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← 'A Universe From Nothing' by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009

'A Universe From Nothing' by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009 - Comments

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 1 by aquilacane

Is there proof that the state called "nothing" can or has ever existed£ Is nothingness possible£

£ = question mark

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 14:46:00 UTC | #407561

astronomer24's Avatar Comment 2 by astronomer24

I wonder what was the question Krauss asked during Richard's talk was.

Also this lecture about about made me jizz my pants ha. So awesome. My sense of wonder, dulled over the last few years, has been renewed.

Im going to buy Atom by Krauss on amazon right now.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 14:51:00 UTC | #407564

nonsuch's Avatar Comment 3 by nonsuch

Any chance we could get an mp3 of this and the other AAI talks? Maybe they're already around but I can't find them.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 15:03:00 UTC | #407566

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 4 by glenister_m

I remember having a great AHA moment reading 'A Brief History of Time' where Stephen Hawking explained where all the matter and energy in the universe came from. Basically all that positive energy (matter plus energy) is precisely balanced by the negative energy of the expansion of the universe. ie. The grand total of all the positive and negative energy in the universe is zero.

Understanding a little quantum mechanics helps.

However it does sound a bit like Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Number of planets finite, size of the universe infinite, therefore population density of the universe zero, so anyone you happen to meet is the figment of a deranged imagination...

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 15:57:00 UTC | #407572

beeline's Avatar Comment 5 by beeline

Very interesting - thanks for this.

Don't forget to set your white balance to 'Tungsten' next time, Josh! :-)

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 16:01:00 UTC | #407574

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 6 by Sally Luxmoore

My poor mind.... Even the boggling has boggled.
How can anyone ever get to grips with all that?!
Fantastic, though.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 16:15:00 UTC | #407577

A's Avatar Comment 7 by A

White balance !!

Can 'nothing' be said to exist ?

"QT Download Coming Soon" - on a Mac/Safari simply go to the Youtube page - type &fmt=18 onto the end of the address - hit enter - and then you can download a high quality Quicktime by double clicking on the movie in the activity window.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 16:23:00 UTC | #407580

Josh Timonen's Avatar Comment 8 by Josh Timonen

beeline & A,
Color Temp set to 3200K. Tungsten. Indoors. The Red camera shoots RAW, so I can adjust it in color correction. Krauss is wearing yellow and brown, against a yellow wall, with a brown door behind him, and next to a brown podium. He's basically camouflaged! There's not a lot you can do in post for situations like this. And unfortunately these colors all make it look like I have the white balance set to around 5600K. I actually tried the color balance way down around 2400K (just to see if it might help), but there's still no separation. I could go on about the joys of filming in hotel ballrooms, but I will spare everyone.


Thu, 22 Oct 2009 16:36:00 UTC | #407582

Sciros's Avatar Comment 9 by Sciros

Josh, that's why next time you're filming an event like this, bring with you something like a "speaker's robe", and make it a very unusual color like neon pink. Everyone who presents has to wear a big pink robe and possibly a funny hat. Then you won't have to deal with situations like Krauss blending with the background.

That's my solution, anyway.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 16:46:00 UTC | #407583

GandalfGrey's Avatar Comment 10 by GandalfGrey

Wow, this stuff really boggles the mind.
Thanks a bunch to RDF for making it available to all!

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 17:19:00 UTC | #407586

A's Avatar Comment 11 by A

@Josh - can't believe I am critiquing colour balance on video.


. . . . but, here you go, this is how it looks to me - top image original frame grab - bottom 'yellow wash removed'.

Great video by the way - regardless my chromatic pedantry.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 17:29:00 UTC | #407589

Nekura's Avatar Comment 12 by Nekura

Excellent video. I saw this same talk on Monday as part of the Quantum to Cosmos Festival.

There are lots more talks, on a variety of topics, including one on evolution, which should be available to view online soon. Upcoming ones are being streamed live, and most of the previous ones are already online.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 17:48:00 UTC | #407591

zeroangel's Avatar Comment 14 by zeroangel

That was really kewl. I learned some new things!

However, could someone please explain the following to me:

Near the end, it was mentioned that a new universe being formed will expand forever just like ours from the perspective of being inside that universe, but from outside it will shrink into a black hole (and presumably, radiate away). Why is that? Anyone know?

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 18:01:00 UTC | #407593

bluebird's Avatar Comment 13 by bluebird

Loved this, thanks for posting! :)

The 'gravitational lens' photo he displayed was an APOD a few months ago - it's a beaut:

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 18:01:00 UTC | #407592

Luis Dias's Avatar Comment 15 by Luis Dias

Very kewl indeed. Thanks!

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 19:48:00 UTC | #407612

RichardNevin's Avatar Comment 16 by RichardNevin

Lawrence Krauss is so good at explaining complicated physics in layman terms. I love that we now have an answer for the "something can't come from nothing" argument.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 20:04:00 UTC | #407619

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 17 by NewEnglandBob

"Forget Jesus, stars died so you could be here today"

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 21:01:00 UTC | #407636

yyy's Avatar Comment 18 by yyy

That registered really high on my interesting-o-meter. This site is awesome.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 21:04:00 UTC | #407638

Nastika's Avatar Comment 19 by Nastika


Large hardon collider


Thu, 22 Oct 2009 21:21:00 UTC | #407640

chewedbarber's Avatar Comment 20 by chewedbarber

An accessible and engaging talk. His delivery was excellent. Thanks for sharing.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 22:57:00 UTC | #407651

A's Avatar Comment 21 by A

It might take me a number of years to parse the notion of 'nothing'.

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 23:22:00 UTC | #407657

TurkishAtheist's Avatar Comment 22 by TurkishAtheist

I enjoyed my astrophysics class today :))

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 23:54:00 UTC | #407672

Scot Rafkin's Avatar Comment 23 by Scot Rafkin

Phil Plait at the Bad Astronomy Blog recently posted on the most distant galaxy ever observed. It's 10.2 billion light years away.

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 00:34:00 UTC | #407679

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 24 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Ex nihilo nihil fit. :)

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 00:56:00 UTC | #407684

Tack's Avatar Comment 25 by Tack

I just saw Dr. Krauss give a talk at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario on Monday. It was very polished and he's a great speaker. (For those interested in the talk, it can be downloaded at

Afterward he was doing booksigning at a tiny, crowded bookstore at the theater. Just as he sat down ready to begin, he wondered aloud if anyone had any scotch handy. I said, "Ah if you were Christopher Hitchens, I'd have come prepared." He was very personable and gracious with his time, and I didn't feel rushed at all.

I commented that I really enjoyed the unmoderated, relaxed discussion between him and Dawkins at Stanford earlier this year. He agreed that format worked really well and said that more events like that would be in the works.

Overall just a great experience meeting him. Like Richard, he's a very easy man to respect.

Thought I'd share. :)

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 00:59:00 UTC | #407685

wbreim's Avatar Comment 26 by wbreim

well. As Dawkins pointed out it IS a shame that not more students are going into physics but it's not surprising given that the route for a physics undergrad in america is
4 years BA (hard) cost: $50,000-70,000
7 years for PhD (very hard) earning $18,000-22,000/yr a year IF you get an RA or TA position right away.
2 years post doc (very very hard) earning $40,000/yr
Faculty position maybe (very very very hard to get)
Tenure track if you're lucky 10 years after that you will be making $70,000-90,000

I am a physics major myself I can't think of these number too much or it scares me a little.

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 01:31:00 UTC | #407689

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 27 by glenister_m

I believe the effect that a new universe grows geometrically to those inside and shrinks into a black hole to those outside, has to do with essentially a black hole being infinitely deep.

So if you use the analogy as space as an elastic sheet, the new universe forms underneath the sheet and pulls down and out. From the top of the sheet we see a gravity well that gets deeper and deeper and forms black hole. Space continues to stretch into that hole deeper and deeper. From below the sheet material can balloon out further and further as it expands into a new universe.

It sort of makes sense to me, but if there are any physicists who wish to correct my assumptions or analogy I'd be happy to hear from them.

Does that mean every black hole is forming a new universe? If you could survive passing through the event horizon, you would then be vapourized by all the radiation that had fallen into the black hole and was stuck trying to leave at the speed of light. (That would probably be equivalent to the big bang/CBM of our universe) It would also prevent travel between universes.

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 04:07:00 UTC | #407701

LDmiller's Avatar Comment 28 by LDmiller

The odd thing about Krauss's talk is that there are a lot of perfectly respectable cosmologists who would not agree with a single thing he said, using the same sets of evidence.

When you get right down to it, his whole theory is based on:

1) Assuming that the red shift of distant galaxies is due to Doppler effect. (There are other phenomena such as Minkowski spacetime that explain it just as well.)

2) In order to support his non-collapsing (flat) universe he has to postulate Dark Energy and Dark Matter, for which there is no direct experimental evidence at all. And he has positioned himself so that failure of the LHC to produce any will not embarrass him. Locked and loaded.

He talks glibly about all of this as though it were settled science, not open to other interpretations, nor to be questioned (at least he did not show any disclaimers in this talk) ins spite of the sparseness or even non-existence of observational evidence to back him up.

We have a word for that: RELIGION.

And I have no doubt that Richard Dawkins would defend him to the death out of friendship.

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 05:26:00 UTC | #407710

Cents's Avatar Comment 29 by Cents

Re the Comment#425956 by glenister_m

What you wrote is what I was thinking as well. Dr,. Krauss was referring to how it would look to us (matter disappearing into a Black hole which would be into an invisible space) and coming out into a newly created universe would appear to be an explosion/expansion of energy from the material that went to the black hole from an postulated observer in the new universe (re the Big Bang). As a result travel through Black holes would appear to be wishful thinking for time travelers via these "wormholes".

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 05:33:00 UTC | #407712

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 30 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #425965 by LDmiller

(1) Name one perfectly respectable cosmologist who doesn't think Hubble's law is the correct explanation of galaxy redshifts.
(2) LK spent much of the talk providing exactly the evidence for dark energy/matter you're claiming he doesn't have. We predicted there would be invisible mass in the clusters. Done. We predicted there would be exactly the right amount of dark energy for the total energy to be 0, for very good physical reasons - hence, the cosmological constant would have the value associated with that amount. Done.
(3) If the LHC doesn't produce dark matter or dark energy, then they just have high rest masses, or are improbable to form (as gravitons are because of the associated weak cross sections). LK knows we have to look for evidence wherever we can find it, hence (2).
(4) RD tells off LK for not being sufficiently anti-religion, as was mentioned in the intro. Their friendship doesn't lead to the outcome you expect.

Empirical fail.

Fri, 23 Oct 2009 06:04:00 UTC | #407715