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A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  24,425 ratings  ·  1,367 reviews
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 sc
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Hardcover, 204 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Atria Books (first published 2012)
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Pax Rasmussen Yes, he very much uses data and empirical evidence. At no point does he EVER indicate that the data presented indicates a foolproof, ironclad case tha…moreYes, he very much uses data and empirical evidence. At no point does he EVER indicate that the data presented indicates a foolproof, ironclad case that the universe came from nothing: Just that the data indicates that it's within the realm of possibility. In fact, one of the things I like best about this book is that Lawrence goes to great pains to make sure that the reader doesn't get the idea that he's claiming that science has figured out these answers beyond a doubt. With each claim he makes, he provided ample evidence, both of the theoretical and experimental kind.(less)

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Riku Sayuj
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Manjunath Muddaraju

Krauss has managed to draw an almost perfect normal curve (Bell Curve) with this book as far as engagement and content is concerned.

The Start of the Curve

It starts slow by promising us a full whirlwind historic tour from Galileo to CMBR and beyond and takes its own sweet time getting to even Einstein and then dwells on the most known aspects of modern science as if no one has heard of all that before.

The Rise

Then as I was contemplating postponing the book for some future date, Krauss suddenly
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Manny
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in Big Questions
Point/Counterpoint

A Nice Brief Account Of The Inflation/Ω/Dark Energy Thread

Krauss, who was personally involved in some of the work and knows all the key actors, does a fine job of summarising progress in cosmology over the last fifteen years. The most significant development, needless to say, has been the discovery of Dark Energy. Krauss presents the background and shows why it wasn't quite as unexpected as has often been made out; he was one of the few people to have predicted it, though it so
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B Schrodinger
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physics, science
I guess everyone could have predicted that I would give this book 5 stars, if not at least agree with it's theories. Being a forthright atheist and scientist I was bound to love this book right? Well that argument could be made, but I refer you to my ratings for other atheist works such as "The God Delusion", which I must admit deserves a reread and possibly an updated higher score in retrospect, and Hitchens' "God is Not Great" which I thought was relatively poorly argued due to being essential ...more
Greg
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
One thing is certain, however. The metaphysical 'rule', which is held as an ironclad conviction by those whom I have debated the issue of creation, namely that "out of nothing nothing comes," has no foundation in science. Arguing that it is self-evident, unwavering, and unassailable is like arguing, as Darwin falsely did, when he made the suggestion that the origin of life was beyond the domain of science by building an analogy with the incorrect claim that matter cannot be created or destroyed. ...more
Bharath
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is a deep sense of curiosity in most of us on how the universe came to be. If we manage to determine that, it would be the pinnacle of human intellect & achievement, I think. Lawrence argues in the book how science has progressed enough to explain how the universe grew from ‘Nothing’. A note of warning though – this ‘Nothing’ assumes the existence of space and the laws of physics already being in place. This (as the author notes as well), is not the ‘Nothing’ many of us will assume this to ...more
David
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to David by: Gendou
Shelves: astronomy, science
This is a short, entertaining and informative book, written by a leading cosmologist. Lawrence Krauss describes, step by step, the observational evidence for the expansion of the universe, the existence of dark matter, and dark energy. He clearly describes the differences between a closed, open, and a flat universe, and shows the the reasons why we probably live in a flat universe. I had never understood before reading his explanation, how the spatial scales of variability of the cosmic microwav ...more
Lilo
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone interested in theoretical physics
As a layperson, I don’t feel qualified to review a scientific book written by a renowned professor of theoretical physics. But here are a few thoughts I had during and after reading this book:

Upfront I must confess that I did not fully understand the contents.

What, for instance, is a “flat universe”? O.k., you can blow up a balloon, and the more you blow it up, the less curvature its surface will have. Fine! But will it ever get totally flat? Just try it. I’ll bet you anything that it will burs
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Book
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
If you like my review please don't hesitate to like my amazon review too. I appreciate it...it's a wonderful book.


A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss

“A Universe from Nothing" is the fascinating book about how are 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 u
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Bettie
Description: A wildly popular lecture now on YouTube has attracted almost a million viewers. One question in particular has been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, and it's the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God. As Krauss argues, scientists have, however, historically focused on other, more pressing issues such as figuring out how the universe actually functions, which can ultimately help us to improve the quality of o ...more
Karl-O
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it
2.5 Stars

The idea of a an Unmoved Mover or better still a First Cause is fascinating. Just to think that everything has a cause(s) which itself has a cause(s) takes one to a journey backward which we may well be ill equipped to take. This book didn't do much in that domain however, but it rather explained our recent understanding of the cosmos and how from "nothingness" (though with quantum fluctuation which makes the whole idea of Krauss' "nothingness" problematic) a whole universe can come int
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Simcha York
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Lawrence Krauss's A Universe from Nothing appears to have been done a serious disservice by the author, the editor, or both in that what would otherwise be a decent enough (though not particularly groundbreaking) work of popular science has been press-ganged into the tired ranks of writings on the God Wars. While I haven't yet read a book from either side of this debate that adds anything really worthwhile to a discussion which is largely sophmoric and whose actors seem to spend most of their ti ...more
BetseaK
This book failed short of my expectations. The subject was interesting but its exposition lacked clarity due to inconsistencies of all kinds. Regarding the semantic ones, allow me to paraphrase the author: There is no such thing as 'nothing' because 'nothing' is 'something', namely 'nothing' is 'empty space' that is not really empty but 'a boling brew of virtual particles that we cannot see directly'. And, though nothing can travel faster than c, about 70% of that seemingly empty space, termed a ...more
Max
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physics
I found Krauss’s book totally engaging. His style is challenging but not overwhelming. His arguments for how the universe was created from “nothing” were convincing. The critical term is “nothing”. What nothing is may seem obvious, but Krauss shows us why it isn’t. He takes us back to the very beginning, the Big Bang. How did it start: Quantum fluctuations, false vacuum or just a potentiality? So something if no more than physical rules for the event to originate seem to have existed. Although K ...more
Tanja Berg
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cosmology, science
This book surprised me with its readability. I didn't feel like I was an average 5th grader taking a university course in physics ALL the time, although I do admit that somethings were above my head. If I ever want to learn anything outside of my current capability, obviously it's not going to come easy. This was very accessible though.

"Quantum fluctuations, which otherwise would have been completely invisible, get frozen by inflation and emergy afterward as density fluctuations that produce eve
...more
Alex J. O'Connor
Feb 01, 2017 added it
Recommends it for: Science enthusiasts
A great book outlining the history of cosmology. I found it got a little hard to follow near the end, but cleared up for a satisfying conclusion. It regularly hints at Krauss' atheism, which although is perfectly justified I feel may alienate agnostic or theistic readers. I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody who has no interest in physics whatsoever, as you'll be introduced to new concepts that require a bit of thinking. If, however, you are a science enthusiast of any kind, this book is a ...more
Stuart
Oct 01, 2013 rated it liked it
My understanding of this book perfectly traced the arc of the Big Bang and expanding universe. An initial burst of inspiration followed by a rapid expansion of ideas about quarks, quantum mechanics, general relativity, dark matter and dark energy, and then a sudden reversal and contraction as the book strays from the fascinating early ideas and collapses in a chaotic discussion of how science and reason are not compatible with religious beliefs (anyone who is reading this book is probably alread ...more
Derek
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book very frustrating.

In the first place, Krauss spends far too much time God-bashing, instead of just sticking to the science. Fine, he doesn't believe that God created the universe, but there's absolutely no good reason to even bring it into a discussion of how our universe has been created from nothing.

In any case, ultimately, his arguments seem no better than a belief in a supreme being as creator. Krauss waves his hands and tells us that most of the universe consists of "Dark
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Becky
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Becky by: B Schrodinger
3.5 Stars:
Yeah. So. I read this. Or, rather, I listened to it. Which, in hindsight, may not have been the best choice. *insert forced/awkward laugh here* You see, this is not what I expected at all. Well, I take that back. This was what I expected, but the ratios were quite a lot different than I expected. (You know, that whole 'reading summaries' thing I don't do? Probably would have helped there.)

My point is that, had I done some research and maybe found out what this book actually was going
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Jafar
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it
If you’re looking for free lunch, think big. The universe itself may be the ultimate free lunch.

From a scientific point of view, this book is along the same lines as The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking. To summarize the book in two sentences: “In quantum gravity, universes can, and indeed always will, spontaneously appear from nothing. Such universes need not be empty, but can have matter and radiation in them, as long as the total energy, including the negative energy associated with gravity,
...more
Diana
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons:

1) Krauss is one of those rare personalities that excel both in science (his successes are well documented) and teaching and by teaching I mean in a seductive (a word Krauss has used and you'll see how his language in the book can be seductive and almost flirty at times), entertaining way. This is something the world desperately needs as we seem to have slipped back as a society (even in places once much more rational like the United States) th
...more
Shaun
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I actually listened to the audio version of this book, narrated by Krauss.

I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that some of this went over my head, but then again, I haven't devoted my life to the study of physics and the cosmos. That said, I think I can appreciate the basic points being made.

Krauss not only presents a sound and compelling case for the Big Bang Theory, but he also explains how something really can come from nothing (which is really something, btw), a concept that makes my
...more
Duff
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a non-scientist, I found many moments of "oh, that is what I didn't quite understand" from previous reading in physics and cosmology. That said, there were also times when I simply did not quite understand the complexities that Krauss was explicating. It was a book that I was sad to finish...really liked it. He takes us on a clear, guided journey around the issues of "nothing"...that which we cannot see in the universe, but through the laws of physics and math is actually measurable, in a the ...more
Clif Hostetler
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This book pauses with sufficient frequency during its romp through science from particle physics to astrophysics to take pokes at theistic religion to make it clear that the author's intention is to cast a shot across the bow of "God of the gaps" thinking which seeks refuge in the question, "Why there is something rather than nothing." The author explains that phenomenal progress has been made in the past century that has brought us to the cusp of operationally addressing questions regarding ori ...more
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

I have heard Krauss' debates on YouTube, and I must admit this was a rather dry listen - but at least I never fell asleep drooling to it.

Krauss tells the scientific "story" of our Universe and answers the question, Why How there Is Something from Nothing using the latest in quantum mechanics and modern physics.

For the average layperson, this is NOT your thing. Hell, I'm an engineer, and it got heady for me. But it was a fun serious read, and I wouldn't mind reading other things pen
...more
Mohamed al-Jamri
This book is amazing. I listened to it as an audiobook that was read by the author himself. It is about 5 hours and 30 minutes in length.

A Universe From Nothing was written by Krauss to expand on a talk he gave in a lecture in 2009 under the same title (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Imvl...). The lecture is about one hour long is absolutely worth watching (I watched it after finishing the book, but I think it would be better to watch it before). The title is of course shocking, how the hell c
...more
Shaun
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Universe From Nothing" is a thought-provoking book, detailing how science has went about discovering the origins of the universe.
Krauss' subject matter is derived from the observable experiments and Data supporting the theory that the universe was created due to the big bang, which itself arose out of a state of rapid quantum fluctuations - from nothing.
Along with educating the reader on how the rigorous testing of evidence supports the theory that the universe sprang from nothing, Krauss fi
...more
brian
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
the baked-in problem is that this explanation of how 'something' can emerge from 'nothing' must accept that 'nothing' operates by laws of quantum gravity. is this truly 'nothing'? shit, i dunno. krauss touches on this as admirably as possible. but i guess i should also throw quotations around 'possible', eh? and there's the problem.
Blarg
Jul 05, 2012 added it
This book was unexpectedly disappointing. As a non-scientist who reads extensively about cosmology, particle physics, and quantum mechanics, I wasn’t surprised that the author spent the first 142 pages of his book rehashing what we know so far about the formation and evolution of our universe and its component structures. Some of the information is quite recent, and I expected the foundational knowledge to be important to understanding the argument and evidence that would presumably follow.

Unfor
...more
Rama
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Is it true that the laws of physics allow creating something out of an empty space?

This is one of the best books I have read in recent years that summarizes the laws of physics and the origin of the universe in a splendid manner. The author describes as how our universe was created out of nothing; just an empty space with virtual particles using quantum physics and relativity without invoking string or brane theories.

Moments after the big bang, a slight asymmetry in the distributions of matter a
...more
jeremy
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
lawrence krauss' new book, a universe from nothing: why there is something rather than nothing, summarizes the continuing developments in the field of cosmology. in addition to championing these new insights in the study of modern physics, krauss also frames these advances in the appropriate context of their resulting implications for theologians and deists. adapted from a lecture he delivered at the 2009 atheist alliance international annual convention (and made popular on youtube), a universe ...more
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Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of a ...more

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“The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.” 308 likes
“In 5 billion years, the expansion of the universe will have progressed to the point where all other galaxies will have receded beyond detection. Indeed, they will be receding faster than the speed of light, so detection will be impossible. Future civilizations will discover science and all its laws, and never know about other galaxies or the cosmic background radiation. They will inevitably come to the wrong conclusion about the universe......We live in a special time, the only time, where we can observationally verify that we live in a special time.” 88 likes
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