Laughter erupted from a fully-packed UC Auditorium Thursday night, but hundreds of attendees who showed up weren't laughing.
Before Dr. Michio Kaku, a famous theoretical physicist, could lecture on the possibility of time travel, the hosting Issues Committee was forced to turn away around 1,000 hopeful attendees due to limited seating.
Committee members organized several overflow rooms on the fly, but committee member Lindsay Lee said Kaku generated an unpredictably large audience.
"From what we could tell, about 2,000 people came to the event," said Lee, a senior in math and Spanish. "We were able to seat about 850 in the event."
The Issues Committee's overflow rooms managed to nearly double the number of attendees, and despite the rough start, Kaku delivered a captivating lecture.
He discussed time travel in the context of string theory, dark matter and parallel universe theories, and the students in attendance seemed to enjoy the talk.
Anecdotes ignited the audience as their chuckles resonated throughout Kaku's stories of the paradoxical tale of Jim-Jane and his/her time travel experience, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Einstein and his driver.
Alexandra Chiasson, junior in English and another Issues Committee member, sympathized with the crowds.
"We did expect the turnout to be very high," Chiasson said. "Unfortunately, we could not have the event in a larger venue due to the other events that were scheduled long in advance ... and it's hard to work with other speakers' schedules a lot of the time."
The event's Facebook group displayed many disgruntled attendees, including one user who said he drove for an hour and a half to see Kaku and was turned away at the door.
Daniel Duk, sophomore in biological sciences, was one of many students from many different majors who attended the event.
"The talk was really mind-blowing," Duk said. "It gave me a different perspective of the world. I look at things from more of a molecular standpoint, and how everything works through chemistry, and never realized how much more there is hidden behind all this in terms of physics."
Attendees enjoyed a 30-minute Q&A, with students divided into two groups: "Non-science" and "science" lines. One student asked Kaku to explain the other eight dimensions not mentioned in his lecture.
"He was very, very humorous," Candice Kinsler, junior in physics, said. "He went into a lot of details that I've covered in my other classes, but it was interesting, especially when students actually got to ask him questions."