Interview: Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss: ‘A Universe from Nothing’

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Listen to the program at the link below.


How did the Universe arise from nothing? And what was there before?  Those are the kinds of questions that for most of us set our heads spinning — not so for renowned cosmologist LAWRENCE KRAUSS.  Krauss says that human beings have been contemplating the workings of the universe for millennia but only in recent years, with scientific advances, have we finally been able to get some answers.  Krauss lays them out in his recent book, “A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing,” which is out in paperback.

Written By: RadioTimes
continue to source article at whyy.org

16 COMMENTS

  1. I was listening to this interview at 23:58 Alaska time when a 7.5 earthquake occurred some three miles underground. I marveled at the fact that science-based bulletins were immediately issued explaining exactly when the tsunami would arrive. At 00:45 the first wave would break about 50 miles west of my location. Fortunately there was no damage and no significant tsunami.

    Sadly, I have no doubt that many of the callers that aired questions at the end of this interview would have blamed Lawrence’s godlessness for “Yahweh’s wrath.” And yet I have no doubt that if any were residents locally, they would have been glued to channel 5 (radio weather) or heeded the tsunami sirens rather than searching for an unblemished goat to sacrifice.

    Mike

  2. I liked the comment from one woman who claims she is a muslim……..the crystals that form whenever water freezes change shape based on how you talk to the water. (smacking sound of palm impacting face) I suspect she is also a believer in the claim that salt and fresh water don’t mix. Oh, the humanity.

  3. In reply to #4 by papa lazaru:

    One question I’ve been meaning to ask Lawrence,

    If something comes out of nothing, why doesn’t it all the time? :D

    Energies?

    Dunno?

    I mean by that, If ‘whole universes’ can come out of nothing.

  4. The spectacle of Krauss trying not to be rude to the reincarnationist is wonderful. A few years ago he would have responded more directly – such as “you are a delusional psychotic and should seek professional help.”

  5. Throughly enjoyed it. He is talks about complicated things so clearly. Especially liked his encouragement for all to enjoy science just like enjoying music and art without being a rock star or artist.

  6. Excellent programme ! It’s one thing to know a lot of stuff. It’s another thing entirely to make it sound easy for people like me. That ease only comes with complete mastery of the material. Well done Lawrence.

  7. going to complete the book.. explaining physics with equations, graphs etc. to a non-physicist like me is a great challenge and i guess LMK carried that out with ease (though at some places i couldn’t comprehend a bit despite hitting my head against the wall)

  8. In reply to #5 by papa lazaru:

    In reply to #4 by papa lazaru:

    One question I’ve been meaning to ask Lawrence,

    If something comes out of nothing, why doesn’t it all the time? :D

    Energies?

    Dunno?

    I mean by that, If ‘whole universes’ can come out of nothing.

    Preamble: I will be using the term ‘nothing’ with the meaning that angers philosophers. That is, what you have when you remove everything you possibly can from some space (and then maybe even get rid of the space too).

    Something comes from nothing all the time and then it goes back again. In order for this something to be noticeable this something from nothing LK talks about must happen in the correct vacuum (there are different kinds of nothing). In the right state these little nothings can get inflated into a huge space. And if the theory that predicts this is true (eternal inflation) it does happen all the time. It is happening now, although in a different place and even a different now which makes ‘now’ not so clear.

    This brings me to the last point which is these other places (where something has come from nothing in a big way) are separate universes with inflating space in between. This means we have no chance (someone always has exceptions) of measuring this. This is a very big reason that eternal inflation is debated as it makes predictions that we will very likely never be able to verify. Is this physics or metaphysics? Is this science or philosophy? I think it’s physics but that’s for another discussion.

    There are other things inflation does predict that can be verified and those things should be verified soon with with the Planck Satellite. Then we will know more about this something from nothing idea. And while I’m here I’ll throw in that this could be called “Nothing from Nothing” too. For if inflation is correct there is a way that the sum total of everything is nothing. So we have nothing to talk about, which we are doing.

    • Nothing comes from nothing. The Big Bang must have been cause by an intelligent creator.
    • Oh yeah. And what did this creator come from ?
    • Hmmm… from nothing.
    • Wait a minute. Didn’t you just say…
    • Oh, but that’s different. That’s greater than your know-it-all logic. That’s magic.

    Sure enough, magic explains everything. And does it… from nothing.

    Please Lawrence, if you read me, next time, remind them you mainly write for Muggles.

  9. In reply to #13 by Northampton:

    Preamble: I will be using the term ‘nothing’ with the meaning that angers philosophers. That is, what you have when you remove everything you possibly can from some space (and then maybe even get rid of the space too).

    We have discussed this quite a bit before, see: http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/645119-physical-nothing-v-metaphysical-nothing

    Philosophers have traditionally had an idea of “nothing” but recently physicists have shown that when you do take everything away it does not match that metaphysical idea of “that from which no thing can spontaneously arise.” In defense of the philosophers, I would mention that it was an idea that seemed to fit observations of the macro world, but could not be tested until we had tools that could go down to the quantum world.

  10. In reply to #15 by Quine:

    Philosophers have traditionally had an idea of “nothing” but recently physicists have shown that when you do take everything away it does not match that metaphysical idea of “that from which no thing can spontaneously arise.” In defense of the philosophers, I would mention that it was an idea that seemed to fit observations of the macro world, but could not be tested until we had tools that could go down to the quantum world.

    Philosophers need no defense from me. I agree with philosophers that say vacuum states are not nothing. However I do think David Albert was being far too bitchy and pedantic about Krauss’ use of the word nothing. I thought Krauss was perfectly clear about how he was using the word nothing in his book. It is important to note that the book, ‘A Universe from Nothing’, is a popular science book for the layperson. What would Albert have him call the book, ‘A Universe from Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations in an Inflaton Field with a Random Starting Potential’?

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