Science | April 5, 2021 11:30 am

Contacting Aliens Is a Bad Idea, Says Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku

Kaku is the co-founder of string field theory

UFO Parking
Is there life elsewhere in the galaxy? The answer to that might be more worrying than we'd like to think.
Michael Herren/Unsplash

How is all of space and time organized? Or — to borrow a term from the late Douglas Adams — what’s the meaning of life, the universe and everything? For most of us, those are eminently theoretical questions. For Michio Kaku, professor at the City College of New York and co-founder of string field theory, they’re essential to a life’s work. Kaku’s most recent book is The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything; as its title suggests, it touches on a number of subjects.

All of which might help explain why Kaku ended up talking with The Guardian about — among other topics — extraterrestrials. For the record, Kaku argues that we’re likely to make contact with an alien civilization in the next hundred years. He’s less than optimistic, however, about how that might work out.

“There are some colleagues of mine that believe we should reach out to them. I think that’s a terrible idea,” Kaku said. “We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortés in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago.”

Kaku went on to state his personal belief that aliens humanity might encounter would be benign — but nonetheless, he urges caution. Which, whether you’re an eminent scientist or someone who’s watched a lot of science fiction movies, seems like a prudent measure.

The whole interview, which touches on subjects from Isaac Newton to religion, is well worth a read. But for those who ponder whether or not aliens are out there, Kaku’s comments on life elsewhere in the galaxy might hit home the most.

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