Book Review: The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything



The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything
by Michio Kaku

I am of two minds about Michio Kaku's new book. 

I found his overview of the history of physics was told with enthusiasm, even if its a bit dated. It's written at a high enough level that even we mere mortals can grasp the concepts.

But as the book went on I became frustrated that there wasn't more depth. It's all a bit breezy, which I guess is in keeping with his public persona as a "popularizer of science". When we reach string theory, to which he notes he has devoted much of his career, the history gets more detailed but the actual theory itself is not really brought out in any depth. Nor do we get the story behind his own contributions as one of the co-founders of the string field theory, which was disappointing to me.

In another vein, I found the book to be more philosophical than I anticipated, and I admit that in the end I enjoyed Kaku's philosophical ruminations. But, as always when reading popular science by physicists, I remain skeptical of the claims that physics somehow will answer basic questions about the meaning of life. 

To give Kaku credit, he expresses some of that same skepticism himself even as he professes the importance and meaning of finding the God Equation - the single unifying "theory of everything" that will answer all the questions and sew together all the avenues of physics.

I rate The God Equation Three Stars ⭐⭐⭐. If you have not read any popular science on physics (by say Stephen Hawking or Neil deGrasse Tyson) but are interested in the topic then by all means pick this book up - it's a short worthwhile read. If your bookshelf is well stocked with popular science books on physics you may find this one less enlightening than you might hope.

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