A Universe from Nothing
|Author||Lawrence M. Krauss|
|January 10, 2012|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Softcover), e-book|
|LC Class||QB981 .K773 2012|
|Preceded by||Quantum Man|
|Followed by||The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far|
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing is a non-fiction book by the physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, initially published on January 10, 2012 by Free Press. It discusses modern cosmogony and its implications for the debate about the existence of God. The main theme of the book is how "we have discovered that all signs suggest a universe that could and plausibly did arise from a deeper nothing—involving the absence of space itself and—which may one day return to nothing via processes that may not only be comprehensible but also processes that do not require any external control or direction."
The book ends with an afterword by Richard Dawkins in which he compares the book to On the Origin of Species — a comparison that Krauss himself called "pretentious". Christopher Hitchens had agreed to write a foreword for the book prior to his death but was too ill to complete it. To write the book, Krauss expanded material from a lecture on the cosmological implications of a flat expanding universe he gave to the Richard Dawkins Foundation at the 2009 Atheist Alliance International conference. The book appeared on The New York Times bestseller list on January 29, 2012.
In The New York Times, philosopher of science and physicist David Albert said the book failed to live up to its title; he said Krauss dismissed concerns about what Albert calls his misuse of the term nothing, since if matter comes from relativistic quantum fields, the question becomes where did those fields come from, which Krauss does not discuss.
Ray Jayawardhana, Canada Research Chair in observational astrophysics at the University of Toronto, wrote for The Globe and Mail that Krauss "delivers a spirited, fast-paced romp through modern cosmology and its strong underpinnings in astronomical observations and particle physics theory" and that he "makes a persuasive case that the ultimate question of cosmic origin – how something, namely the universe, could arise from nothing – belongs in the realm of science rather than theology or philosophy".
In New Scientist, Michael Brooks wrote, "Krauss will be preaching only to the converted. That said, we should be happy to be preached to so intelligently. The same can't be said about the Dawkins afterword, which is both superfluous and silly."
Commenting on the philosophical debate sparked by the book, the physicist Sean M. Carroll asked, "Do advances in modern physics and cosmology help us address these underlying questions, of why there is something called the universe at all, and why there are things called 'the laws of physics,' and why those laws seem to take the form of quantum mechanics, and why some particular wave function and Hamiltonian? In a word: no. I don't see how they could."
- Reynosa, Peter (2016-04-12). "Some of the Changes Lawrence M. Krauss Should Make to the Second Edition of "A Universe From Nothing"". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
- Krauss, Lawrence M. (2012). A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. New York: Free Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-4516-2445-8.
- Andersen, Ross (2012-04-23). "Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete?". theatlantic.com. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Krauss, Lawrence. "Afterword from Lawrence Krauss' New Book – A Universe From Nothing". excerpt. richarddawkins.net. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Lawrence Krauss's 2009 lecture A Universe from Nothing
- "Non Fiction Best Sellers". The New York Times. January 29, 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Albert, David (25 March 2012). "On the Origin of Everything". The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Scharf, Caleb (25 January 2012). "Cosmology: Plucked from the vacuum". Nature. 481 (7382): 440. Bibcode:2012Natur.481..440S. doi:10.1038/481440a.
- Jayawardhana, Ray (17 February 2012). "A Universe From Nothing, by Lawrence Krauss". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- Brooks, Michael (14 January 2012). "The paradox of nothing". New Scientist. 213 (2847).
- Carroll, Sean (April 28, 2012). "A Universe from Nothing?". Cosmic Variance Blog. Discover magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2018.