Lawrence M. Krauss

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Lawrence M. Krauss
Laurence Krauss.JPG
Krauss at Ghent University, October 17, 2013
Born Lawrence Maxwell Krauss
(1954-05-27) May 27, 1954 (age 59)
New York City, New York, USA
Nationality American
Fields
Institutions
Alma mater
Known for
Spouse
  • Katherine Kelley (1980–2012; divorced, 1 child)
  • Nancy Dahl (2014–present)
Website
krauss.faculty.asu.edu

Lawrence Maxwell Krauss (born May 27, 1954) is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and director of its Origins Project.[1] He is known as an advocate of the public understanding of science, of public policy based on sound empirical data, of scientific skepticism and of science education and works to reduce the impact of superstition and religious dogma in pop culture.[2] He is also the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Krauss was born in New York City, but spent his childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[3] Krauss received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics with first class honours at Carleton University (Ottawa) in 1977, and was awarded a Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

On January 19, 1980, he married Katherine Kelley, a native of Nova Scotia. Their daughter, Lilli, was born November 23, 1984. Krauss and Kelley separated in 2010 and were divorced in 2012. Krauss married Australian/American Nancy Dahl on Jan 7, 2014.

Career[edit]

After some time in the Harvard Society of Fellows, Krauss became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1985 and associate professor in 1988. He was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, professor of astronomy, and was chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University from 1993 to 2005. In 2006, Krauss led the initiative for the no-confidence vote against Case Western Reserve University's president Edward M. Hundert and provost Anderson by the College of Arts and Sciences faculty. On March 2, 2006, both no-confidence votes were carried: 131–44 against Hundert and 97–68 against Anderson.

In August 2008, Krauss joined the faculty at Arizona State University as a Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at the Department of Physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also became the Director of the Origins Project, a university initiative.[6] In 2009, he helped inaugurate this initiative at the Origins Symposium, in which eighty scientists participated and three thousand people attended.[7]

Krauss appears in the media both at home and abroad to facilitate public outreach in science. He has also written editorials for The New York Times. As a result of his appearance in 2004 before the state school board of Ohio, his opposition to intelligent design has gained national prominence.[8]

Krauss attended and was a speaker at the Beyond Belief symposia in November 2006 and October 2008. He served on the science policy committee for Barack Obama's first (2008) presidential campaign and, also in 2008, was named co-president of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 2010, he was elected to the board of directors of the Federation of American Scientists; and in June 2011, he joined the professoriate of the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[9] In 2013, he accepted a part-time professorship at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics in the Physics Department of the Australian National University.[10]

Krauss is a critic of string theory, which he discusses in his 2005 book Hiding in the Mirror.[11] Another book, released in March 2011, was titled Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, while A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing – with an afterword by Richard Dawkins – was released in January 2012 and became a New York Times bestseller within a week. Originally, its foreword was to have been written by Christopher Hitchens, but Hitchens grew too ill to complete it.[12][13] The paperback version of the book appeared in January 2013 with a new question-and-answer section and a new preface that included material on the Higgs boson.

A July 2012 article in Newsweek, written by Krauss, indicates how the Higgs particle is related to our understanding of the Big Bang. He also wrote a longer piece in the New York Times explaining the science behind and significance of the particle.[14]

Scientific work[edit]

Krauss lecturing about cosmology at TAM 2012

Krauss mostly works in theoretical physics and has published research on a great variety of topics within that field. His primary contribution is to cosmology as one of the first physicists to suggest that most of the mass and energy of the universe resides in empty space, an idea now widely known as "dark energy". Furthermore, Krauss has formulated a model in which the universe could have potentially come from "nothing," as outlined in his 2012 book A Universe from Nothing. He explains that certain arrangements of relativistic quantum fields might explain the existence of the universe as we know it while disclaiming that he "has no idea if the notion [of taking quantum mechanics for granted] can be usefully dispensed with.".[15] As his model appears to agree with experimental observations of the universe (such as of its shape and energy density), it is referred to as a "plausible hypothesis".[16][17]

Initially, Krauss was skeptical of the Higgs mechanism. However, after the existence of the Higgs boson was confirmed by CERN, he has been researching the implications of the Higgs field on the nature of dark energy.[18]

Atheist activism[edit]

Krauss is an atheist activist and self-described antitheist.[19] Krauss has participated in many debates with theologians and apologists, including Hamza Tzortzis[20] and William Lane Craig.[21] The debate with Tzortzis resulted in controversy when Krauss complained to the Muslim organisers about the gender segregation of the audience; he only stayed when men and women were allowed to sit together.[22] Later, the audience protested at his comment that it's "not clear" to him that incest is objectively wrong, saying that he wouldn't recommend it but may listen to rational arguments concerning the objective morality of such acts.[23]

Krauss also featured in a full-length documentary entitled The Unbelievers, in which he and Richard Dawkins travel across the globe speaking publicly about the importance of science and reason as opposed to religion and superstition. They also interview prominent figures such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Cameron Diaz, Sam Harris, and Stephen Hawking.[24]

In his book, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing (2012), Krauss discusses the premise that something cannot come from nothing, which has often been used as an argument for the existence of an uncaused cause, or creator. He has since argued in a debate with John Ellis and Don Cupitt that the laws of physics allow for the universe to be created from nothing. "What would be the characteristics of a universe that was created from nothing, just with the laws of physics and without any supernatural shenanigans? The characteristics of the universe would be precisely those of the ones we live in." [25] In an interview with The Atlantic, however, he states that he never made the claim that "questions about origins are over." According to Krauss, "I don't ever claim to resolve that infinite regress of why-why-why-why-why; as far as I'm concerned it's turtles all the way down." [26]

Honors[edit]

Krauss is one of the few living physicists described by Scientific American as a "public intellectual"[17] and he is the only physicist to have received awards from all three major American physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. In 2012, he was awarded the National Science Board's Public Service Medal for his contributions to public education in science and engineering in the United States.[27]

During December 2011, Krauss was named as a non-voting honorary board member for the Center for Inquiry.[28]

Media[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

Krauss has authored or co-authored more than three hundred scientific studies and review articles on cosmology and theoretical physics. His popular books include:

Documentary films[edit]

Television[edit]

Awards[edit]

Krauss (right) during TAM9 in 2011, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Pamela Gay.

References[edit]

  1. ^ People | Origins
  2. ^ Krauss, Lawrence (June 1, 2010). "Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous". Scientific American. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Dr. Krauss was reared in a Jewish household, but religion was always considered the root of tradition and social machination rather than as a source of ideas." Physicist Lawrence Krauss on Our Cosmic Origins, the Beauty of Science, and Outgrowing Religion. Onbeing.org, August 17, 2012
  4. ^ "Lawrence M. Krauss , BSc / 77". http://www.cualumni.carleton.ca. Carleton University Alumni Association. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Alumni/ae Notes - MIT". http://www.web.mit.edu. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2003. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Krauss, Lawrence. "Curriculum Vitae". Arizona State University. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Origins Symposium 2009". Arizona State University - Origins Project. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ Ratliff, Evan. 2004. "The Crusade Against Evolution." 12 (October): 157–161.
  9. ^ "The professoriate", New College of the Humanities, accessed June 8, 2011.
  10. ^ "Renowned cosmologist makes ANU a long-term fixture". Australian National University. May 31, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ Boutin, Paul (November 23, 2005). "Theory of Anything? Physicist Lawrence Krauss Takes On His Own". Slate. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Afterword from Lawrence Krauss' New Book - A Universe From Nothing - Richard Dawkins - RDFRS". RichardDawkins.net. January 16, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  13. ^ Overbye, Dennis, There's More to Nothing Than We Knew, New York Times, D1, February 21, 2012
  14. ^ Krauss, Lawrence M. (July 9, 2012). "How the Higgs Boson Posits a New Story of our Creation". Newsweek (The Daily Beast). Retrieved July 18, 2012. "The Higgs particle is now arguably more relevant than God." 
  15. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/a-universe-from-nothing-by-lawrence-m-krauss.html?_r=0
  16. ^ Boutin, Paul (November 23, 2005). "Theory of Anything? Physicist Lawrence Krauss Takes on His Own". Slate. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Dreyfus, Claudia (August 2004). "Questions That Plague Physics: Lawrence Krauss Speaks About Unfinished Business". Scientific American. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 061802 (2013): Higgs Seesaw Mechanism as a Source for Dark Energy
  19. ^ "I cannot hide my own intellectual bias here. As I state in the first sentence of the book, I have never been sympathetic to the notion that creation requires a creator. And like our late friend, Christopher Hitchens, I find the possibility of living in a universe that was not created for my existence, in which my actions and thoughts need not bend to the whims of a creator, far more enriching and meaningful than the other alternative. In that sense, I view myself as an anti-theist rather than an atheist." Krauss, Lawrence M., Everything and Nothing: An Interview with Lawrence M. Krauss. Samharris.org, January 3, 2012
  20. ^ "The Big Debates: Islam or Atheism - Which Makes More Sense? Lawrence Krauss & Hamza Tzortzis". YouTube. iERA. March 29, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Is There Evidence for God? William Lane Craig vs Lawrence Krauss". YouTube. Reasonable Faith. April 24, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Brits too afraid of 'aggressive' Muslims, says US academic". The Week. March 15, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Is incest wrong?". Godless Business. March 16, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  24. ^ "THE UNBELIEVERS Official Trailer (Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss)". Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. February 8, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  25. ^ Krauss, Lawrence. "Why is there something rather than nothing". IAI. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  26. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/has-physics-made-philosophy-and-religion-obsolete/256203/
  27. ^ University of Texas at Austin. The M.E.L. Oakes Undergraduate Lecture Series
  28. ^ "Krauss Named Honorary Board Member". Center for Inquiry. December 15, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Lawrence Krauss - Publications". Arizona State University. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  30. ^ "AAAS Public Engangement with Science Award Recipients". http://www.aaas.org/. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize". http://www.aps.org. American Physical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Gemant Award Winners". http://www.aip.org. American Institute of Physics. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Elections". http://www.aps.org. American Physical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  34. ^ "The Oersted Medal". http://www.aapt.org. American Association of Physics Teachers. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Joseph A. Burton Forum Award". http://www.aps.org. American Physical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Randi, Krauss, Kurtz Honored with Major Awards". http://www.csicop.org. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Physics World Book of the Year 2011". December 19, 2011. 
  38. ^ "The National Science Board Announces Recipient of the 2012 Public Service Award". https://www.nsf.gov/. The National Science Foundation. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  39. ^ "ASU's Krauss receives Rome's most prestigious cultural award". https://www.asu.edu. ASU News. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  40. ^ "International Academy of Humanism". https://www.secularhumanism.org. Council for Secular Humanism. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 

External links[edit]