Kaku delivers ‘The Future of the Mind’

Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku spoked to a packed house in Van Meter Hall auditorium on Monday. Gatton Academy co-sponsored Kaku’s visit, which concluded the WKU’s 2014 Cultural Enhancement Series. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Anna Lawson

Students, faculty and local Bowling Green residents flocked to Van Meter Hall on Monday evening to listen to theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku.

Kaku, whose IMDB credentials are almost as extensive as his presence in academia, is the Henry Semat Professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York, and an author and co-founder of string field theory.

The Van Meter auditorium teemed with spectators as David Lee, dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters, strode to the podium to introduce Kaku. Lee explained that Kaku was the last speaker for the WKU Cultural Enhancement Series, and that his visit was co-sponsored by Gatton Academy.

Kaku prefaced his presentation with a Yogi Bear quote. The crowd quickly warmed to his quirky personality and inspirational words.

He then began to talk about everything from the origin of the universe to the depths of the mind.

“The brain is the most complex object in the universe,” he said when explaining the foundations of intelligence.

The New York Times bestselling author explained that he first became interested in the mind’s mechanisms as a child when he explored the concept of telepathy. Then, after trying and failing to communicate via the mind, he found his muse in physics.

Kaku also spoke about uploading memories into a person’s brain. This would allow for someone with Alzheimer’s to remember everything he or she forgot.

“We would now be able to go on that vacation we always wanted to. Just by uploading a memory into our minds,” he said.

Kaku said scientists have been able to do this with mice, and next it will be monkeys, then it will be humans.

He also touched on the idea of photographing thoughts or dreams. Scientists have been able to do this to a certain degree. They are able to access the shape of dreams but not any details.

Kaku concluded by explaining what consciousness truly is. He said that he believes that there are certain degrees of consciousness.

“We see the future,” he said. “That is what makes humans different from animals or anything else in the world.”

People waited for pictures and autographs in a line that snaked down the front stairs of Van Meter.

Members of the audience continued to discuss the ideas the Kaku presented and debated their own opinions.

“I have always been a huge fan of his work, and I have read all his books,” Richmond freshman, Emily Hamilton, said.

“It was really interesting to find out where science is heading,” he said.

Hamilton wasn’t the only person to be captivated by Kaku’s lecture. Berea freshman Olivia Jacobs has also always been a fan of Kaku’s work.

“It was really neat to hear him talk about the state of consciousness and what science is doing right now and will be doing in the future,” she said.

The WKU Cultural Enhancement Series is currently working on a roster for next year’s lineup.