Lawrence M. Krauss

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Not to be confused with economist Lawrence B. Krause.
Lawrence M. Krauss
Laurence Krauss.JPG
Krauss at Ghent University, October 17, 2013
Born Lawrence Maxwell Krauss
(1954-05-27) May 27, 1954 (age 61)
New York, New York, USA
Nationality American
Alma mater
Thesis Gravitation and phase transitions in the early universe (1982)
Doctoral advisor Roscoe Giles[1]
Known for
Notable awards Andrew Gemant Award (2001)
Lilienfeld Prize (2001)
Science Writing Award (2002)
Oersted Medal (2004)
  • Katherine Kelley (1980–2012; divorced, 1 child)
  • Nancy Dahl (2014–present)

Lawrence Maxwell Krauss (born 27 May 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.[2]

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 influence of what he opines as superstition and religious dogma in popular culture.[3]

Krauss is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek (1995) and A Universe from Nothing (2012), and chairs the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Board of Sponsors.[4]


Early life and education[edit]

Krauss was born in New York City, but spent his childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[5] 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.[6][7]

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 January 7, 2014, and spends some of the Arizona summer in Australia at the Mount Stromlo Observatory.[8][9]


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.[10] In 2009, he helped inaugurate this initiative at the Origins Symposium, in which eighty scientists participated and three thousand people attended.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[9]

Krauss is a critic of string theory, which he discusses in his 2005 book Hiding in the Mirror.[14] Another book, released in March 2011, was titled Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, while A Universe from 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.[15][16] The paperback version of the book appeared in January 2013 with a new question-and-answer section and a preface integrating the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC.

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.[17]

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".[18] 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".[19][20]

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.[21]


Krauss has argued that public policy debates in the United States should have a greater focus on science,[22][23][24][25] and that the public have a right to scrutinize the religious beliefs of Presidential candidates in the ways that they relate to public policy.[26][27]

Krauss describes himself as an antitheist[28] and takes part in public debates on religion. Krauss featured in the 2013 documentary 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. The documentary also contains short clips of prominent figures such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Cameron Diaz, Sam Harris, and Stephen Hawking.[29] He has participated in many debates with religious apologists, including William Lane Craig and Hamza Tzortzis.[30]

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 a Prime mover. 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." [31] In an interview with The Atlantic, however, he states that he has never claimed 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."[32]


Krauss is one of the few living physicists described by Scientific American as a "public intellectual"[20] 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.[33]

During December 2011, Krauss was named as a non-voting honorary board member for the Center for Inquiry.[34]


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



  • 100 Things to Do Before You Die (plus a few to do afterwards). 2004. Profile Books.
  • The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? 2009. Yale Press.


  • A dark future for cosmology. 2007. Physics World.
  • The End of Cosmology. 2008. Scientific American.
  • The return of a static universe and the end of cosmology. 2008. International journal of modern physics.
  • Late time behavior of false vacuum decay: Possible implications for cosmology and metastable inflating states. 2008. Physical Review Letters.
  • Krauss, Lawrence M. (June 2010). "Why I love neutrinos". Scientific American 302 (6): 19. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0610-34. 


Documentary films[edit]




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


  1. ^ "Alumni notes" (PDF). MIT. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "People | Origins". Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ Krauss, Lawrence (June 1, 2010). "Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous". Scientific American. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Board of Sponsors". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Rachel Bronson. 
  5. ^ "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., August 17, 2012
  6. ^ "Lawrence M. Krauss , BSc / 77". Carleton University Alumni Association. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Alumni/ae Notes - MIT" (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2003. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  8. ^ Lawrence Krauss interviewed on the TV show Triangulation on the network
  9. ^ a b [Archive copy at the Wayback Machine "Renowned cosmologist makes ANU a long-term fixture"] Check |url= scheme (help). May 31, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Krauss, Lawrence. "Curriculum Vitae". Arizona State University. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Origins Symposium 2009". Arizona State University - Origins Project. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  12. ^ Ratliff, Evan. 2004. "The Crusade Against Evolution." 12 (October): 157–161.
  13. ^ "The professoriate", New College of the Humanities, accessed June 8, 2011.
  14. ^ Boutin, Paul (November 23, 2005). "Theory of Anything? Physicist Lawrence Krauss Takes On His Own". Slate. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Afterword from Lawrence Krauss' New Book - A Universe From Nothing - Richard Dawkins - RDFRS". January 16, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ Dennis Overbye (Feb 21, 2012) "There's More to Nothing Than We Knew", New York Times p.D1
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Boutin, Paul (November 23, 2005). "Theory of Anything? Physicist Lawrence Krauss Takes on His Own". Slate. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Dreyfus, Claudia (August 2004). "Questions That Plague Physics: Lawrence Krauss Speaks About Unfinished Business" (PDF). Scientific American. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 061802 (2013): Higgs Seesaw Mechanism as a Source for Dark Energy". August 7, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  22. ^ Nina Burleigh (12 Aug 2015). "It's Time for Presidential Candidates to Talk About Science". Newsweek. “Leading the national discussion requires some basic knowledge of what the important issues are, what is known and not known, and what new efforts need to be commenced,” says physicist Lawrence Krauss. “Scientific data is not Democratic or Republican.” 
  23. ^ Lawrence Krauss on Science Debate. YouTube. February 23, 2008. 
  24. ^ Lawrence M Krauss; Shawn Lawrence Otto (20 Mar 2012). "Americans Deserve a Presidential Science Debate". Huffington Post. 
  25. ^ "Lawrence Krauss - The LHC, going to Mars, and the US Presidential campaign". The Science Show. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 Sep 2008. Too little of the US presidential campaign mentions science, says Krauss, considering its importance. 
  26. ^ Lawrence Krauss (28 Sep 2015). "Ben Carson’s Scientific Ignorance". The New Yorker. 
  27. ^ "Krauss: ‘A High School Biology Student’ Would Fail With Dr. Carson’s Science Knowledge". Alan Colmes Show. Fox News Radio. 5 Oct 2015. 
  28. ^ "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., January 3, 2012
  29. ^ "THE UNBELIEVERS Official Trailer (Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss)". Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. February 8, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  30. ^ A universe from nothing? Putting the Krauss-Craig debate into perspective by Luke Barnes, August 13, 2013
  31. ^ Krauss, Lawrence. "Why is there something rather than nothing". IAI. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  32. ^ Goldstein, Dana (April 23, 2012). "Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete? - Ross Andersen". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ University of Texas at Austin. The M.E.L. Oakes Undergraduate Lecture Series
  34. ^ "Krauss Named Honorary Board Member". Center for Inquiry. December 15, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Lawrence Krauss - Publications". Arizona State University. Retrieved August 14, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Interview with Lawrence Krauss". Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Dark Matter and Inflation*". December 2014. 
  39. ^ "AAAS Public Engangement with Science Award Recipients". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize". American Physical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Gemant Award Winners". American Institute of Physics. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Elections". American Physical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  43. ^ "The Oersted Medal". American Association of Physics Teachers. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Joseph A. Burton Forum Award". American Physical Society. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Randi, Krauss, Kurtz Honored with Major Awards". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Physics World Book of the Year 2011". December 19, 2011. 
  47. ^ "The National Science Board Announces Recipient of the 2012 Public Service Award". The National Science Foundation. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  48. ^ "ASU's Krauss receives Rome's most prestigious cultural award". ASU News. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  49. ^ "International Academy of Humanism". Council for Secular Humanism. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  50. ^ Arizona State University News, accessed April 22, 2014
  51. ^ "From B-modes to quantum gravity and unification of forces*". International Journal of Modern Physics D 23 (12). 2014. doi:10.1142/S0218271814410016. 
  52. ^ "Krauss named Humanist of the Year". ASU News. 

External links[edit]