Fun with a Physicist. Michio Kaku at a Freescale Technology Forum.

One of the amazing fringe benefits of being an event photographer for smart technology companies has been an ongoing "ticket" to a front row seat at events featuring some of the smartest and most interesting speakers of our time. This is Dr. Michio Kaku and he spoke to our audience of technologists and engineers back in 2008. His lecture was loosely based on his book, Physics of the Impossible, and I remember how quickly and completely he was able to draw me into his vision of the future.

I shoot corporate shows mostly with available light but I do make a valiant effort to understand the nature of the light and to talk to the lighting designers to find out about the light sources and the filtration they'll be using during presentations. I remember being able to go to a lighting rehearsal the morning of this talk and take meter readings on the stage and to use a color meter to devolve the mix of lighting on Dr. Kaku. I was able to set the camera I was using (a Fuji S5) to a pretty exact color balance and it was very helpful in post processing. The lens was the old standby, the 70-200mm f2.8 used somewhere around f5.0 with a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second.

I understand that Dr. Kaku has written a new book called, The Future of the Mind, (#1 bestseller in the physics category) and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. This kind of book straddles the divide between fiction and non-fiction. That should keep both halves of my brain happy...

For more information on Dr. Kaku see his Wikipedia Page.

Edit: Funny how memory works to put everything in such a vague folder. I was cleaning the studio after writing this only to discover my (non-virtual) planning calendar from 2007.  It tells me that I used a Nikon 55-200mm lens and not the bigger, 70-200mm lens. That's probably why I used f5.x. I also noticed (quite obviously) that I shot this Freescale Event in Orlanda in 2007, not 2008. It took place in late June and the day after I arrived home my first book for Amherst Media would hit its deadline and need to be sent out. I now remember spending late nights at the show double checking the manuscript. Always good to write stuff down...

1 comment:

Allan Ostling said...

I sent this email to Michio Kaku three years ago. I never got a reply.

[indent]Dr. Kaku,

I was at Stanford, for my senior year studying mechanical engineering, when you graduated from nearby Cubberley High School. Now I am enjoying my retirement as I have always enjoyed my life, by travel and undisciplined reading (including several of your earlier books).

I am currently reading your new book Physics of the Future. For those of us your age or mine, the future is now, but your book shows we "haven't seen anything yet."

I confess I jumped ahead to the Chapter 5, Future of Energy, intending to go back and read the first chapters later. But here (p. 210) I encounter a statement which I think is in error:

Further advances in physics could usher in the age of magnetism, whereby cars, trains, and even skateboards will float through the air on a cushion of magnetism. Our energy consumption could be drastically reduced, since almost all the energy used in cars and trains is simply to overcome the friction of the road.

In fact rolling friction is less important than aerodynamic drag for a train or an automobile. This article http://www.transrapid.de/cgi-tdb/en/basics.prg?session=9be8fa13451ed8b9&a_no=47 indicates that Maglev technology would cut the specific energy consumption by a third (33%), for a train traveling at 300 kph. This is impressive, of course. But aerodynamic drag is unaffected, and remains the principle component of drag.

I intend this as a constructive criticism, of an important book.


Allan Ostling
Phoenix, Arizona [/indent]