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A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing [Kindle Edition]

Lawrence Krauss , Richard Dawkins
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (812 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place.

“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?”

One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end.

Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Theoretical physicist Krauss, author of several books about physics, including The Physics of Star Trek (1995), admits up front that he is not “sympathetic to the conviction that creation requires a creator.” The book isn’t exclusively an argument against divine creation, or intelligent design, but, rather, an exploration of a tantalizing question: How and why can something—the universe in which we live, for example—spring from nothing? It’s an evolutionary story, really, taking us back to the Big Bang and showing how the universe developed over billions of years into its present form. Sure to be controversial, for Krauss does not shy away from the atheistic implications of a scientifically explainable universe, the book is full of big ideas explained in simple, precise terms, making it accessible to all comers, from career physicists to the lay reader whose knowledge of the field begins and ends with a formula few understand, E=mc². --David Pitt


''Nothing is not nothing. Nothing is something. 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 physicist Lawrence Krauss.'' --Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

''We have been living through a revolution in cosmology as wondrous as that initiated by Copernicus. Here is the essential, engrossing, and brilliant guide.'' --Ian McEwan, New York Times bestselling author

''In A Universe from Nothing, Lawrence Krauss has written a thrilling introduction to the current state of cosmology--the branch of science that tells us about the deep past and deeper future of everything. As it turns out, everything has a lot to do with nothing--and nothing to do with God. This is a brilliant and disarming book.'' --Sam Harris, New York Times bestselling author

''Astronomers at the beginning of the twentieth century were wondering whether there was anything beyond our Milky Way galaxy. As Lawrence Krauss lucidly explains, astronomers living two trillion years from now will perhaps be pondering precisely the same question! Beautifully navigating through deep intellectual waters, Krauss presents the most recent ideas on the nature of our cosmos and of our place within it. A fascinating read.'' --Mario Livio, author of Is God a Mathematician?

''In this clear and crisply written book, Lawrence Krauss outlines the compelling evidence that our complex cosmos has evolved from a hot, dense state and how this progress has emboldened theorists to develop fascinating speculations about how things really began.'' --Martin Rees, author of Our Final Hour

''A series of brilliant insights and astonishing discoveries have rocked the universe in recent years, and Lawrence Krauss has been in the thick of it. With his characteristic verve, and using many clever devices, he's made that remarkable story remarkably accessible. The climax is a bold scientific answer to the great question of existence: why is there something rather than nothing?'' --Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate and Herman Feshbach professor at MIT

''With characteristic wit, eloquence, and clarity Lawrence Krauss gives a wonderfully illuminating account of how science deals with one of the biggest questions of all: how the universe's existence could arise from nothing. It is a question that philosophy and theology get themselves into a muddle over, but that science can offer real answers too, as Krauss' lucid explanation shows. Here is the triumph of physics over metaphysics, reason and enquiry over obfuscation and myth, made plain for all to see: Krauss gives us a treat as well as an education in fascinating style.'' --A. C. Grayling, author of The Good Book

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
481 of 551 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Is Really Something! January 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss

"A Universe from Nothing" is the fascinating book about how our universe came from nothing. Using the latest in scientific knowledge, his expertise and the innate ability to explain very complex topics in accessible manner earns this book five stars. Lawrence Krauss takes us on an exciting voyage of discovery that helps us understand the universe and further whets our appetite for more knowledge. This 224-page book is composed of the following eleven chapters: 1. A Cosmic Mystery Story: Beginnings, 2. A Cosmic Mystery Story: Weighing the Universe, 3. Light from the Beginning of Time, 4. Much Ado About Nothing, 5. The Runaway Universe, 6. The Free Lunch at the End of the Universe, 7. Our Miserable Future, 8. A Grand Accident?, 9. Nothing Is Something, 10. Nothing Is Unstable, and 11. Brave New Worlds.

1. This book is truly something! A page turner.
2. A thought-provoking, inspirational quest for knowledge...I loved it!
3. A profound book that is intelligible. An achievement in its own right. Very complex topics accessible to the masses. Thank you.
4. Elegant prose with conviction. Lucid and clarity in a world of dark matter.
5. A journey of cosmological discoveries.
6. Effective use of charts and illustrations.
7. I have a much better understanding of our universe as a result of this book and most importantly it has only whet my appetite for even more knowledge...and that's why I read.
8. A love affair with science and for good reason. The three key principles of scientific ethos.
9. Startling conclusions are presented. The author does a wonderful job of letting us know what we do know versus what we don't know.
10. Some of the greatest discoveries presented.
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132 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pleasurable, rewarding and complete January 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This shorter volume from Krauss marks his transition from talented science expositor to science champion. His crisp, clear and thorough discussion combines with a strong problem-focussed narrative to make this book a deserving popular science landmark. Some discussion retraces developments in physics that Krauss meticulously covers in previous longer books but this is necessary for a one-stop treatise on one of the most important topics in modern physics. Notes and references are omitted, acceptably in my opinion considering the briefer nature of this book. The development of the topic, the provision of a context through his intimate familiarity with the work of earlier physicists, and Krauss's offhand capacity to reduce complexity and hyperbole to a well rounded paragraph make this book pleasurable, rewarding and complete.

Krauss charts the development of theories regarding the universe's dimensions, mass, energy, inflation and homogeneity, touching on the importance of quantum fluctuations, dark energy and related phenomena. With this background, he explains Perlmutter's challenge, in 1996, to Krauss's statement that empty space might contain energy. With perfect timing, this book arrives just as Perlmutter, Reis and Schmidt gain their Nobel Prizes for confirming the accelerating expansion of the universe and as WMAP experiments hint at dark photons, all grist for the mill in the universe from nothing theory.

The treat at the end of this exposition is Krauss's scenario that humanity now enjoys the best opportunity, in terms of available evidence, to understand the universe's origin, evolution and fate. During this period, albeit billions of years long, we are able to still detect cosmic background radiation and view receding galaxies before they red-shift out of existence.
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276 of 341 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A half-book and a half-pamphlet February 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A slim volume that mostly covers well-trodden ground.

On the plus side, the author's compelling demonstration that, if they are around then, cosmologists of the far future applying impeccable science will inescapably draw all the wrong conclusions about the birth and genesis of the Universe, is fascinating.
Because by then they'll be unable to observe a number of things, such as any erstwhile neighbouring galaxies which will have firmly drifted out of sight, or to perceive, let alone measure, things like the residual cosmic radiation background, or dark energy. Even if some of these cosmologists somehow stumbled upon the right, seemingly far-out ideas, applying Occam's razor rules would firmly relegate the correct scenario to the kook fringe.

A very sobering thought.

On the minus side, the author insists throughout, without providing a shred of evidence or even without really envisioning alternatives, that dark matter comes from hitherto undiscovered particles - there are however many other, exotic possible scenarios for how dark matter arises (such as, amongst other possibilities, the nearby presence of other universes from our own, within a larger multiverse) but all these other possible sources are given short shrift. Positing an a priori scenario somehow does not look like very good science.....

As a review of how matter can arise from nothingness, this book is far too slim to be comprehensive - there is, for instance, only scant treatment of the 'quantum fluctuation' scenario first championed by Trion, or of the 'colliding membranes' scenario, or for that matter of Roger Penrose's interesting recent ideas, which remain largely ignored.

In brief, an interesting book which leaves an aftertaste of somehow having an ulterior agenda, perhaps a pamphlet against mindless religiosity rather than a bona fide, purely science book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is easily comprehensible for the general public
This book is easily comprehensible for the general public. You don't need to be a science major to follow Krauss's main points. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Michael Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Krause and Dawkins together. The Dynamic Duo of reason and critical thought. It doesn't get much better than this. I just with it was longer!
Published 2 days ago by Your writing is very empowering. I love your bold characters!
3.0 out of 5 stars a few problems with that theory too
Left me a bit dissatisfied, But made me think. My only logical alternative is that since nothing can come from nothing, then we really don't exist, but there are a few problems... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Claude Berman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a real eye opener
Published 6 days ago by chanko
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the Seemingly Impossible Possible?
A very interesting book that I have recommended to a friend. It's not highly technical, so it's information that the lay reader can understand in broad terms. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Joe R. Mcauley
1.0 out of 5 stars as that makes his job easy.
Several of the other posters have shown the flaw. Krauss redefines nothing as something, as that makes his job easy.
Published 10 days ago by Battleship
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
A very readable book about some difficult physics. I could understand fairly easily and I don't read that many science books.
Published 11 days ago by TechGeek
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
You need to take your time with this book but it is worth it all.
Published 14 days ago by Olive M. Mangas-Larson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
The theory of the origins of the universe is so well explained that even a child could understand. Lawrence Krauss is such good speaker. Loved the book.😎
Published 15 days ago by Gadget Freak
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good book to try to understand things that are way over my head.
Published 16 days ago by sjbrn1
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More About the Author

I was born in New York City and shortly afterward moved to Toronto, spending my childhood in Canada. I received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics from Carleton University, and my Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.

After a stint in the Harvard Society of Fellows, I became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1985 and Associate Professor in 1988. I moved in 1993 to become Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, professor of astronomy, and Chairman of the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University In August 2008 I joined the faculty at Arizona State University as Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Director of the University's Origins Initiative. In 2009 we inaugurated this this initiative with the Origins Symposium [] in which 80 of the world's leading scientists participated, and 3000 people attended.

I write regularly for national media, including The New York Times, the Wall St. Journal, Scientific American (for which I wrote a regular column last year), and other magazines, as well as doing extensive work on radio and television. I am strongly committed to public understanding of science, and have helped lead the national effort to preserve sound science teaching, including the teaching of evolution. I also served on Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign science policy committee. In 2008 I became co-chair of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and in 2010 was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists.

I became a scientist in part because I read books by other scientists, such as Albert Einstein, George Gamow, Sir James Jeans, etc, when I was a child, and my popular writing returns the favor. One of my greatest joys is when a young person comes up to me and tells me that one of my books motivated them to become a scientist.

I believe science is not only a vital part of our culture, but is fun, and I try and convey that in my books and lectures. I am honored that Scientific American referred to me as a rare scientific public intellectual, and that all three three major US Physics Societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics, have seen fit to honor me with their highest awards for research and writing.

My research focuses on the beginning and end of the Universe. Among my contributions to the field of cosmology, I helped lead the search for dark matter, and first proposed the existence of dark energy in 1995.

When I have the chance, I love to mountain bike, fly fish, and scuba dive. I spend a tremendous amount of time on planes now, alas, and enjoy flying, but hate airports..

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Kindle version costs more than hardcover?!??
This is happening very frequently now, more-so outside the US. it is now the primary decision driver for me when selecting books. I see the purchase of a lot of used paperbacks in my future.
Jan 4, 2012 by Amazon Customer |  See all 4 posts
Foreword by Hitchens?
Hitchens was writing pretty much right up to his death. He was, in more ways than one, a tenacious writer.
Jan 14, 2012 by A. C. Trapp |  See all 4 posts
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