Kaku surprises minds of DePauw and community members


Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku began the final Ubben Lecture of the year by introducing himself as being on New York’s 100 smartest people list. However, Kaku also noted that Madonna is on the same list.
The lecture was held last night in the Green Center for The Performing Arts’ Kresge Hall and contained a mostly-full crowd.
Besides sharing information in his new book “The Future of The Mind,” he also cracked many jokes, to which the crowd responded instantly.
“I think Professor Kaku has some of the best ‘dad’ jokes ever,” senior Matt Haeske said, “and it makes me understand science better.”
Kaku didn’t just use jokes to get across his points more effectively, but he discussed why we think jokes are funny.
“Why is a joke funny?” Kaku asked. “Well if you think about it, a joke is funny because you hear the joke, and then you mentally complete the punch line by yourself. You have no choice. Your brain is hardwired to complete the punch line, and then when the punch line is different, you laugh, that’s why things are funny.”
Kaku lectured a wide range of topics such as the future for MRIs, the progression of mental illnesses, Asperger’s syndrome, Internet contact lenses and Einstein’s brain. Many of his ideas involved complex computer programing that the future might bring with further technological research.
First-year Danielle Dattilio said the talk was interesting.
“I actually took a winter term neuroscience class so that really hit me hard,” Dattilio said after the lecture. “The contact lenses are just like boggling my mind right now.”
Kaku discussed his opinion on consciousness and how it connects to his physics ideas.
“I believe that there’s a continuum,” Kaku said. “Even animals, I believe, have consciousness, a different form of consciousness. For example, cats and dogs have a different way of thinking than you do.”
Many of Kaku’s ideas sparked interest for DePauw students that attended the lecture.
“I thought it was a really brilliant speech,” first-year Kristin Hillman said. “He touched on a lot of topics that I really hadn’t thought about much but that I am not very interested in.”
Kaku ended his lecture with a joke about Einstein that had the whole audience laughing. Although he used jokes in order for the audience to relate better to what he is talking about, Kaku was still serious about the gravity of the direction of science research.
“Science has to be controlled democratically,” Kaku said. “People have to decide democratically how far to push this technology.”
After an hour lecture, Kaku answered several questions from audience members and then signed books in the Green Center for the Performing Arts Great Hall.