I had lunch with Ethan Zuckerman yesterday, and we were talking about technology and communicating science to a mass audience, and Michio Kaku came up. Specifically, the fact that he’s prone to saying stuff that’s just flat wrong, if not batshit crazy– see this angry post from 2010 for an example.
It was amusing, then, to return to my RSS reader and find first Sean Carroll and then Matt Strassler expressing outrage and annoyance over some incredibly dumb things Kaku said about the Higgs Boson. My initial reaction was along the lines of “Yeah, welcome to the club,” but I suspect that that’s part of the problem. Kaku is called by different media organizations to talk about such a wide range of topics that, while he consistently says wrong things about whatever he’s talking about at that particular moment, he’s usually only pissing off one subfield at a time, and the rest of science happily ignores him.
So as a small step in the direction of unity, let me offer this: Sean and Matt are absolutely right. That stuff about the Higgs is just gibberish. I’m not even a particle physicist, and I know that. And the next time I see, say, astronomers or biologists complaining about something dumb Kaku says, I’ll try to add my voice there as well. What we really need is a “Michio Kaku Is Always Wrong” Tumblr or something, but I’m not the guy for that.
For any readers who happen to work for media companies, let me also offer this: I will work at least as cheaply as Kaku does, and will promise to be at least 90% less wrong about everything. Granted, I’m not physically located in Manhattan, so it’ll take a bit more lead time, but not that much, especially given the order of magnitude improvement in accuracy. Call me, I’ll be happy to talk.