Accident Risks from the Cassini Space Mission
A Scientific Critique by Dr.
Abstract: If we carefully re-examine, line-by-line, the physics
analysis behind NASA's Final Environmental Impact Statement, we find that
the FEIS has consistently underestimated the possible risks of an accident
with the Cassini space mission. Originally, NASA estimated the number of
cancer fatalities from a maximum credible accident over a 50 year period
to be 2,300. We detail how this figure of 2,300 deaths could easily be
off by a factor of 100, i.e. true casualty figures for a maximum accident
might number over 200,000. Furthermore, property damage and lawsuits could
be in the tens of billions. In addition, the FEIS has over- estimated the
difficulty of using alternate sources of energy, such as solar and fuel
cells. In line with the new NASA philosophy of faster, cheaper, better,
the Cassini mission should be downsized and made into smaller, more frequent
solar-powered missions to Saturn with less power requirements.
Table of Contents:
The Cassini mission contains about 400,000 curies of plutonium-238, making
it the largest space mission ever undertaken involving plutonium power
packs (RTGs). The plutonium, about 72 pounds in weight, is distributed
in 3 RTGs, with 18 modules each. If that quantity of plutonium is somehow
dispersed into a populated environment, there is no question that such
an accident could cause significant health effects resulting in thousands
of casualties. All scientific experts are agreed on this point.
What divides the experts is:
All parties are agreed that such an event is unlikely. It may happen that
the Cassini mission may be a resounding, flawless success. However, it's
only a matter of time before some disaster strikes. Instead of relying
on misleading computer programs which tell you what you want to hear, one
should carefully examine the actual track record of accidents in the space
program, with numerous booster rocket failures and space probes which malfunction.
(a) how much plutonium can be realistically released in a maximum
credible accident and
(b) the likelihood of such an event.
Unfortunately, the true risks from such an accident and the consequences
have been downplayed. In a democracy, the American people can make rational
decisions only on the basis of scientific truth, not simplistic, misleading
press releases. It is inevitable that there will be spectacular accidents
with the space program, some involving casualties, and the American people
have a democratic right to know what the true risks are. Thus, it is a
matter of scientific interest to go over line-by-line the calculation of
NASA calculates in its FEIS that up to 2,300 people might come down
with fatal cancer over a 50 year period from the dispersal of plutonium-238
over a populated area. More recently, it has lowered this figure to 120.
However, the calculation of these figures depends on three important steps,
each of which has been underestimated by NASA:
In each category, we will show that:
the calculation of the "source term," i.e. the amount of plutonium-238
which actually escapes and is dispersed into the environment
the calculation of the land contamination area over which the plutonium-238
the calculation of the population density and how many may come down with
a) the FEIS consistently underestimates the possible risks, avoiding
the maximum credible scenarios.
b) since NASA has never conducted a full-scale test of a realistic
accident scenario, the FEIS simply makes up numbers to compensate for its
ignorance. However, the FEIS consistently fabricates these numbers in a
certain way: to arrive at the lowest casualty figures.
c) the FEIS disguises this fact by giving the results to three significant
figures, which makes the figures seem authoritative and accurate, when
in fact they are largely created by fiction. Of course, it is justified
to make estimates. But it is then standard procedure within the scientific
community to give error bars or estimates of uncertainty. However, one
immediately spots a glaring error: no uncertainties are ever given in the
FEIS, which is a serious flaw. No uncertainties are given because their
numbers are simple educated guesses, not real experimental numbers at all.
II. Calculation of Casualties from a Maximum Accident
A Launch Phase (Phase 1,5 and 6)
We will investigate all three steps for two crucial phases, the early launch
phase and the fly-by phase.
a) Source Term
The most important component of the calculation is the determination
of the "source term." The FEIS admits that plutonium will escape from the
RTGs during an accident both in the launch phase as well as the fly-by.
However, the FEIS typically concedes that only a tiny fraction of a percent
of the plutonium inventory will escape. This severely underestimates the
true impact of a maximum credible accident and results in artificially
low casualty figures. This is the main weakness of the FEIS.
The FEIS admits that plutonium in the RTGs will be subject to three
extreme conditions during a launch phase accident: high temperatures, shrapnel,
and explosive over-pressure. However, the essential problem is that NASA
engineers have failed to perform a full-scale, realistic test of an explosion
involving the RTGs.
In other areas of engineering, we have a good understanding of what
happens when many different types of catastrophes happen, e.g. plane crashes
and train wrecks, because we have a large body of experimental data. However,
we have no experimental data by which to estimate the true dispersion of
plutonium during a launch phase explosion because no realistic tests have
ever been conducted.
NASA, however, has conducted some partial tests, which already reveal
the vulnerability of the RTGs to extreme environments. The FEIS in fact,
concedes that plutonium will escape the RTGs during a launch phase explosion,
but its analysis is purely hypothetical and results in only a rough estimate.
In particular, we find:
i) High temperatures. The iridium casing surrounding the RTGs begins
to oxidize and degrade at 1,000 degrees C, and begins to melt at 2,425
degrees C. Graphite eutectic melting points are even lower: 2,269 C. Experiments
with the fuel cladding show that they may resist temperatures of about
2,360 C found in propellant fires, which is just 65 degrees below the melting
point of the iridium casing, but are expected to fail beyond that.
Several conclusions can be drawn:
The laws of thermodynamics show that there is a statistical distribution
of molecules at kinetic energies beyond the average one, given by the Maxwell-Boltzmann
distribution, indicating that structurally the iridium casing will begin
to soften and weaken even as it approaches its melting point. In other
words, the structural integrity of the iridium casing will degrade as it
approaches its melting point and make it possible for shrapnel and explosive
over-pressure to burst open the casing. Thus, the combination of temperature,
shrapnel, and over-pressure may be sufficient to burst most of the containers
Temperatures even beyond 3000 degrees C can typically be found locally
in chemical explosions and reactions (e.g. an acetylene torch typically
burns at 3,315 C). This is well beyond the melting point of the iridium
casing. As a rough estimate, we know from the Stefan-Boltzmann and Wien's
law that the color of a flame is roughly correlated with temperature, and
the color red typically found in combustive reactions (at wavelengths of
7,000 angstroms) will be correlated with temperatures of about 4,000 C.
Thus, we can expect some melting of the iridium casing due to local heating
within the fireball, although the average temperature may be lower than
the melting point.
ii) Shrapnel. Tests have shown that aluminum bullets fired at the
RTGs at velocities of 1,820 ft/sec and titanium bullets fired at l,387
ft/sec have caused a breach of containment. Edge-on fragments at velocities
as low as 312 ft/s can rupture the leading fuel clads. So even at room
temperature, we can expect high-velocity fragments to pierce the RTGs.
But at high temperatures near the melting point of iridium, where the RTG
casings are weakened by high temperatures and pressures, we can expect
shrapnel to do even more damage to the RTG casings, bursting many of them
iii) Over-pressure. Chemical explosions can cause local over-pressures
of several thousand pounds per square inch. The RTGs have been tested to
2,210 lb/ft^2 without fuel release. However, under the weakened conditions
created by high temperature, shrapnel, etc., it is not known how much can
The point is that a full-scale test involving the simultaneous conditions
of high temperature, shrapnel, and over-pressure has never been done. It
is likely that the combination of all three will cause severe rupturing
of the RTGs.
In spite of all these factors and uncertainties, the FEIS on p. 4-48
confidently concludes that a maximum of 28.7 curies, or less than .01%
of the plutonium, will escape during a launch phase accident.
Several points can be made:
This estimate is sheer speculation. The number is made up. Since no one
has ever done a full-scale test of the RTGs in the explosive environment
of a booster rocket failure, it pure guesswork as to how much plutonium
However, the estimates are given as a statement of fact, with no error
bars or indications of reliability. We have no indication of the confidence
level of this number. This is a severe statistical mistake.
The figure of 28.7 curies of plutonium is given to three significant figures,
which is rather surprising, revealing a lack of grasp of statistical analysis
on the part of the engineers. According to the laws of statistics, the
propagation of errors determines that a calculation is no more reliable
than its largest source of error. The largest source of error in this calculation
is the fact that the engineers have made up many of the numbers out of
thin air. Thus, calculating the plutonium release to three significant
figures reveals a remarkable lack of understanding of even elementary statistics.
Given the fact that the simultaneous effect of high temperature, shrapnel,
and over-pressure has never been fully tested, and given the fact that
in combination they will probably cause a large failure of the iridium
casing, a figure of 30% to 40% release is probably more realistic.
b) Area of Impact.
In typical radiological computer programs conducted by the military
and the commercial nuclear industry, the area of impact of the accident
is largely a function of wind conditions. Computer calculations involve
solving a simple second-order partial differential equation (the standard
Helmholtz equation with source term) by iterations. Because we have the
conservation of mass, the source term is the driving term within this second
order differential equation, sometimes called the diffusion equation.
In addition, actual experiments have shown that micron-sized particles
of natural uranium, U-238, can be dispersed by the wind over 25 miles.
In nuclear power plant accidents, radiation has been dispersed several
thousand miles from the original accident. (For example, in the Windscale
disaster in England in 1957, which was completely hushed up by British
authorities, the radioactive cloud emerging from the carbon-moderate reactor
was tracked going over London, sailing over the English channel, and finally
dispersing over Cairo, Egypt. More recently, the radiation from Chernobyl
was widely tracked over Europe and even the U.S.)
However, what is rather remarkable is that the FEIS totally ignores
wind conditions and merely postulates that the plutonium will be dispersed,
in one scenario, within an area of 7.18 x 10^-2 square miles. This is a
roughly a square area 1,000 feet on each side. Again, the fact that this
is presented without any error bars, and to three significant figures,
shows the ignorance of the engineers who calculated this number.
But what is revealing is that the FEIS assumes that almost all the plutonium
will be confined to the launch facility. According to the FEIS, no plutonium
is expected to leave the launch pad area. In other words, NASA engineers
have discovered a new law of physics: the winds stop blowing during a rocket
But anyone who lived through the Challenger explosion, the Delta rocket
explosion, etc., will realize that debris has been pulverized and spread
over a significant area. Eyewitness accounts of the recent Delta rocket
explosion indicated debris scattered over several miles.
In fact, experiments conducted on metal oxides have shown that a significant
percent of the inventory can be pulverized into a fine dust of micron-sized
particles, which can then be blown miles from the original site by the
winds. These micron-sized particles are especially dangerous because they
stay lodged deeply in the lungs for decades, where ciliary action is useless
in expelling these particulates. Thus, these particles can emit radiation
at close range to nearby lung tissue for decades to come, causing cancer.
c) Population density.
Yet another reason for attaining low estimates of risk is the FEIS's
assumption that the population density is rather low. In this calculation,
one problem is determining the number of person-rems which will initiate
a cancer. One can reasonably assume that 5,000 person-rems will induce
a single cancer. (Although some critics have placed the true figure as
low as 300 person-rems/cancer.)
However, what is in dispute is the fact that the FEIS assumes a rather
average density of people per square mile. This is therefore not a maximum
credible accident, which would assume that the winds blow the plutonium
into a major city.
For example, the FEIS assumes that, for a Phase 5 accident over Africa,
the expected health risk would be 1.5 x 10^-4 over a population of only
1,000 people. This is low even for Africa. Not to mention that the rocket
may misfire during the launch phase and tumble in a partial orbit, thereby
landing almost anywhere on the earth, rather than in Africa.
A Phase 1 accident would release plutonium in an area populated by only
100,000 people. But if the winds blow, then the area affected within 5
counties of the launch site could total over a million people.
B. Fly-by Phase (VVEJGA Phase)
The source of greatest concern, from the point of view of plutonium release,
is the fly-by. The Cassini probe will be whipping around the earth at around
40,000 miles per hour, significantly faster than the escape velocity of
the earth (25,000 miles per hours) and faster than many meteorites. If
there is even the tiniest miscalculation of the trajectory, the Cassini
may burn up in the atmosphere and spray a significant portion of land area
with plutonium. There is ample experimental evidence that space probes,
without heat shields, will vaporize upon re-entry. However, the FEIS again
takes a low estimate of plutonium release.
a) Source term.
The FEIS admits that about 32% to 34% of the plutonium is expected
to be released high in the atmosphere. However, the FEIS then dismisses
this factor by diluting it over the population of the entire earth. This
neglects the fact that the mixing of plutonium in the atmosphere takes
a considerable amount of time, and in the meantime it may concentrate or
hover over certain regions of the earth. This effect is ignored by the
The FEIS then calculates how much plutonium may actually land on the
earth, and again underestimates the real risks.
The FEIS first divides the source term into three parts: a rock impact,
soil impact, and water impact, and then calculates the percent distribution
of each on the planet earth. For example, the FEIS estimates that 4% will
hit rock, 21% will hit soil, and 75% will hit water.
This is a rather odd way of calculating maximum risks, because it confuses
probability of an accident with the consequences of that accident. The
calculation of how much surface area of the earth is divided into rock,
soil, and water belongs in a calculation of the probability of mishap,
not in the calculation of maximum risk.
The calculation of maximum credible risk necessarily assumes maximum
risk by definition, i.e. that all the plutonium will hit rock, since that
is the maximum credible scenario. Rather than 4% of the plutonium hitting
rock, one should assume that all of it does.
Second, the FEIS calculates the percent of plutonium that can be released
on impact with rock, soil, and water. Again, these numbers are simply pulled
out of a hat, with no justification. For example, in one scenario, it assumes
that all of the plutonium will be dispersed if it hits rock, 25% of the
plutonium hitting soil will escape, and none hitting water will escape.
However, no justification is given for these estimates, because there are
The important point is that no one has ever done an experiment calculating
the effect of entering the atmosphere with RTGs at 40,000 miles per hour.
Until this experiment is done (using a replacement for plutonium), all
these numbers are purely speculative.
b) Area of impact
The estimated land contamination for this plutonium accident is on
the order of 2,000 sq. km. That is roughly equivalent to a square about
27 miles on a side.
More recently, on April 1997, the Supplemental Environmental Impact
Statement has revised the early estimate of cancer fatalities from 2,300
to 120 (p. 2-19). This may seem strange, until one realizes that their
assumptions have become even more conservative. Instead of assuming that
land contamination can be 2,000 sq. km, the new estimate puts it at a surprisingly
small area of 7.9 sq. km. This is a square about 1.7 miles on each side.
In other words, the new EIS assumes that the Cassini probe, coming down
in flames from outer space at 40,000 miles per hour, will hit a bull's
eye and then remain there, without any winds whatsoever.
This is a remarkable reduction by a factor of 250, which once again
is pulled out of a hat, without any justification. Not surprisingly, the
casualty figures have also dropped significantly, from 2,300 to 120, a
factor of 20.
c) Population density
Again, the FEIS assumes average figures for population density, and
totally neglects the fact that there are large population concentrations
on the earth where tens of millions live. Within a 50 mile radius of Manhattan,
for example, there are about 20 million people, or about 8% of the entire
population of the U.S. Similarly, there are other concentrations of people
on the earth with even larger densities, such as around Tokyo, Mexico City,
III. Calculation of Risk
The analysis used by the EIS to calculate the probability of a maximum
accident with the Cassini mission uses methods pioneered by the nuclear
power industry (e.g. single event failures, event tree analysis, Monte
Carlo calculations, etc.)
Although these methods are standard for the field, these methods have
largely been discredited by the actual operating record of nuclear power
accidents. Three Mile Island, for example, was a Class IX accident which
was largely unforeseen by MIT's WASH-1400, the standard reference within
the industry, which largely ignored small pipe breaks.
The methodology is flawed for several reasons:
i) Human error and design flaws.
Most of the major accidents that have taken place in the past are beyond
the simple-minded event-tree analysis of the FEIS. For example, one can
design a car such that the chances of an accident approach a million to
one, with air bags, anti-lock brakes, seat belts, etc. However, this does
not foresee the fact that someone might drive this car over a cliff.
The actual track record of accidents shows that computer calculations
are often misleading and give a false sense of confidence:
The real danger is that the engineers begin to believe their own computer
calculations, which are only a guide, not a law of nature. Then they become
overconfident and fail to foresee the inevitable.
ii) GIGO. There is an expression, "garbage in, garbage out." Even
if you use the world's largest supercomputer, if your assumptions are faulty,
then your conclusions will also be faulty. For example, one can use a supercomputer
to calculate the precise number of angels that can dance on the head of
a pin. But giving you this number to three significant figures is meaningless,
since the original assumption was in question.
iii) Similarly, the basic assumption of the FEIS is that one can
model accidents on the basis of single event failures, when multiple failures,
common mode failures, human error, and design flaws have contributed to
most accidents. Unfortunately, it is beyond the power of computers to realistically
model these more complex types of accidents.
iv) Weakest link: the Titan IV
Three Mile Island was caused by human error (misreading the PORV
valve light on the control panel) and design flaws (lack of a water gauge
meter in the containment vessel and poor design of the PORV warning light).
It was not foreseen by WASH-1400, which concentrated on large pipe brakes.
The Chernobyl disaster was caused by human error, when the engineers
and managers manually disengaged the control rods. There were also design
flaws, since the carbon-moderated reactor was prone to a positive reactivity
power surge. During the accident, when a transient sent power levels rising,
the lack of a SCRAM system caused neutron levels to rise exponentially,
causing a steam/hydrogen gas explosion which blew the top the reactor.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space with incorrectly
ground mirrors. This mishap was also caused by human error. Part of the
fault, among others, lies in a worker who inserted a ruler in backwards
in Danbury, Connecticut, where the mirror was being machined, thereby making
possible an incorrect shape for the mirror. Remarkably, the flaw was later
detected, but ignored by engineers. It was not noticed until the mirror
was launched into space, causing a billion dollar public relations disaster.
Star Wars. In a well-known mishap, the Space Shuttle was conducting
a test of the Star Wars laser system, with a laser beam sent from Hawaii.
Because of human error (converting miles to meters incorrectly), the Shuttle
was oriented in space away from Hawaii, not towards it, and missed the
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link. The weakest link is the
Titan IV booster rocket, which has a failure rate of about one in 20. And
booster rockets in general have a failure rate of 1 in 70 or so. Furthermore,
there have been 3 failures among the 23 missions involving plutonium power
packs, one which released a significant amount of radiation. In fact, everyone
on the earth has a piece of the SNAP 9A satellite in their body. The SNAP
9A satellite also significantly increased the amount of plutonium-238 on
the planet earth.
v) Where does the one-in-a-million figure come from?
The FEIS typically has accident probabilities in the range of one-in-a-million.
By analyzing the calculation, one can see where this figure comes from.
One can see that most of the one-in-a-million comes from the impact of
a micrometeorite on the Cassini probe. In the FEIS, very little of the
probability comes from errors in transmission, errors from ground control,
etc. This patently violates the actual experience with space probes.
Meteorite damage is of a real concern, but human and technical flaws
are much more likely to cause failure. For example, it has been recently
estimated that the International Space Station Alpha may suffer a 50% probability
of a catastrophic meteor impact during its 15 year life span. This is certainly
a significant danger. But actual operating experience has shown that in
almost all space missions, the real danger comes from human and technical
flaws, i.e. sending the wrong instructions to space probes, failure of
transmitters and solar panels to unfurl correctly, etc. These are almost
impossible to model by computer.
vi) Furthermore, a one-in-a-million figure assumes that one million
Cassini space probes have been fired into space, and only one Cassini space
probe malfunctioned. This is clearly untrue. In other words, the table
of probability given by NASA is just a wish list. The one-in-a-million
figure is wishful thinking masquerading as reputable science.
IV. Calculation of Alternatives
The FEIS undertakes a half-hearted effort to calculate alternatives to
using plutonium. Since only 800 watts of power need to be replaced, or
the output of roughly eight light bulbs, the alternatives must be taken
There is no question that, in deep space, there is not much sunlight.
At the distance of Saturn, there is only 1% of the solar flux found on
the planet earth (in watts/sq. meter). The debate revolves around whether
solar/fuel cells can make up the 800 watts necessary to run the mission.
The FEIS on p. 2-56 claims that, if the Cassini is equipped with massive,
bulky solar panels, the probe will be 130 pounds too heavy for lift-off.
(The Titan IV can lift 13,743 pounds of payload to Saturn). However, the
calculation is incomplete, since it does not consider some simple options:
Downsize the craft. If the probe is 130 pounds overweight, then
the obvious solution is to lose 130 pounds of equipment. This means leaving
out some experiments. However, the Cassini is the Cadillac of space missions,
and a few less redundant experiments will still give us excellent science.
This may be the solution.
Conform to the new NASA philosophy. The new philosophy of NASA is
faster, cheaper, better. For example, the Mars Observer was a billion dollar
fiasco: bulky, costly, infrequent. The new Mars probes were correctly downsized;
the new strategy is to send small space craft to Mars twice every two years.
Similarly, space shots to Saturn should be downsized and made more frequent,
not less frequent, and energized by solar cells.
Cassini is therefore a left-over from the old NASA philosophy of doing
big space shots once every 10 years. Since space probes were so infrequent,
this philosophy resulted in space craft that were overloaded with experiments,
and hence the RTGs seemed a natural solution. But the new philosophy of
NASA should generate small, frequent, and cheap probes to Saturn which
are well within the capability of solar power.
Saturn is not going away. All this will cause delays, but Saturn
is not going to go away. Other windows of opportunity will open up. Given
the fact that one can whip around other planets and change trajectory,
windows of opportunities open up all the time.
Use a combination of solar/fuel cells. The FEIS only considers solar
and fuel cells separately, not in conjunction. Fuel cells can be used to
store energy when solar cells can no longer receive adequate energy from
V. Conclusion and recommendations:
We all live in a world of risks. Every day, when we enter cars or airplanes,
we place our bodies at risk. Therefore, we must be careful in how risks
But the difference with the Cassini mission is that we voluntarily put
ourselves at risk when traveling. However, no one asked the American people
if they wanted to put themselves in danger. NASA bureaucrats, not the American
people, are making this decision.
Second, if we are in a car accident, only a handful at most will die.
But no one told the American people that thousands may die if a plutonium
accident takes place.
Similarly, the FEIS justifies the figure of 2,300 cancer deaths by stating
that that figure is lost in the background cancer levels found world-wide.
This is a strange argument. That same argument can be used to justify mass
murder. Since thousands die violent deaths in the U.S., it makes no difference
if a few hundred more die by a serial killer. They will be lost in the
Of course, we all want a healthy, vibrant space program to explore the
universe. However, it should also be made safe. Since the American taxpayers
are paying for it, they have a right to know the true risks, and should
be informed of the debate concerning accident risks within the scientific
Unfortunately, the American people, being constantly told that the probability
of an accident is on the order of one in a million or a one in a billion,
will feel betrayed when a catastrophic accident does occur in space. Such
a space tragedy could cause a backlash from the American people, who will
correctly feel that they were lied to by NASA bureaucrats. This could be
the end of the space program, which would be a disaster to science.
Furthermore, there is no mention of property damage in such an accident.
The Three Mile Accident, for example, reputedly released just 13 curies
of iodine (compared to 400,000 curies in the Cassini mission) yet it generated
two billion dollars in law suits.
Even if no significant amounts of radiation are released in a plutonium
accident, property values are expected to plummet. And if significant amounts
of plutonium are released, then whole areas must be quarantined, earth
dug up and placed in 55 gallon drums, houses hosed down with fire trucks,
crops impounded, etc. That was one terrible lesson from Chernobyl. The
loss to home owners and the agribusiness in the area around the Cape could
amount to tens of billions of dollars.
Therefore, the mission of a critic is to save the space program from
Unfortunately, NASA commits the worst mistake that a scientist can ever
make: believing your own press release. A casual observer, reading the
FEIS, may be deceived into thinking that a careful analysis has been done.
But when actually reproducing the calculation, the observer will be shocked
at how many guesses, hidden assumptions, and minimizations of risks there
are in the FEIS.
A true scientist carefully writes down the error bars and the confidence
level he or she places in their figures. A careful scientist does not do
what NASA has done:
This borders on scientific dishonesty.
a) fail to perform full-scale accident tests
b) pull numbers out of hat to compensate for this ignorance
c) dress up these fake numbers with complex computer pro- grams
that cannot measure the true risks from human error, etc.
d) publish the results with an accuracy of 3 significant figures,
with no mention of error bars, confidence levels, or a list of assumptions.
It is no accident, therefore, that the FEIS comes up with consistently
low numbers for a maximum accident.
The simplest way to solve our problem is to use solar cells with fuel
cells. This will require downsizing the space craft by at least 130 pounds.
But this is also in tune with the new philosophy of faster, better, and
cheaper. The Cassini mission, however, is a relic of the old thinking of
slower, more expensive, less frequent.
A new program to explore the planets would have these probes downsized
and launched much more frequently, using non-nuclear energy sources.
In the interim, this may cost more and cause some delays, but it may
also have the lives of thousands, prevent law suits numbering in the tens
of billions, and save the space program from NASA bureaurcrats.
VI. Short biography
Dr. Michio Kaku is the Henry Semat professor of theoretical physics at
the Graduate Center of the City Univ. of New York. He is one of the world's
leading authorities on Einstein's Unified Field Theory. He is the co-founder
of string field theory. His textbooks on quantum field theory, superstring
theory, quantum gravity, and conformal field theory are used by Ph.D. students
in leading institutions around the world. He has lectured to the Soviet
Academy of Sciences in Moscow, at Oxford Univ., Cambridge Univ., Univ.
of Rome, the Univ. of Tokyo, and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
He received his B.A. in physics from Harvard in 1968. He graduated summa
cum laude (with highest honors), Phi Beta Kappa, and number one in his
He received his Ph.D. at the Radiation Laboratory at the Univ. of Calif.
at Berkeley in 1972. He was a research associate at Princeton University
in 1973, and has been a professor at CUNY for the past 25 years. He has
been a visiting professor at Cal Tech, the Institute for Advanced Study
at Princeton, and New York University.
He has published 9 books and 70 articles in the scientific literature
(including Nuclear Physics, Physical Review, Physics Letters, Physical
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and honor held by the
top 10% of physicists in the U.S.