Lawrence Krauss Explains How You Get ‘A Universe From Nothing’

In 2009, Richard Dawkins invited Lawrence Krauss, an internationally-known theoretical physicist and author of The Physics of Star Trek, to talk about some big enchilada questions. What is our current picture of the universe? When did the universe begin? What came before it? How could something come from nothing? And what will happen to the universe in the future?

Krauss takes us back to the foundational work of Einstein and Hubble, then moves us through important breakthroughs in modern theoretical physics, ones that have helped us unravel some of these big questions. Give Professor Krauss 53 minutes, and he’ll give you the universe … and a few jokes along the way.

This talk appears in our collection of 125 Great Science Videos. And you can download many free Physics courses from our big collection of Free Online Courses.


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  1. Eric van Bemmel says . . . | September 28, 2011 / 5:14 am

    Thanks, Dan. We also just interviewed Prof Krauss down in Melbourne (Australia, not Florida) where he’s been visiting the University of Melbourne. The episode is entitled “Lawrence M. Krauss: Before and After the Universe”, a part of the Up Close podcast series. It can be found here:

    http://upclose.unimelb.edu.au/episode/159-lawrence-m-krauss-and-after-universe

    Similar material, but in an interview over about 35 minutes.
    Cheers.

  2. Charles Frith says . . . | September 28, 2011 / 6:10 am

    I want to applaud this website as the finest curator of free compelling information. You really do a terrific job and I am enjoying this lecture though it is worth pointing out that his assumptions are based on information that doesn’t travel faster than light which is may not be the case with those awkward neutrinos recently. Other than that it’s still one of the best explanations for something from nothing though it’s clear language is being used in a confirmation bias sense and I suspect that the idea of something and nothing being the only two states is an old paradigm of conciousness. Good timing though as I’ve been talking about this earlier.

  3. khaled says . . . | January 9, 2012 / 11:26 pm

    it is very good

  4. william kline says . . . | January 20, 2012 / 6:00 pm

    I have a few ideas that might be interesting but i do not have the math background, nor the education. Sadly when i went to school they did not let kids go at their own pace and interests. So they turned me away from my interests in math and science. Now i am too old to start school over and learn the specifics of what intrigues me. Any way my writing you in to find help in solving a couple things that i have yet to hear on tv. I watch all the science channels to the consternation of the people i live with. I would like to ask if you have any students that would be interested in playing a game of 20 questions based on string theory, black holes, multi-dimentions, and other things that i have yet to see on any of the science channels. I have read many bios on the physicists and do not know who to contact or who would be willing to work with me on this. I have talked with many aquaintantances and they find that my ideas are very interesting but they lack the intelligence to see my ideas through.if you can help in any way i would appreciate it.
    Sadly i am a 9th grade drop out with an iq of 143. They did not have the freedom in school to help children who were highly intelligent but extremely bored with the structure of school. But i have some ideas that i believe could lead to a different view of the cosmos. I feel that they get so close to the answers then fall short. If they could just jump a few more hurdles they would get it. Any way if you can help or if you can get a student to help i would greatly appreciate it, any help or leads would be so greatfull. Thank you.

  5. Miguel Rodas says . . . | June 10, 2012 / 6:52 pm
  6. Kunal says . . . | September 22, 2012 / 6:11 am

    Iam jst a boy of 12th standard ,from 11th clas i begin 2 read more on theoritical physics .and . . .I truly appreciate ur lecture . . . .ur explanations are some how similar with Richard P.feynman . . .which i enjoyed the most . . . .truly commendable. . .

  7. ashutosh kumar pathak says . . . | November 27, 2012 / 6:57 am

    I want know more about universe.

  8. Marko Bajlovic says . . . | December 29, 2012 / 8:20 pm

    Seems its been taken down already..

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  10. Epicurus says . . . | June 1, 2013 / 9:38 am

    the professor’s explanation of the universe coming from nothing is “quantum fluctuation”
    a quantum fluctuation is a temporary change in energy,
    so, where did these quantum fluctuation occur if no universe existed?
    also, where did the energy that fluctuated come from in a non exsistant universe?

  11. Epicurus says . . . | June 4, 2013 / 11:57 am

    the ‘big bang’ exponents have a problem with time. time,we are told, began with the universe. Now, the arrow of time is not a passive observer of change. it is THE mechanism for change. you cant go from state A to state B without the mechanism of time
    likewise,you cant go from the state of no universe to the state of universe without the mechanism of time. No time no change.
    Therefore the universe could not have arisen form nothing in the absence of time.

  12. Albert Hollander says . . . | July 23, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    I wish to state that I concur with Epicurus (above)argument and the problem it creates to the universe from nothing theory. In other words, laws of physics could not exist in the nothing state as they apply only to existing measurable entities. Time and its manifestation as change is a physical law (poorly understood).

  13. Scott Ferguson says . . . | November 5, 2013 / 2:53 pm

    Good point! He seems to claim the fluctuation was in a “field of potentiality” then of course that is not “nothing”

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