In the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek, the renowned theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss took readers on an entertaining and eye-opening tour of the Star Trek universe to see how it stacked up against the real universe. Now, responding to requests for more as well as to a number of recent exciting discoveries in physics and astronomy, Krauss takes a provocative look at how the laws of physics relate to notions from our popular culture -- not only Star Trek, but other films, shows, and popular lore -- from Independence Day to Star Wars to The X-Files. What's the difference between a flying saucer and a flying pretzel?Why didn't the aliens in Independence Day have to bother invading Earth to destroy it?What's new with warp drives?What's the most likely scenario for doomsday?Are ESP and telekinesis impossible?What do clairvoyance and time travel have in common?How might quantum mechanics ultimately affect the fate of life in the universe?
Combining hard science and popular culture, this delightful follow-up to Krauss's The Physics of Star Trek continues to explore the possibilities, principles and improbabilities of science fiction. To his credit, Case Western physics professor Krauss never plays the role of a party-pooping gadfly determined to eliminate the fun from SF, or of a pedantic hard-science bore. Instead, he fosters a cheerful interplay between the two realms, to excellent effect. Familiar pop culture icons from Madonna to episodes of The X-Files are not so much explained in scientific terms as used as jumping-off points for superb explanations of larger concepts. What is fascinating about this approach is that the science is often more fantastic than the fiction: shooting a laser-beam out the back of the Enterprise would eventually get it up to light speed--only not in the crew's lifetime. Independence Day and Star Wars, as well as quantum mechanics, Isaac Newton, tragic British computing pioneer Alan Turing and, of course, Star Trek faves, make cameos. Relaxed and full of lively conversation, Krauss is the physics teacher we all wish we had had in high school.