The Physics of Star Trek - Book Review

Wednesday, December 28 2005 @ 09:01 am EST

Contributed by: bobmoody

The Physics of Star Trek raises some of the most asked questions regarding just what is, and is NOT possible in this real universe that "Star Trek" exists in. Lawrence M. Krauss is a dedicated "Trekkie" while at the same time holding the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and Chairman of the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University. He chose to write "The Physics of Star Trek" to give those of us who are NOT physicists some idea of what is a possibility for our futures and what might forever remain in the realm of sci-fi.

"The Physics of Star Trek is copyright 1995, and is published by Basic Books, a Division of HarperCollins Publishers.
"But I canna change the laws of physics, Captain." Scotty has uttered these words on innumerable occasions on the original Star Trek series, yet, when the need called for it, the writers for ST seemed to hold the power of God Almighty as they gingerly created a plethora of "outs" for the original, and all the spinoff Star Trek series. Personally, I used to wonder just how such things could be possible, like the transporter, or "warp speed", or time travel? This was exactly what I had in mind when I bought this copy of the book, to learn for myself just what was real and what wasn't.

James Doohan a.k.a. Lt Cdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott Mar. 3, 1920 - July 20, 2005
Without a doubt, I was disappointed by some of the things I learned from the book, but at the same time, I was enthralled by Krauss' excellent writing and his almost boyish inquisitiveness about most of the same things that fascinated me. He truly is a well-versed Trekkie aficionado, and enjoys sci-fi as much as the next guy. The book is absolutely a must read, at least in my book. HA! (sorry)

Well, what about dilithium crystals, or the holodeck, and aren't matter-antimatter engines the next big thing from Detroit? Isn't GM working on that? Its all in here, and much more. One of the things that caught my eye (through my ears) was how much science and astronomy was always included in the Star Trek programs. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the Enterprise visiting one or another star system which was taken from the star charts that I use to track down my deep-sky quarry. Did you know that the rock-like Sheliak beings are actually found around a planet in one of the southerly pair of parallelogram stars in Lyra?

I love Star Trek, and I always have. I could sit and watch nothing but reruns of Star Trek episodes for days and days without seeing anything else and not get bored. On a lot of episodes, I can almost quote the dialogue word-for-word. But I enjoyed immensely this work by Krauss that got me to thinking a little more literally about the Physics of Star Trek. I highly recommend it!

P.S.I offered up the quote from "Scotty" at the beginning of this review because I had seen it used in the book, but I also wanted to dedicate this review to the memory of James Doohan, who passed away last summer. "Beam me up, Scotty!"

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