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Popular Physicist Talks Science in Mass Effect 2

| 23 Mar 2010 15:53

The science in Mass Effect 2 isn't entirely beyond the realm of the possible, according to theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, but don't expect humanity to be criss-crossing the stars anytime soon.

Mass Effect 2 is a rollicking adventure across the stars, but just how solid is the sci in the fi? Dr. Michio Kaku, a "famed futurist, physicist, bestselling author and radio & television personality" (so says his website) recently sat down with GameTrailers to talk about some of the theories behind the science in BioWare's futuristic galaxy and while most of it goes way over my head, he does a pretty good job of making it sound not entirely implausible.

Topics of discussion range from the practicality of personal cloaking devices, which Kaku says may be only a few decades off, to the composition of the universe itself, which is a bit more complicated. Fortunately, the good doctor is quite adept at tailoring his explanations to the non-string theorists in the crowd, although dumbing down concepts that are already highly theoretical does have the result of leaving things just a wee bit on the vague side.

Consider: "It may be possible to harness something called negative matter. Negative matter is perhaps the dilithium crystals of Star Trek, perhaps the spice of the Dune series. It allows us to open gateways through the fabric of space and time," he explains at one point. "Einstein's equations have a loophole. When you put negative matter into Einstein's equations, then space and time curl up into knots. Time wraps up into a pretzel. So it may be possible to build gateways. We're not sure how stable these gateways would be, but perhaps negative matter is the 'mass effect.'"

Hey, it makes sense when he says it. But don't expect any of these advances to arrive in time to do you any good: According to Kaku, the ability to actually roam the stars is still centuries away.

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