A Universe From Nothing. What a Startling Statement!


By J.J. LaBarber
September 26, 2012

And, what an intriguing book—A Universe from Nothing—by world-renowned physicist-cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss. While Krauss “travels the heavens” for his professional pursuits, his “earthly” home is on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, where he serves as foundation professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of the Origins Project.

OK, so where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And, finally, why is there something rather than nothing? W-h-a-t?

Krauss’ provocative answers to these and other timeless questions in a wildly popular lecture now on YouTube (youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo) have attracted almost a million viewers. The last of these questions in particular has been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God. And, it’s the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God. As Krauss argues, scientists have historically focused on other, more pressing issues—such as figuring out how the universe actually functions, which can ultimately help us improve the quality of our lives.

Got it?

Now, to continue. In a cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, Krauss explains (and extremely well) the groundbreaking new scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their heads. How so? One of the few prominent scientists today to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss reveals that modern science is addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothing, with surprising and fascinating results.

The staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories are all described accessibly in A Universe from Nothing, and they suggest that not only can something arise from nothing, but something will always rise from nothing.

With his characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations, Krauss takes us back to the beginning of the beginnings, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. It will provoke, challenge and delight readers as it looks at the most basic underpinnings of existence in a whole new way. And this knowledge that our universe will be quite different in the future has profound implications and directly affects how we live in the present. As famous English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins has described it in the book’s afterword: “This could potentially be the most important scientific book with implications for supernaturalism since Darwin.”

Praise for A Universe from Nothing comes from scholars such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History: “Nothing is not nothing. That’s how a cosmos can be spawned from the void—a profound idea conveyed in A Universe from Nothing that unsettles some, yet enlightens others. Meanwhile, it’s just another day on the job for Lawrence Krauss.”

It is clear that Krauss’ provocative book will not only give some an “antidote to outmoded philosophical and religious thinking,” as he describes it, but “[it is also] a game-changing entry into the debate about the existence of God and everything that exists.”

Photo by Larry Hamel-Lambert

LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
So, who is this guy who has turned cosmological thought upside down? Hailed by Scientific American as a rare scientific public intellectual, Lawrence Krauss is the author of more than 300 scientific publications and eight books, including the best-seller The Physics of Star Trek, and the recipient of numerous international awards for his research and writing. He is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide-ranging research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics.

Krauss’ “heavenly” jaunts and sojourns have taken him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a doctorate in physics in 1982, and then on to the Harvard Society of Fellows in the same year. In 1985, he joined the physics faculty at Yale University, and then moved on to Case Western Reserve University as the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics in 1993. From 1993 until 2005, he chaired the physics department at Case. He took up his current position at Arizona State University in 2008. Krauss is also a frequent newspaper and magazine editorialist and appears regularly on radio and television.

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