings of saturn. you saw a microbe in a microscope. that epiphany stays with you for the rest of your life. when you are elderly and tired and have all of these obligations, it is like a well. you draw water from that well. you remember. you remember that it tiffany you -- that up if any you had when epiphanyp tiffany -
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you had when you were 10 years old. that keeps you going. brian: do you play the violin? michio: no. i like to do figure skating. brian: how long have you done that? michio: for the last 15 years. when i was a kid i was liked to watch it on tv. to do something like that is complicated. i realized that it is nothing but physics. -- it is nothing but newtonian physics. if you are a physicist you understand center of gravity, moment of inertia, you understand the basics of figure skating. i said to myself, i could learn that. if you see me spinning and jumping at rockefeller square, you know it is me on the ice. brian: if i were 19 years old and i wanted to see you in a classroom, where would i find you? and why would i be in your classroom and how large would that classroom be today? michio: normally i teach graduate students. at that level, we're talking about a phd program. only about five or 10 students. these people are raring to go.
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they are doing phd level work. the city university of new york has so many young people at the freshman level, unwashed, raw students that they said you have to teach freshman. so i decided to teach astronomy. i looked at the astronomy final and it was memorize all the moons of saturn. that was the final exam. i said to myself, i don't even know the moons of saturn. i don't even know the moons of jupiter. this is a worthless exam. you simply look at up in a book. i wanted to know planetary evolution. where stars come from, how they die. i threw out the curriculum and decided to import nasa videotapes about going to the planet. and began to talk about planetary evolution. planets of a certain basic laws. they are born, they mature, they die. you can teach these concepts because you can teach principles to children, especially pectoral
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principles. that is why i decided to take this astronomy course and make it modern. the course is bursting at the seams. we are up to like 500 kids. people have a thirst. it presented well. people will gravitate toward it. when i first did television people said that science does not sell on tv. i said that can't be right. a million people subscribe to scientific american. another million subscribe to discover magazine. when there is a science special you can get 5 million people to tune into that. there is an untapped audience there. when cable took off, we found it. yes there really are five to 10 , million people out there that will tune into a science program if, and only if, it is presented well. with special effects. with a potent storytelling.
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-- with a cogent storytelling. people will gravitate toward it. we are born scientists. we were born wondering why the sunshine's. brian: how often have you been involved in a television special? michio: i have worked with bbc, the science channel, and talking heads. and the discovery channel. i regularly do talking heads for different science specials. brian: you do radio, how often? where can they find it? michio: i'm on every week. they can go to my website or facebook. we are up to 3 million fans on facebook. on twitter we are up to 600,000. you can find my radio schedule. it airs in about 60 cities across the united states. it is commercial radio. commercially we are not talking about public radio. we are talking about commercial radio. the program is a big success. it means that, if presented well, people have a thirst, a real thirst to understand what is happening in the world.
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it is never presented well. it is always presented as memorization, as learning stupid fact that you will forget the next day. brian: here is a video of him kurz talking about life expectancy. i want your input on this. [video clip] >> you can take all the supplements and pills. that's going to enable you to live hundreds of years, that is the answer no. that is just to get to the second bridge. that is not far away. 10 to 15 years from now we will add more than one year every year to your life expectancy. brian: he has a plan for himself i think. how many pills does he take a day? michio: i think he takes several hundred. i talked to him once and it's a considerable number. he talks about two kinds of immortality. digital immortality. silicon valley is already offering a version of that.
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and then there is biological immortality. digital immortality takes everything known about you off the internet. your digital footprint, credit card records, movies you have seen, what wines you like to drink, your pictures, your video, and creates a profile which will last forever. when you go to the library of the future you will not pick out a book about winston churchill, you will talk to winston churchill. you will talk to a hologram who will have all the mannerisms, knowledge, anecdotes, everything known about winston churchill. you will talk to him. i would not mind talking to einstein. i would love to have an opportunity to talk to an einstein based on everything that is known about the man. we could be digitized. there is a company offering to do this. our great great great great great great granddaughter who wants to find out who was there
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great great great great great grandfather because we have all been digitized. to paraphrase bill clinton, is this really you? it all depends on how you define you. if we define you as a biological entity then this is a tape recorder. but if you are the subtotal of all your memories, emotions, feelings, if that is you, then yes, in some sense you could live forever because you have been digitized. brian: i want your definition for artificial intelligence. michio: it is a machine that can do anything that a human can do. right now, if you compare artificial intelligence to animals, our most advanced robot has the abilities of a cockroach a retarded, lobotomized, slow cockroach. our robots can barely walk across the room.
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they can barely sweep the floor or turn a valve. i foresee a time when they will be as smart as a mouse, being able to run around. as smart as a rat, a rabbit. eventually as smart as a cat or a dog. by the time they reach the level of a monkey, they could become dangerous. that is at the end of the century. monkeys have a self-awareness, they know they are not human. they know they are monkeys. dogs are confused. dogs think that we are the top dog and they are the underdog and that we are part of the same dog tribe. dogs are confused about who they are. monkeys know they are not human. once robots became as smart as monkeys, then we should put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they have murderous thoughts. that is not for many decades to come.
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brian: did you have brothers and sisters? michio: yes. one older brother and one younger brother. brian: what did they end up doing? michio: my younger brother is a cardiologist. they are retired. he is still in private practice. we all went to college and we all did what our parents dreamed of. they wanted us to be successful. brian: what does your mother do? michio: they passed away. my father was a gardener, my mother was a maid. we were always strapped for money. i remember my parents arguing about money. we were flat broke during that time. i still remember my mother talking about college. college is the key to everything. i have this vision that college was this city in the sky. there is a city in the sky called college, that is the way my mother put it.
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then i realized that she was onto something. college is a gateway. a gateway to success in modern society. brian: how much of your education was paid for in scholarships? michio: i got accepted to harvard. a scholarship that edward teller founded. i was a beneficiary. for my phd program, there was money from the national science foundation. luckily, even though struggling artists have a hard time scraping together the next meal, in science there is funding. the national science foundation, the department of energy, will fund enterprising young phd students. that is a good thing. there is a brain drain into the united states because there is funding. both private and entrepreneurs, will sponsor startups. there is a brain drain into the
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united states at the present time. brian: go back to your 10-year-old example -- by the way, do you have children? michio: yes. two. brian: what kind of work are they in? michio: the older daughter is a brain doctor. she is a neurologist. she is a professor now. the other followed a different road. she is a french pastry cook. she went to an exclusive school where they train french pastry cooks. she has done very well in manhattan. brian: your mother said she wanted you to find a nice japanese woman, is that you have found? michio: my second wife is japanese. my mother finally got her dream. my mother eventually came down with alzheimer's.
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it is very unfortunate that she could not even recognize me towards the very end. she cannot even recognize herself. i thought that life is so unfair. you struggle so hard when you are young and you are always poor, always wondering where the next check is going to come from. and then you lose your memories. you lose your sense of who you are, who your children are. sometimes life can be very unfair. brian: you are 71? what are you thinking about, how long are you going to teach? what happens to the brain? michio: i realize that the body does decay. the brain decays much slower. you can be as sharp as a whistle even in your old age. einstein was publishing important papers even to the last days of his life. when you get older, you say to yourself, do i want to write
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lots of papers that are going to get published but are worthless. you know they mean nothing but dotting the i's and crossing the t's. i would rather work on big problems now. there is a danger that nothing is going to come out of these big problems, but i would rather work on a big problem and fail than a lot of little problems and succeed. brian: from a standpoint of financial accomplishments, what categories have been the most lucrative for you? teaching, documentaries, radios, programs, speaking, books? michio: when i first started to write books people told me that you are never going to get rich writing a book. it is cutthroat competition. as bill clinton knows, you can make more money doing speaking at events and keynoting conferences and stuff like that. that is something that i enjoy. you get to engage people.
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and talk about things that are on their mind. things that are troubling them. i get invited to keynote conferences. brian: is that the best economically? michio: probably. if you take a look at bill clinton in george w. bush and people, they are on the circuit. i bump into them regularly. i have been on several programs speaking with bill clinton. brian: how often do you teach your class? michio: they said that whenever i have to go out and keynote, i disrupt the university. i have to find a substitute teacher. i have to make sure that the grad students can grade their papers. they made a deal with me. they said if we cut your slack so that you have more time for speaking, you can spread the good name of the university. the university benefits. you benefit.
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it was a win-win situation. they reduce my teaching load. which was the ideal situation. brian: how big is your university? michio: one of the biggest on planet earth. the city university of new york has a quarter of a million students. it is huge. the state university of new york services the entire state. the city university of new york services the 8 million people altogether. that is a population of new york. brooklyn alone would be the third city in the united states. -- third-largest city in the united states. the city university of new york is gigantic. it is absolutely humongous. brian: you have read a lot about this in your book, you talk a lot about going to mars, here is a motion picture.
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"star trek, 1979." i want to show it and have you put the movies in context with learning science. >> accelerating to warp one. .8 --7, ♪. brian: have you seen all these movies? michio: i love them. i am a science fiction junkie. i watch all the star trek movies. when i was a kid i loved that kind of stuff. today, i do a lot of cringing because i realized they got that law of physics wrong or they got that wrong. a lot of times i have to suspend what i know about physics and just let my imagination roam. that is the way to enjoy these films. i love these films. brian: 1951. the day the earth stood still.
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let's watch this one. >> it is no concern of ours how you run your own planet. if you threaten to extend your violence, this earth of yours will be reduced to a burned up cinder. your choice is simple. join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. brian: did you see this movie? michio: yes. that movie was very important because of to them the paradigm was war of the worlds. we are the underdog, we are the good guys. that flipped it totally the other way. all of a sudden, we became the enemy. we were the enemy of ourselves. we are our worst enemy. that movie was incredibly important because it shifted the focus away from martians invading the earth to looking inward, to looking at our own problems.
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if we explore our space, if we mess up the earth, we don't want to mess up mars. we have to get our own acts together. i thought that picture was pivotal because it shifted the center of gravity of science fiction. brian: this is book number nine for you? michio: 14 i think. brian: this one is called the future of humanity. what was your goal in this book versus the others? michio: i talk about the future like 100, 200, 300 years in the future. what is the pot of gold out there? what is the ultimate destiny of all these things? i said to myself, as carl sagan once told me, we should become a two planet species. we should join other civilizations and some kind of galactic civilization, if it exists. as people pointed out to make him of the dinosaurs did not have a space program.
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and the destiny of the dinosaurs was to go extinct. that was their destiny. our destiny is i have written. -- our destiny is unwritten. 99% of all life forms, their destiny is extinction. the norm for mother nature is extension, if you don't dig right under our feet right now, you will see the bones of the 99.9% that no longer walk the surface of the earth. we are different. we have self-awareness. we can see the future, we plot, we scheme, we plan. perhaps we are going to evade this conundrum and maybe survive. we need an insurance policy. this book is different from the other books because the other books talk about the steps. but what is the goal? what is a pot of gold? one pot of gold would be to have an insurance policy. a plan b in case a super volcano, an asteroid wiped out humanity or severely dents our history.
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brian: this is 20 years from now, you will be 91, you will still be teaching and speaking. you look back at what we have done in these 20 years, what will it be? who will have been responsible for it? michio: my goal in life is, we physicists like to rank civilizations by energy. type one is planetary, they control the weather. type two is stellar, they control stars and play with stars. like star trek. then there is type three, galactic, they play with black holes. like star wars. now what are we? , we are type zero. we get energy from dead plants. we can see that in a hundred years we will be type one. it is not guaranteed because we still have all the savagery of
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our rise from the swamp just a few hundred years ago. we have the same sectarianism, nationalism, all the backwardness of our rise from the swamp. i see that by 2100 we will become a planetary civilization. i want to help speed up the process to make sure that we don't let the savagery of our lives and swamp overwhelm our destiny, which is to become type one. what language will this type one civilization speak? already on the internet, english and mandarin are the two dominant languages. the internet itself is the first type one technology that fell into our lap as we are still type zero. we see the beginning of a type one planetary civilization. we may not make it. elon musk said why don't the aliens visit us? there should be a lot of type one civilizations out there. they don't visit us because they perhaps did not make the transition to type one.
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brian: do you have any idea why, over the years, we refer to aliens as little green men that are going to land here someday? why are they little green men? michio: i think it is part of our subconscious. hollywood gives us these images as children and as grown-ups we access these ancient memories of bug eyed monsters. i have some advice for people that claim to have met these aliens. many people email me and say they have been abducted from aliens, they know they are out there. my attitude is the next time you are objective by an alien, steal -- abducted by an alien, steal something. i don't care if it is an alien paperweight, a chip, a pen, steal something because there is no law against stealing from an extraterrestrial. there is no law that says you can't steal from an extra terrestrial.
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brian: what is your gas? michio: if you ask for hard evidence, there is no hard evidence either way. there is a possibility that in the past we would have been visited, it can't be ruled out. brian: last video, you were alive, you were young, this is 1957. somebody named major john glenn. he was on a program called "name that tune." [video clip] >> what do you think of the russian satellite which is circling the earth? >> to say the least they are out of this world. [laughter] >> this is really quite an advancement for the russians and for international science. we all agree on that. it is the first time anybody has ever been able to get anything out of that far in space and keep it there for any length of time. this is the first step toward space travel or moon travel. something we will probably run into in his lifetime at least.
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>> would you like to take a trip to the moon? >> i like it fine down here. [laughter] brian: major john glenn was a test pilot. he had not gone to space. in your opinion, how had we done since 1957? michio: i think nasa became the agency to nowhere. it just spun wheels, went around planet earth. the space station was supposed to be the gateway for mars and the planets. that became a big turkey in outer space. i think we have been basically spinning wheels for 50 years. last month, there was this excitement when the falcon heavy rocket blasted off because that was a moon rocket. the first moon rocket in 50 years to blast off from cape canaveral. guess who paid for it, our taxpayers? no. a private individual, elon musk. paid for a moon rocket and gave it to the american people for free. this is not heard of.
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five years ago if you were to say that a private individual would create his own personal moon rocket and give it to the people of the world, people would think you were nuts. but it actually happened. we are in a new ballgame now. a new ballgame where prices have been dropping genetically, the -- dramatically, where the movie the martian cost 100 million. to go to mars only cost $70 million. hollywood movies about mars cost more than going to mars. that is how cheap space travel has become. india china is going to plant of , their flag on the moon. it is a national goal for the chinese people. things have changed. prices have dropped. private entrepreneurs are funding a lot of this stuff. china, india, everyone is jumping into the game. we will have a traffic jam around the moon. brian: what would you tell an eight-year-old today watching
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you right now? what should they do to prepare to become a theoretical physicist or scientist? michio: keep that flame alive. keep that inspiration, that spark, whatever it was that set you off in the direction. for me, it was trying to follow the works of einstein. to complete einstein's dream. whatever it is, follow that star. that will keep you going. there has to be a northstar that inspires you because there is a lot of math you have to know, you have to pay your dues, ultimately, it is that spark of creativity and innovation that keeps you going in spite of all the obstacles. brian: the title of the book is the future of humanity. thank you very much for joining us. michio: my pleasure. ♪ >> all "q&a" programs are available on our website or as a podcast on c-span.org. [captions copyright national
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cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] waxext sunday on " " emmy talks about free expression on college campuses in the united states. p.m.s next sunday at 8 eastern on c-span. next, we live with her calls and comments on "washington journal ." biden vice president joe in minnesota senator amy klobuchar make campaign stops in new hampshire. tonight on "the communicators," the cnbc cybersecurity reporter on her
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book. it's about the world of cyber crime. >> if we want to understand what all of these things are happening to us, whether it is the exploitation of the algorithms that run twitter and to help theorder russian intelligence agency influence an election or the ransomware that is now taken down big cities like baltimore and atlanta, we have to understand the people who are behind these things and all of them are different. >> tonight at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span two. green fromning, andy the center for american progress and university of maryland economics professor peter morisi discussed the state of the u.s. economy and how it could impact the 2020. later, bloomberg tax

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