The renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, a prominent Discovery Channel and Science Channel figure and co-developer of string theory, drew more than 1,000 people to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Wednesday night, going over maximum capacity to stand in aisles and sit on the floor, to see him speak about possibilities of the future.
Some attendees waited at MOSI starting at 2 p.m. though the lecture was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m,
Maryhelen Shuman-Groh, who helped manage the event from the Provost Office, said. The room in MOSI where the lecture took place had 600 seats, but the crowd was so large that more than 100 attendees had to find seats on the floor or stand near walls or in the aisles.
Kakus lecture focused on possible future applications of physics in the changing world.
The future of the computer is going to be everywhere, but nowhere, he said. We are going to look for the Internet portal the same way we look for a light switch when entering a room. Wealth is where the Internet is.
He proposed inventions such as Internet-capable glasses and contact lenses. These devices, he said, could provide language translations (a program he said was already created by Google) and biographies of a person.
He suggested Vice President Joe Biden could use these to stay on script, or for other politicians to kiss up at cocktail parties.
This software, augmented reality, could be used by architects, artists and could even have military installations. Kaku spoke of his experience at Fort Benning, Ga., where he worked with prototypes of similar design. The prototype he said was about was half an inch long, and was the Internet of the battlefield, all there in your eye piece.
Other inventions that Kaku proposed to be a reality by 2100 included those similar to the Tricorder from Star Trek, intelligent wallpaper that would be composed of microchips and computer software, and methods of currency that would only require a buyer to point and click.
With string theory, we can find the answers that have plagued philosophers since the dawn of time, he said. Beyond string theory, we can find out answers to time travel, multi-dimensional travel and what happened before the big bang.
In his lecture, Kaku showed a video segment of his from Discovery Channel, illustrating future hospitals and medical science 50 years from now. Ideas in the video showed research synthetically creating human organs, DNA chips that could predict cancer 20 years in advance and even cure cancer.
Future paramedics, the video showed, would be able to use a process called reversible death a method of sustained animation, and reversal of injuries and diseases.
Nothing satisfies the human spirit, he said.
Garrett Toole, a freshman majoring in environmental engineering, sat on the floor with his friends toward the back of the room near a side panel. Toole, who saw Kaku speak at a robotics competition he participated in, said he didnt mind.
Its well worth it to see him, he said. Ive seen his videos on YouTube.
Patrick Toglia, a graduate student majoring in physics, said he looked forward to listening to Kaku.
Hes at the forefront of new research, he said. USF is more applied physics, so Im interested in his work on theoretical physics.
With combined funding from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Provost Office and the City of Tampa, the lecturecost $27,700 to host.
The next speaker for the Frontier Forum will be Rory Kennedy, filmmaker and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, at Muvico in Ybor City on Nov. 8.