The Floating University

Video Quiz 

Take this quiz to test your knowledge of Dr. Kaku's physics lecture. Find the answer key at the bottom, as well as an additional quiz on the assigned reading!

(1.) What does Einstein’s famous e=mc^2 equation explain that standard Newtonian physics cannot?

  • (A.) Einstein’s mathematics are able to handle the physics necessary to launching satellites and space ships, which are too complicated and dependent on relativity for Newtonian physics to handle.
  • (B.) Einstein’s mathematics are necessary in order to understand the strong and weak nuclear forces, particularly as applied to the energy production within stars and the existence of supernovas and dwarf stars.
  • (C.) Einstein’s mathematics explain the behavior of matter as it nears the center of black holes and in the seconds immediately following the Big Bang, situations in which Newtonian mathematics break down.
  • (D.) Einstein’s mathematics correct basic errors that were imbedded in Newtonian physics, and allow for complicated 20th century technology like computers, radar, and nuclear energy.

(2.) In the pre-Enlightenment Aristotelian world-view, why did objects fall to the ground and why did objects in motion slow down?

  • (A.) According to Aristotle, objects fell to the ground because they were heavier than air, and objects in motion slowed to a stop because they ran out of energy.
  • (B.) According to Aristotle, objects fell to the ground out of a desire to be reunited with the earth, and objects in motion slowed down because they became tired.
  • (C.) According to Aristotle, objects fell to the ground because they were pushed back by the gods, and objects in motion slowed down because they became tired.
  • (D.) According to Aristotle, objects fell to the ground because they were pulled back by gravity, and objects in motion slowed to a stop because of inertia.

(3.) How did Halley’s Comet shape the course of Western history according to Kaku’s history?

  • (A.) Halley’s Comet fascinated the ancient Greeks, leading to the invention of astronomy, which influenced scientists throughout the middle ages and helped develop algebra. Isaac Newton saw the comet in 1604, which led to the invention of calculus.
  • (B.) Halley’s Comet frightened invading Norman troops during the Battle of Hastings, and allowed the existing monarchy to defeat the invaders, securing the British state for the rest of the millennium. Isaac Newton later saw the comet in 1604, and was inspired to seek Edward Halley’s help in developing calculus.
  • (C.) Halley’s Comet inspired the monarchy to introduce the Magna Carta as a gift from God, and the development of democracy allowed science to flourish and universities to be established. Isaac Newton, studying at one of these universities, saw the comet in 1604 and it inspired him to prove that the Earth revolved around the sun.
  • (D.) Halley’s Comet appeared over the Battle of Hastings, frightening troops, and allowing the Normans to take over England, establishing the modern monarchy. In 1604, the comet appeared again, and led Edward Halley to meet Isaac Newton and publish Newton’s Principia.

(4.) How did Isaac Newton’s Principia revolutionize science and industry?

  • (A.) The mathematics for measuring and predicting the behavior of heavenly objects created a huge stir in society, finally toppling the last vestiges of geocentricism. Once scientists and mathematicians finally accepted this model of the cosmos, it led to a renaissance of free scientific inquiry and the invention of many industrial processes.
  • (B.) The laws of motion outlined in Newton’s Principia allowed for the creation of precise machinery that could operate under stable scientific parameters created by calculus equations. By 1800, this systemization of mechanics allowed for a giant leap in production, leading to the Industrial Revolution.
  • (C.) The laws of motion outlined in Newton’s Principia overturned Aristotelian notions of why objects fell and why objects in motion slowed. Transportation infrastructure was completely reworked in light of this knowledge, and the economy flourished, and scientific ideas spread more rapidly across Europe.
  • (D.) The concept of gravity, as outlined in Newton’s Principia and described by calculus, allowed for the production of much more accurate cannons and mortars by the English army, allowing them to dominate European conflicts for centuries, accumulating wealth and absorbing the scientific knowledge of defeated nations.

(5.) According to Faraday’s law, how is electrical current generated?

  • (A.) A moving metal wire in a magnetic field has its electrons pushed, creating an electrical current.
  • (B.) A moving metal wire in a magnetic field “steals” extra electrons from the magnet, and the excess electrons in the wire are what constitute electricity.
  • (C.) The friction created when a magnet “pulls” on a moving metal wire is diverted into a coil, and this process generates electrical current.
  • (D.) When a moving metal wire is placed in a magnetic field, electrons are stripped from the wire, breaking atomic bonds. The energy released from breaking electrons from the wire travels along a circuit and constitutes electrical current.

(6.) What did James Clerk Maxwell discover about the nature of light?

  • (A.) Maxwell calculated the velocity of the electromagnetic wave, and realized that it varied depending on how strong the magnetic or electric fields were; therefore light must also vary in speed depending on the intensity of the energy source.
  • (B.) Maxwell calculated the velocity of the electromagnetic wave, and realized that it was much slower than the speed of light; therefore light is a separate force from electromagnetism.
  • (C.) Maxwell calculated the velocity of the electromagnetic wave, and realized it matched the speed of light; therefore all electromagnetism is actually created by light from energy from the sun.
  • (D.) Maxwell calculated the velocity of the electromagnetic wave, and realized it matched the speed of light; therefore light is actually an electromagnetic wave.

(7.) What does the Standard Model describe?

  • (A.) The Standard Model fuses Newtonian mathematics with Einstein’s theory of relativity to produce the most accurate mathematical framework of physics that scientists have yet assembled.
  • (B.) The Standard Model seeks to make sense of all observable physical phenomena by positing a theoretical framework for how unobservable phenomena must operate. 
  • (C.) The Standard Model is the most accurate current conception of the structure of the universe, which arranges all know sub-atomic particles into a coherent framework.
  • (D.) The Standard Model maps out the theoretical structure of the 10-dimensions posited by advanced theories of physics like String Theory.


(8.) How do stars generate energy?

  • (A.) Stars generate energy through radioactive decay and fission governed by the nuclear forces and explained by the e=mc^2 equation.
  • (B.) Stars generate energy by constantly creating electromagnetic waves from the interplay of intense heat and a super-strong gravity field.
  • (C.) Stars generate energy by burning through their energy cores, much in the same way that a fire creates energy by burning through wood.
  • (D.) Stars generate energy by radiating heat outward from its giant mass of molten lava. 


(9.) How does String Theory complete our understanding of the physical forces of the universe?

  • (A.) String Theory lays out a theoretical framework in which all matter in the universe is connected to electromagnetic waves through subatomic strings, which allow mass to transform into energy, and vice versa.
  • (B.) String Theory provides a mathematical equation that unifies all of the forces of the universe when they break down in the milliseconds after the Big Bang and inside of black holes.
  • (C.) String Theory postulates that all matter in the universe derives mass from undiscovered graviton particles, which fill in blank spots in the Standard Model and explain dark energy.
  • (D.) String Theory posits that all matter exists on the smallest level as attached to “strings” vibrating with ultra-high frequency energy. All different kinds of matter are created by different frequencies of vibration.

(10.) How does the Big Bang factor into String Theory and the theory of the multiverse?

  • (A.) According to the String Theory model, there are many universes existing on a higher dimensional plane. Like stars, these universes form, collapse, or explode. The Big Bang that created our universe was either an explosion of a collapsing universe or the birth of a new one.
  • (B.) According to the String Theory model, there are infinite universes existing on a higher dimensional plane. When these universes collide they combine into one, and likewise a universe can fission into separate universes. The Big Bang was the result of a collision of universes on a higher dimensional plane.
  • (C.) According to the String Theory model, there are many different dimensions on a higher plane contending to occupy three-dimensional space, like multiple people trying to squeeze out a door. When a new dimension pushes through, a Big Bang happens, and a universe is created anew.
  • (D.) According to the String Theory model, the Big Bang occurred after the collapse of the universe, much like the collapse of a star can trigger a supernova. There are many other universes on a higher dimensional plane, but they all exist in isolation, exploding and collapsing on giant time scales.

Answer Key: (1.) C, (2.) B, (3.) D, (4.) B, (5.) A, (6.) C, (7.) C, (8.) A, (9.) D, (10.) B

Reading Quiz

This quiz is based on:

Course Pack: Michio Kaku, Hyperspace. (Chapters 1 - 2)

  • (1.) Which of the following statements best explains Kaku’s carp metaphor?
  • (A.) The carp in the pond are able to swim through three-dimensional space freely, while humans are restricted to horizontal movement; once humans understand higher dimensions, we will be freed to move through space-time like carp through water.
  • (B.) The carp in the pond are similar to our pre-human ancestors, given their lack of cognitive ability to understand the world around them.
  • (C.) Like the carp in the pond, humans can be scooped up by extraterrestrials, and once dumped back on Earth no one believes the stories of the abductees.
  • (D.) The carp take for granted that the entire world consists of their small pond, and all observable phenomena created by the surface world must be explained by abstract forces.

(2.) Why does the fact that light is a wave lead to higher-dimensional theory?

  • (A.) It has been demonstrated that electromagnetic wavelengths match the speed of light, implying that light is an electromagnetic wave, but there is no known mechanism for how electromagnetism actually creates light.
  • (B.) Sound waves move through air, tectonic vibrations move through the earth, and waves of water move through water, so there must be a fourth element that exists for light to move through.
  • (C.) For a wave to move, something literally has to wave; there is no substance in a vacuum to wave, therefore there must exist a higher spatial dimension in which light “waves” through the vacuum of space.
  • (D.) While light behaves like a wave based on laboratory experiments, there is no way to actually observe this wave, leading physicists to the conclusions that the wave must exist in an invisible dimension.

(3.) Which of the following descriptions best matches field theory?

  • (A.) Every point in space time possesses a numerical value describing the strength and direction of the four fundamental forces, which can be calculated with field equations.
  • (B.) Every one of the 10 dimensions postulated by hyperspace theory has its own “field,” in which the equations that govern the four fundamental forces are unique; field theory seeks to unify the equations from all 10 fields.
  • (C.) Light must move through some kind of substance in order to exhibit the wave-like properties that have been observed in labs; this substance is known as a “field” and remains theoretical.
  • (D.) During the Big Bang a super-powerful field was created that continues to push matter outward in the known universe, accounting for the expansion of space and the eventual heat death of the universe.

(4.) Which of the following statements best describes Riemann’s conceptual breakthrough in science and mathematics?

  • (A.) The Pythagorean Theorem was applicable to both two- and three-dimensional objects composed of flat surfaces, but failed when applied to curved objects; Reimann discovered how to apply the theorem to curved surfaces.
  • (B.) What were previously thought of as arbitrary but real “forces” became explainable as the result of the geometry of a higher spatial dimension; our three-dimensional world is actually a “flat” surface crumpled into a fourth dimension we cannot observe.
  • (C.) Reimann’s experiments involving electricity convinced him that light and electromagnetism were resultant from the same force; using his mathematical prowess, Reimann discovered equations that showed light and electromagnetism to be the same thing.
  • (D.) Reimann’s background and interest in religion led him to derive mathematical concepts from Genesis that effectively disproved Euclidean geometry; the natural objects of the world did not conform to Euclid’s geometric equations, as hinted at in the Bible.

(5.) Why did Reimann’s breakthroughs in mathematics fail to change the course of physics until a century later?

  • (A.) Reimann’s conceptualization of dimensional space relied on a thought experiment in which a two-dimensional race of beings exists on a plane, but many interlocutors pointed out that two-dimensional beings couldn't exist, because their digestive systems would split their bodies into pieces.
  • (B.) Reimann’s mathematics were proved beyond a doubt, but the mainstream of science and mathematics in Europe at the time refused to accept that Euclid was outmoded, and considered the concept of a fourth spatial dimension to be heretical.
  • (C.) While Reimann’s mathematics deconstructed Euclidean geometry, Reimann did not have the field equations or a physical principal that would make his work applicable to applied science.
  • (D.) The concept of a fourth spatial dimension fired up the imaginations of the public, who quickly misapplied the concept to provide evidence of the supernatural. A public trial involving a ghost-whisperer caused Reimann’s ideas to become discredited for decades.

Answer Key: (1.) D, (2.) C, (3.) A, (4.) B, (5.) C