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Universe is from...nothing

A Universe from Nothing - Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins

Finally got it today from a local bookshop.

Lectures link to this subject by Lawrence Krauss

Darwin Week 2012 - Lawrence Krauss: "A Universe from Nothing"

Just found out that his other lecture on the same subject has more than a million views. 


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

That's something. 

About the book 

A universe from nothing starts with where we are now, and some known details about the discovery of the shape of the universe, and energy of the universe and other stuff.

If you are new at this, you might like to start this as I did, by watching his lecture first. 

The tone of the book is kind of fun and telling you jokes that you might never heard of otherwise. Like "Cosmic Jerk Discovered" in New York Times, which is really about the point change of expansion of universe from deceleration to acceleration. 

It also talks about how Einstein didn't trust his own calculation and make a modification that called cosmological term. Einstein couldn't make himself believe that the universe is not static at first but then he corrected himself later. 

The universe is flat and expanding 

The finding out how physicists could prove the universe is flat instead of open or close is pretty interesting. 

Shouldn't the latest physics and cosmological discovery be common knowledge? Like gravity is common knowledge? 

The universe is not static and is now 13.72 billion year old.

[image removed]

The universe is expanding and being taken away from each other by the continue expansion of matter in space. We are at a special time when we could observe stars. When most of the stars moved too far away, we would no longer able to see them. So future human might not have nights full of stars when they go on a date, they could still walk under the moon light. 

Some cool graph 
Mass distribution of a galaxy cluster. Cool graph. 

If you don't know it yet, scientists have already discovered dark matter. 

How the universe came from nothing, really
Summarized the big bang and details that it all came from "quantum fluctuation". 

Some important quotes 

"Quantum fluctuations, which otherwise would have been completely invisible,get frozen by inflation and emerge afterward as density fluctuations that produce everything we can see! If we are all stardust, as I have written, it is also true, if inflation happened, that we all, literally, emerged from quantum nothing."

The cool part that during the big bang, the universe expand faster than the speed of light without violating special relativity. 

"The false vacuum energy would behave just like that represented by a cosmological constant because it would act like an energy permeating empty space. This would cause the expansion of the universe at the time to speed up ever faster and faster. Eventually, what would become our observable universe would start to grow faster than the speed of light. This is allowed in general relativity, even though it seems to violate Einstein's special relativity, which says nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. But one has to be like a lawyer and parse this a little more carefully. Special relativity says nothing can travel through space faster than speed of light. But space itself can do whatever the heck it wants, at least in general relativity. And as space expands, it can carry distant objects, which are at rest in the space where they are sitting, apart from one another at superluminal speeds." 

On multiverse. 
"It turns out that the theoretical situation is actually stronger than simply a possibility. A number of central ideas that drive much of the current activity in particle theory today appear to require a multiverse.'

His attempt to do public education

This is the part that he is doing "public education" service by stating this very clear, in term that could not be misunderstood by religious deluded.

"I should point out, nevertheless, that even though incomplete data can lead to a false picture, this is far different from the (false) picture obtained by those who choose to ignore empirical data to invent a picture of reality (young earthers, for example), or those who instead require the existence of something for which there is no observable evidence whatsoever (like divine intelligence) to reconcile their view of creation with their a priori prejudices, or worse still, those who cling to fairly tales about nature that presume the answers before questions can even be asked."

Another "note" to religious deluded on the current mysteries that scientists are interested in.

"A purely religious argument, on the other hand, could take significance to an extreme by suggesting that each fundamental constant is significant because God presumably chose each one to have the value it does as part of a divine plan for our universe. In this case, nothing is an accident, but by the same token, nothing is predicted or actually explained. It is an argument by fiat that goes nowhere and yields nothing useful about the physical laws governing the universe, other than perhaps providing consolation for the believer." 

And then a reminder for the religious deluded.

"I want to stress this because, in discussion with those who feel the need for a creator, the existence of a multiverse is viewed as a cop-out conceived by physicists who have run out of answers - or perhaps questions. This may eventually be the case, but it is not so now. Almost every logical possibility we can imagine regarding extending laws of physics as we know them, on small scales, into a more complete theory, suggests that, on large scales, our universe is not unique."

My opinion

These quotes, to me, are added bonus to the book that walk me through the latest cosmological discoveries. 

These very same quote would probably make some fucked-in-the-head Christians or religious deluded pretty mad as it would not allow them to continue to misuse science to explain their small minded non-existing god. 

So be it. That's why I like it. Not allowing science to be misused by fuckhead Christians is very important point indeed. 

This book is not technical, not really
Also, there are no formula and technical footnotes in the book.

For those who think they need more, here are two more articles by the very same writer.

The Scientific Reach of Multi-Ton Scale Dark Matter Direct Detection Experiments (Dated: June 13, 2013)

A Higgs–Saw Mechanism as a Source for Dark Energy (Dated: June 13, 2013) 

Hope that would satisfy more people who like to see formula that I have difficulty to comprehend. 

On string theory

He also clarified his position on string theory, as he has been famous and even being labeled as the detractor of string theory. He has his criticism, but he is also a friend of Brian Greene who is the proponent of String Theory. Lawrence stressed that he is just trying to keep physics honest, at least that's what I get from what he said. He used example of superconductivity (Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic fields occurring in certain materials when cooled below a characteristic critical temperature.) that has real world application, but less known, than String Theory who is now in the public consciousness because of a few handsome and brilliant physicists (Brain Greene and Brian Cox). 

Need to explain more?

For a popular science book, I wanted to get a bit more details about the quantum fluctuation and density fluctuation and stress more that there was nothing until there is something in the first moment (less than a second) of the Big Bang. That the total energy of our universe is zero. 

This needs to be sank in a bit before moving on. 

The battle is on -- Responding to criticism

The battle is on before I have even finished the book.

There have been some really negative reviews on this book, by religious deluded and scientific ignorant philosophers. I don't mind a negative review, but I'm curious on the motive.

Here is how Lawrence Krauss himself see philosophy. The Consolation of Philosophy that explain part of it. I don't have high regard to philosophers as it is mostly word play. When in doubt, reality trump opinion. 

Here is another quote. 

"What I tried to do in my writing on this subject is carefully attempt to define precisely what scientists operationally mean by nothing, and to differentiate between what we know, and what is merely plausible, and what we might be able to probe in the future, and what we cannot. The rest is, to me, just noise."

So, to those philosophers I may have unjustly offended by seemingly blanket statements about the field, I apologize. I value your intelligent conversation and the insights of anyone who thinks carefully about our universe and who is willing to guide their thinking based on the evidence of reality. To those who wish to impose their definition of reality abstractly, independent of emerging empirical knowledge and the changing questions that go with it, and call that either philosophy or theology, I would say this: Please go on talking to each other, and let the rest of us get on with the goal of learning more about nature."

Last 3 chapters

He tried to inject humor, some of the analogies are pretty funny.

"At the heart of quantum mechanics is a rule that sometimes governs politicians or CEOs - as long as no one is watching, anything goes." 

From a few of the paragraphs that he mentioned about philosophers and theologians, the drive to mention this could be that he, like the rest of us, missed Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens would have a field day quoting Krauss on this in responding to philosophical and theological nonsense. As Hitchens is no longer with us, Krauss kind of added that in to prevent confusion.

"I say this because it has been argued that the statement that the average total Newtonian gravitational energy of every galaxy in a flat, expanding universe is zero is arbitrary, and that any other value would be just as good, but that scientists "define" the zero point to argue against God. So claimed Dinesh D'Souza, anyway, in his debates with Christopher Hitchens on the existence of God."

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The effort to determine the curvature of the universe was an undertaking carried out over half a century by scientists who devoted their lives to determining the actual nature of the universe, not to imposing their own desires upon it."

Matter-antimatter symmetric universe

It is according to theory, that we have matter-antimatter symmetric universe, and the left over of matter that is not being annihilated by anti-matter would make up all the matter in our universe. And it so happened that it really occurred 1 in a billion. That's enough stuff to make up all we see today. 

We know that universe start with nothing, and this nothing is unstable

We now know, kind of, that how something comes from nothing, when we explains the start of our universe. Where multiverse is not only possible, but a requirement in explaining the physical nature of our universe, the world we lived in, still holds some mystery. 

No religion could give us the answer, as the answer is not "make up", but need to be observed and studied, and figured out. Science would display religion in a way that we know even the fictional god has limitation when it comes to stars and moon and Sun.

The scripture that claimed that the fictional god stopped the midday Sun could not be possible as we would all die if that really happened to our Sun.

Reasons would make us think, and know for sure that religions claim of creation by some being is fake, it is a lie, and it could not possibly be true. Religions that based on lies are bullshit. That's why all religions are bullshit. If you like the stories, fine. But don't claim there is any truth in it. 

Great read. I like it a lot. Highly recommended it to those who want to read a concise book on how the universe starts. This goes really well with The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking for explaining the gravity starts the universe. 

He stressed again that we lived in a special time, when we could observe our universe, and observe stars. How special is that. Enjoy while we can. 

Nothing is heading right toward us.