Go Away With … Michio Kaku


By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
November 2, 2010

Born in San Jose, Calif., and currently residing in Manhattan, scientist Michio Kaku enjoys traveling with his wife. “One of my favorite places is Germany,” says Dr. Kaku, 63. “In its glory days prior to World War II, it was ranked No. 1 in science and is known as the place that gave birth to modern quantum theory. For a scientist, it’s about as close as you could get to a sacred site.” A leading theoretical physicist, Kaku also is a television personality who hosts the Science Channel’s “Sci Fi Science.”

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Switzerland, for several reasons. First, it’s the land of Einstein and is where the theory of relativity was born. Visiting Switzerland, there is almost a sense of reverence realizing that you’re visiting his apartment in Berne. It’s amazing to think that he changed the world from this tiny apartment. Second, CERN Laboratory (located on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva) — where I hope to test the string theory — is close by. That’s my day job — trying to complete Einstein’s theory. Third, my wife skis and there’s great skiing there. Switzerland has everything — warm, welcoming people, an ancient culture and a history of tolerance. That’s why Einstein called it home. It’s the Vatican of science. Plus, it’s so beautiful with all the cottages, skiers, goats … it’s like something out of a children’s book. We love it there.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. My wife likes to go antiquing and so when we have spare time, she’ll drag me along. There are quite a few warehouses that make you think you’re in a Home Depot! We find them near Stamford, Conn., Red Bank, N.J., and Somerville, N.J. She’s definitely the antiques expert, so I tag along and learn all about porcelain and the art of making dinnerware. And this is a longer getaway, but my wife and I were in Venice, Italy, again last month and it was such a nice visit because it’s such a dream city. There’s no urban sprawl. We saw Marco Polo’s apartment. Or at least that’s what the tour guide told us. It’s like going back in a time machine because it’s an ancient city that still looks like what it did hundreds of years ago. When we visited Rome, it was spectacular, but there’s very little remnants left of the Roman Empire. Over the centuries, people scavenged and looted the marble from the Coliseum and the Forum so you may find some in people’s homes, rather than where it originally was.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. I spoke at a conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand once and we stayed at the Four Seasons and it was absolutely stunning. They spared nothing to create this palatial atmosphere.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Laptop, BlackBerry and a connection to the Internet. It’s amazing to be in a very ancient city and communicate with someone halfway around the world.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Venice, because it’s like this fairyland that’s been preserved. Geneva, Switzerland. Dresden in Germany. Moscow and St. Petersburg are just gorgeous. When you think of Russia you think of a dark, wintery surrounding. But they have some beautiful, bright cities.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. In general I would like to explore Latin America more. My wife likes to visit all the continents of the world so we love traveling together.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. The best memories were made in all the places we visited in Switzerland, and in Venice, too. Just being transported in time and meeting all the people was great. Those were wonderful trips. As for worst memories, I’m very lucky. I can’t think of any.

© 2010 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (8)

  1. Rory MCNulty says:

    Hi, my name is Rory MCNulty i am 9 years old.
    I had the therey that there are magnets in the ground.
    And i skateboard so i said to myself “i wanna step up skating.”
    So i came up with a design that i would neither get a skate deck or a regular piece of wood with a wedged back pointing up.
    and at the bottom i will put two magnets(not to strong) to push the skateboard so then it will actually be hovering.
    please write back,
    Rory MCNulty
    p.s.I live in Yonkers,N.Y. 10704 not that you need it though.

  2. I enjoy anything that Michio Kaku does on TV and have his books and have read and re-read them many times. While I hae not been to Europe, would like to see it some time in the future. Hope he enyoys his vacation. Much deserved.
    Kind personal regards
    Bruce Talmadge

  3. Jae-Ha Kim says:

    Rory and Edward, thank you both for taking the time to write. Dr. Kaku was incredibly interesting to interview–he’s not only brilliant, but also very personable.

  4. David Gomez says:

    I love Dr. Kaku’s passion for science and his ability excite non-scientific people to ponder outside of our everyday observations.

    You are very lucky to speak with him in person. I hope to meet him myself someday. I enjoyed your interview particularly because it didn’t involve any scientific questions, but rather interesting ones about Dr. Kaku’s personal experiences and preferences. Good job!


  5. Jae-Ha Kim says:

    David, thanks for the compliment! He is a fascinating man and was a pleasure to interview.

  6. aditya baraskar says:

    i am a engineering student and i love to do scientific things, Mr. Dr, KAKU and had done great work and give a new direction to the lover of physics i always watch their interview and workout report and i respectively thx to you for this interview…..
    i have’t any more word to describe him
    and thx for that report….

  7. Jae-Ha Kim says:

    Aditya, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Dr. Kaku is a fascinating man and I appreciated getting the opportunity to interview him.

  8. Minita says:

    I too am a follower of science, i always watch his youtube videos. When i think about physics and science i only think of 3 people Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Dr. Kaku. I was searching something related to his life and i found this interview where i can have a look in his personal self. I got to know that he loves traveling with his family. He is lucky to have a wife so adventurous.
    But Jae, if you can interview him one more time in the future, please do that for we are his fans. Thanks!

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