If I remember correctly, childhood consisted of wanting what could not be achieved.
(Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir)
Physicist Michio Kaku says that we all have a moment of revelation about what we want to do in the future around 10 years.
“Some Christmases they give us a microscope, a book about the cosmos, a box of watercolours, a computer, or we see something in a movie that moves us to the point of wanting to dedicate our lives to it.”
In the case of scientist Michio Kaku, it was the news of the death of the most important physicist of the 20th century Albert Einstein which revealed his genius.
The television said that Einstein had left an unsolved problem. The best physicist in the world had not been able to solve his last problem.
What problem will that be, thought the 10-year-old boy Michio? He decided that he was going to solve that problem and so he told his parents.
Mr. Kaku is today a highly recognized worldwide theoretical physicist specializing in string field theory, which argues that everything is related in the universe. Everything is a universal dance.
Michio was left to dream, to be a happy child, to be excited to see what the future would be like and to be passionate about science. His family, Japanese immigrants in the United States, did not cut his wings or dissuade him from looking for another way.
Not even when at the time of Secondary school he built a homemade particle accelerator that made the lights of the whole house flash every time he started it up.
This passion made him bring out the best of himself, drawing the attention of scientist Edward Teller, who granted him a scholarship that allowed him to continue his studies. Today, Mr. Kaku is a science popularizer and teaches physics at the university.
Following that unique revelation when he was 10 years old, led him to imagine and invent his own future, as he had seen in the Flash Gordon episodes of his childhood.
That is why he keeps telling his students to be excited. That they should look for what they are passionate about. That the future of humanity is optimistic, and that we are moving towards a peaceful civilization based on knowledge and technology.
He also maintains that the greatest threat of that optimistic future, of knowledge and of the scientific mind is the educational system. That forces young people to stay long hours studying and memorizing data that bores them and discourages them.
When they ask Mr. Kaku what his study and research process is like, he answers the following:
I need to get up, look out the window, “see the equations floating in my head.” It’s like the process of a musician or a composer … The notes are coming. You walk, you are silent or you see a landscape that inspires you and you start to create the melody in your head.
Then it is time to sit down and capture it. To be focused and have “butt power” (the force of “sitting on the butt”) as he says to his students.
So Michio Kaku has his rhythm, respects it, does what he loves. Trust the creative process and also trust the future when you feel focused on catching and solving your flying equations.
Once developed on paper, studied and dissected, Michio returns to the window. Distract the mind until the music returns.
The future is not invented. It depends on all of us. To let the children dream so that they have their moment of revelation. And keep that spark of genius all your life.
It also depends on looking into the eyes of our present unhappiness, our frustrations and insecurities. Recognize them and see that:
They are something independent of our children. But, as field theory maintains, they are connected with them and their optimistic and happy future.
Michio Kaku interview (in English): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGulK44YaOM