Rene's Reviews > A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss
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's review
Jan 30, 2012

liked it

I am not a scientist by a long shot, but I have long been interested in astrophysics and cosmology. Those scientists who are truly enthusiastic about what they are discovering are infectious, and those that are not only enthusiastic but capable and patient teachers spread the excitement of science far and wide beyond the walls of the NAS.

There aren't a lot who are both, and I have always appreciated those busy with complex research who are so excited by what they're doing that they are willing to stop and try to explain it "to the masses". I have seen blurbs and excerpts of Dr. Krauss' work before so I bought this book fully expecting to like it.

When Dr. Krauss takes the time to explain the processes behind current and past cosmological discoveries, this book is endlessly fascinating and thought provoking, and it leaves you wishing he would have explained more. In a way, it raised more questions than it answered, which is exactly what introductory learning is supposed to do.

Unfortunately, you have to constantly deal with the distraction of his constant pot-shots at theology and a whole side-plot about whether or not this can prove the ability of the Universe to exist without the need for a "Creator" that is constantly derailing the main narrative. It is frustrating, unnecessary, often pointless, and distracting. Several times he makes the point that science isn't theology and theology isn't science. He acknowledges that proving or disproving the existence of God isn't a scientific question. Therefore, I wish he would have listened to himself and resisted the temptation to add his own theological musings. I found myself impatiently skimming over these parts, trying to find my way back to scientific narrative he had suddenly dropped to indulge in these thoughts. Perhaps that is the real point of the book, but that was not the reason I wanted to read it.

Astrophysicist Dr. Alex Filippenko, while he has not written an equivalent general publication book, is equivalently knowledgeable, an excellent teacher, and willing to leave theology out of his lectures, and I'd find some of his work if you're interested in general cosmology and astrophysics without the side of religious politics.

There are definitely gems of knowledge and discovery in this book and Dr. Krauss' wry sense of irony and humor is infectious, therefore I'd still say it is worth a read so long as you can either sweep aside the annoyance of having to skip through all the pointless theology deductions and/or desire to read those in addition to the science of "something from nothing"
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