A universe from nothing [why there Is something rather than nothing]

Lawrence Maxwell Krauss

Sound recording - 2012

"Internationally known theoretical physicist and bestselling author Lawrence Krauss offers provocative, revelatory answers to the most basic philosophical questions: Where did our universe come from? Why is there something rather than nothing? And how is it all going to end? Why is there something rather than nothing?" is asked of anyone who says there is no God. Yet this is not so much a philosophical or religious question as it is a question about the natural world--and until now there has not been a satisfying scientific answer. Today, exciting scientific advances provide new insight into this cosmological mystery: Not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With his wonderfully clear ar...guments and wry humor, pioneering physicist Lawrence Krauss explains how in this fascinating antidote to outmoded philosophical and religious thinking. As he puts it in his entertaining video of the same title, which has received over 675,000 hits, "Forget Jesus. The stars died so you could be born." A mind-bending trip back to the beginning of the beginning, A Universe from Nothing authoritatively presents the most recent evidence that explains how our universe evolved--and the implications for how it's going to end. It will provoke, challenge, and delight readers to look at the most basic underpinnings of existence in a whole new way. And this knowledge that our universe will be quite different in the future from today has profound implications and directly affects how we live in the present. As Richard Dawkins has described it: This could potentially be the most important scientific book with implications for atheism since Darwin"--Provided by publisher.

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Subjects
Published
[Ashland, Or.] : Blackstone Audio, Inc p2012.
Language
English
Main Author
Lawrence Maxwell Krauss (-)
Edition
[Library ed.]
Item Description
Unabridged.
Physical Description
5 compact discs (5 hr., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
ISBN
9781455155613
Contents unavailable.
Review by Choice Review

How did the universe come out of nothing? Only God can create from nothing. Thus, some schools of thought (theologies) took the existence of the universe as proof of God's existence. The physical scientists, especially of the atheist school, are very uncomfortable with God talk. This book tells these individuals and the like-minded public not to worry, because recent developments in cosmology and fundamental physics show how a universe can in fact come out of nothing. Krauss (Arizona State) has transformed his popular YouTube lectures into this fascinating book, which surveys some of the most exciting results in modern cosmology and fundamental physics, including many of his own contributions. In this framework, the world's emergence is no miracle, but simply the outcome of fundamental laws that allow for countless possibilities. Our universe is just the accidental spill from a hot dense state, one of infinite possibilities. Within reach of anyone with a basic physics background, this book can educate more people on cosmology than a semester's course in science. A modern version of George Gamow's similar works of more than six decades ago, this otherwise excellent book would have been even better without the occasional snide remarks on religion. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers. V. V. Raman emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by New York Times Review

LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS, a well-known cosmologist and prolific popular-science writer, apparently means to announce to the world, in this new book, that the laws of quantum mechanics have in them the makings of a thoroughly scientific and adamantly secular explanation of why there is something rather than nothing. Period. Case closed. End of story. I kid you not. Look at the subtitle. Look at how Richard Dawkins sums it up in his afterword: "Even the last remaining trump card of the theologian, 'Why is there something rather than nothing?,' shrivels up before your eyes as you read these pages. If 'On the Origin of Species' was biology's deadliest blow to supernaturalism, we may come to see 'A Universe From Nothing' as the equivalent from cosmology. The title means exactly what it says. And what it says is devastating." Well, let's see. There are lots of different sorts of conversations one might want to have about a claim like that: conversations, say, about what it is to explain something, and about what it is to be a law of nature, and about what it is to be a physical thing. But since the space I have is limited, let me put those niceties aside and try to be quick, and crude, and concrete. Where, for starters, are the laws of quantum mechanics themselves supposed to have come from? Krauss is more or less upfront, as it turns out, about not having a clue about that. He acknowledges (albeit in a parenthesis, and just a few pages before the end of the book) that everything he has been talking about simply takes the basic principles of quantum mechanics for granted. "I have no idea if this notion can be usefully dispensed with," he writes, "or at least I don't know of any productive work in this regard." And what if he did know of some productive work in that regard? What if he were in a position to announce, for instance, that the truth of the quantum-mechanical laws can be traced back to the fact that the world has some other, deeper property X? Wouldn't we still be in a position to ask why X rather than Y? And is there a last such question? Is there some point at which the possibility of asking any further such questions somehow definitively comes to an end? How would that work? What would that be like? Never mind. Forget where the laws came from. Have a look instead at what they say. It happens that ever since the scientific revolution of the 17th century, what physics has given us in the way of candidates for the fundamental laws of nature have as a general rule simply taken it for granted that there is, at the bottom of everything, some basic, elementary, eternally persisting, concrete, physical stuff. Newton, for example, took that elementary stuff to consist of material particles. And physicists at the end of the 19th century took that elementary stuff to consist of both material particles and electromagnetic fields. And so on. And what the fundamental laws of nature are about, and all the fundamental laws of nature are about, and all there is for the fundamental laws of nature to be about, insofar as physics has ever been able to imagine, is how that elementary stuff is arranged. The fundamental laws of nature generally take the form of rules concerning which arrangements of that stuff are physically possible and which aren't, or rules connecting the arrangements of that elementary stuff at later times to its arrangement at earlier times, or something like that. But the laws have no bearing whatsoever on questions of where the elementary stuff came from, or of why the world should have consisted of the particular elementary stuff it does, as opposed to something else, or to nothing at all. The fundamental physical laws that Krauss is talking about in "A Universe From Nothing" - the laws of relativistic quantum field theories - are no exception to this. The particular, eternally persisting, elementary physical stuff of the world, according to the standard presentations of relativistic quantum field theories, consists (unsurprisingly) of relativistic quantum fields. And the fundamental laws of this theory take the form of rules concerning which arrangements of those fields are physically possible and which aren't, and rules connecting the arrangements of those fields at later times to their arrangements at earlier times, and so on - and they have nothing whatsoever to say on the subject of where those fields came from, or of why the world should have consisted of the particular kinds of fields it does, or of why it should have consisted of fields at all, or of why there should have been a world in the first place. Period. Case closed. End of story. What on earth, then, can Krauss have been thinking? Well, there is, as it happens, an interesting difference between relativistic quantum field theories and every previous serious candidate for a fundamental physical theory of the world. Every previous such theory counted material particles among the concrete, fundamental, eternally persisting elementary physical stuff of the world - and relativistic quantum field theories, interestingly and emphatically and unprecedentedly, do not. According to relativistic quantum field theories, partictes are to be understood, rather, as specific arrangements of the fields. Certain arrangements of the fields, for instance, correspond to there being 14 particles in the universe, and certain other arrangements correspond to there being 276 particles, and certain other arrangements correspond to there being an infinite number of particles, and certain other arrangements correspond to there being no particles at all. And those last arrangements are referred to, in the jargon of quantum field theories, for obvious reasons, as "vacuum" states. Krauss seems to be thinking that these vacuum states amount to the relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical version of there not being any physical stuff at all. And he has an argument - or thinks he does - that the laws of relativistic quantum field theories entail that vacuum states are unstable. And that, in a nutshell, is the account he proposes of why there should be something rather than nothing. But that's just not right. Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states - no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems - are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn't this or that particular arrangement of the fields -what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don't is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don't. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings - if you look at them aright - amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing. KRAUSS, mind you, has heard this kind of talk before, and it makes him crazy. A century ago, it seems to him, nobody would have made so much as a peep about referring to a stretch of space without any material particles in it as "nothing." And now that he and his colleagues think they have a way of showing how everything there is could imaginably have emerged from a stretch of space like that, the nut cases are moving the goal posts. He complains that "some philosophers and many theologians define and redefine 'nothing' as not being any of the versions of nothing that scientists currently describe," and that "now, I am told by religious critics that I cannot refer to empty space as 'nothing,' but rather as a 'quantum vacuum,' to distinguish it from the philosopher's or theologian's idealized 'nothing,'" and he does a good deal of railing about "the intellectual bankruptcy of much of theology and some of modern philosophy." But all there is to say about this, as far as I can see, is that Krauss is dead wrong and his religious and philosophical critics are absolutely right. Who cares what we would or would not have made a peep about a hundred years ago? We were wrong a hundred years ago. We know more now. And if what we formerly took for nothing turns out, on closer examination, to have the makings of protons and neutrons and tables and chairs and planets and solar systems and galaxies and universes in it, then it wasn't nothing, and it couldn't have been nothing, in the first place. And the history of science - if we understand it correctly - gives us no hint of how it might be possible to imagine otherwise. And I guess it ought to be mentioned, quite apart from the question of whether anything Krauss says turns out to be true or false, that the whole business of approaching the struggle with religion as if it were a card game, or a horse race, or some kind of battle of wits, just feels all wrong - or it does, at any rate, to me. When I was growing up, where I was growing up, there was a critique of religion according to which religion was cruel, and a lie, and a mechanism of enslavement, and something full of loathing and contempt for everything essentially human. Maybe that was true and maybe it wasn't, but it had to do with important things - it had to do, that is, with history, and with suffering, and with the hope of a better world -and it seems like a pity, and more than a pity, and worse than a pity, with all that in the back of one's head, to think that all that gets offered to us now, by guys like these, in books like this, is the pale, small, silly, nerdy accusation that religion is, I don't know, dumb. Krauss attacks 'the intellectual bankruptcy of much of theology and some of modern philosophy.' David Albert is a professor of philosophy at Columbia and the author of "Quantum Mechanics and Experience."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [March 11, 2012]
Review by Booklist Review

Theoretical physicist Krauss, author of several books about physics, including The Physics of Star Trek (1995), admits up front that he is not sympathetic to the conviction that creation requires a creator. The book isn't exclusively an argument against divine creation, or intelligent design, but, rather, an exploration of a tantalizing question: How and why can something the universe in which we live, for example spring from nothing? It's an evolutionary story, really, taking us back to the Big Bang and showing how the universe developed over billions of years into its present form. Sure to be controversial, for Krauss does not shy away from the atheistic implications of a scientifically explainable universe, the book is full of big ideas explained in simple, precise terms, making it accessible to all comers, from career physicists to the lay reader whose knowledge of the field begins and ends with a formula few understand, E=mc².--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers interested in the evolution of the universe will find Krauss's account lively and humorous as well as informative. In 1925, Edwin Hubble ("who continues to give me great faith in humanity, because he started out as a lawyer, and then became an astronomer") showed that the universe was expanding. But what was it expanding from? Virtually nothing, an "infinitesimal point," said George LeMaitre, who in 1929 proposed the idea of the Big Bang. His theory was later supported by the discovery of remnants of energy called cosmic microwave background radiation-"the afterglow of the Big Bang," as Krauss calls it. Researchers also discovered that the universe is expanding not at a steady rate but accelerating, driving matter farther apart faster and faster. Krauss, a professor and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, explores the consequences of a universe dominated by the "seemingly empty space" left by expansion, urging focused study before expansion pushes everything beyond our reach. Readers will find the result of Krauss's "[celebration of our] absolutely surprising and fascinating universe" as compelling as it is intriguing.(Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Krauss (physics, Arizona State Univ.; director, Origins Project; The Physics of Star Trek) expands a 2009 lecture he gave to the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) that addresses the always controversial debate between believers in a divine creator and avowed atheists: How can science explain the origins of the universe without first cause? In this title, Krauss does just that. Clearly and logically, he illustrates the amazing reality of our physical universe, which arises from nothingness and, according to science, most likely will end in nothingness. With a closing essay by Richard Dawkins, this book will certainly appeal to fans of the religious parody and Internet meme Flying Spaghetti Monster. Although one could certainly read this book as just another popular cosmology title, Krauss's association with the AAI and Dawkins add a subtext of antagonism against religion, even if not overtly mentioned. His arguments for the birth of the universe out of nothingness from a physical, rather than theological, beginning not only are logical but celebrate the wonder of our natural universe. VERDICT Recommended. Krauss's overview of physics is accessible and well explained. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/11.]-Rachel M. Minkin, Michigan State Univ. Libs., Lansing (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, 2011, etc.) asserts that laws of physics not only permit something to arise from nothing, they may guarantee it. The author delivers plenty of jolts in this enthusiastic and lucid but demanding overview of the universe, which includes plenty of mysteries--but its origin isn't among them. Einstein's relativity proves that empty space can curve, and quantum physics does not forbid matter from appearing out of nowhere provided it also vanishes almost immediately. In the odd, entirely statistical world of quantum physics, whatever is not forbidden can happen and experiments reveal "virtual particles" popping in and out of existence everywhere. These quantum fluctuations were occurring before the dawn of time. All were thought to have quickly disappeared, but perhaps under the right conditions one lived sufficiently long to give rise to the seminal event of the early universe: inflation. Thereafter, the original tiny volume expanded by an enormous factor to produce our universe. Krauss recounts its history and structure, emphasizing recent discoveries that vastly increased both our knowledge and ignorance. It turns out only one percent of the universe consists of familiar matter and energy; the rest is a mystery. Also, a grim future awaits us, although that lies a trillion or so years ahead. A thoughtful, challenging book--but not for the faint of heart or those not willing to read carefully.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing By Lawrence M. Krauss Blackstone Audio, Incorporated ISBN: 9781455155613 PREFACE Dream or nightmare, we have to live our experience as it is, and we have to live it awake. We live in a world which is penetrated through and through by science and which is both whole and real. We cannot turn it into a game simply by taking sides. --JACOB BRONOWSKI In the interests of full disclosure right at the outset I must admit that I am not sympathetic to the conviction that creation requires a creator, which is at the basis of all of the world's religions. Every day beautiful and miraculous objects suddenly appear, from snowflakes on a cold winter morning to vibrant rainbows after a late-afternoon summer shower. Yet no one but the most ardent fundamentalists would suggest that each and every such object is lovingly and painstakingly and, most important, purposefully created by a divine intelligence. In fact, many laypeople as well as scientists revel in our ability to explain how snowflakes and rainbows can spontaneously appear, based on simple, elegant laws of physics. Of course, one can ask, and many do, "Where do the laws of physics come from?" as well as more suggestively, "Who created these laws?" Even if one can answer this first query, the petitioner will then often ask, "But where did that come from?" or "Who created that?" and so on. Ultimately, many thoughtful people are driven to the apparent need for First Cause, as Plato, Aquinas, or the modern Roman Catholic Church might put it, and thereby to suppose some divine being: a creator of all that there is, and all that there ever will be, someone or something eternal and everywhere. Nevertheless, the declaration of a First Cause still leaves open the question, "Who created the creator?" After all, what is the difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one? These arguments always remind me of the famous story of an expert giving a lecture on the origins of the universe (sometimes identified as Bertrand Russell and sometimes William James), who is challenged by a woman who believes that the world is held up by a gigantic turtle, who is then held up by another turtle, and then another . . . with further turtles "all the way down!" An infinite regress of some creative force that begets itself, even some imagined force that is greater than turtles, doesn't get us any closer to what it is that gives rise to the universe. Nonetheless, this metaphor of an infinite regression may actually be closer to the real process by which the universe came to be than a single creator would explain. Defining away the question by arguing that the buck stops with God may seem to obviate the issue of infinite regression, but here I invoke my mantra: The universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not. The existence or nonexistence of a creator is independent of our desires. A world without God or purpose may seem harsh or pointless, but that alone doesn't require God to actually exist. Similarly, our minds may not be able to easily comprehend infinities (although mathematics, a product of our minds, deals with them rather nicely), but that doesn't tell us that infinities don't exist. Our universe could be infinite in spatial or temporal extent. Or, as Richard Feynman once put it, the laws of physics could be like an infinitely layered onion, with new laws becoming operational as we probe new scales. We simply don't know! For more than two thousand years, the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" has been presented as a challenge to the proposition that our universe--which contains the vast complex of stars, galaxies, humans, and who knows what else--might have arisen without design, intent, or purpose. While this is usually framed as a philosophical or religious question, it is first and foremost a question about the natural world, and so the appropriate place to try and resolve it, first and foremost, is with science. The purpose of this book is simple. I want to show how modern science, in various guises, can address and is addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothing: The answers that have been obtained--from staggeringly beautiful experimental observations, as well as from the theories that underlie much of modern physics--all suggest that getting something from nothing is not a problem. Indeed, something from nothing may have been required for the universe to come into being. Moreover, all signs suggest that this is how our universe could have arisen. I stress the word could here, because we may never have enough empirical information to resolve this question unambiguously. But the fact that a universe from nothing is even plausible is certainly significant, at least to me. Before going further, I want to devote a few words to the notion of "nothing"--a topic that I will return to at some length later. For I have learned that, when discussing this question in public forums, nothing upsets the philosophers and theologians who disagree with me more than the notion that I, as a scientist, do not truly understand "nothing." (I am tempted to retort here that theologians are experts at nothing.) "Nothing," they insist, is not any of the things I discuss. Nothing is "nonbeing," in some vague and ill-defined sense. This reminds me of my own efforts to define "intelligent design" when I first began debating with creationists, of which, it became clear, there is no clear definition, except to say what it isn't. "Intelligent design" is simply a unifying umbrella for opposing evolution. Similarly, some philosophers and many theologians define and redefine "nothing" as not being any of the versions of nothing that scientists currently describe. But therein, in my opinion, lies the intellectual bankruptcy of much of theology and some of modern philosophy. For surely "nothing" is every bit as physical as "something," especially if it is to be defined as the "absence of something." It then behooves us to understand precisely the physical nature of both these quantities. And without science, any definition is just words. A century ago, had one described "nothing" as referring to purely empty space, possessing no real material entity, this might have received little argument. But the results of the past century have taught us that empty space is in fact far from the inviolate nothingness that we presupposed before we learned more about how nature works. Now, I am told by religious critics that I cannot refer to empty space as "nothing," but rather as a "quantum vacuum," to distinguish it from the philosopher's or theologian's idealized "nothing." So be it. But what if we are then willing to describe "nothing" as the absence of space and time itself? Is this sufficient? Again, I suspect it would have been . . . at one time. But, as I shall describe, we have learned that space and time can themselves spontaneously appear, so now we are told that even this "nothing" is not really the nothing that matters. And we're told that the escape from the "real" nothing requires divinity, with "nothing" thus defined by fiat to be "that from which only God can create something." It has also been suggested by various individuals with whom I have debated the issue that, if there is the "potential" to create something, then that is not a state of true nothingness. And surely having laws of nature that give such potential takes us away from the true realm of nonbeing. But then, if I argue that perhaps the laws themselves also arose spontaneously, as I shall describe might be the case, then that too is not good enough, because whatever system in which the laws may have arisen is not true nothingness. Turtles all the way down? I don't believe so. But the turtles are appealing because science is changing the playing field in ways that make people uncomfortable. Of course, that is one of the purposes of science (one might have said "natural philosophy" in Socratic times). Lack of comfort means we are on the threshold of new insights. Surely, invoking "God" to avoid difficult questions of "how" is merely intellectually lazy. After all, if there were no potential for creation, then God couldn't have created anything. It would be semantic hocus-pocus to assert that the potentially infinite regression is avoided because God exists outside nature and, therefore, the "potential" for existence itself is not a part of the nothingness from which existence arose. My real purpose here is to demonstrate that in fact science has changed the playing field, so that these abstract and useless debates about the nature of nothingness have been replaced by useful, operational efforts to describe how our universe might actually have originated. I will also explain the possible implications of this for our present and future. This reflects a very important fact. When it comes to understanding how our universe evolves, religion and theology have been at best irrelevant. They often muddy the waters, for example, by focusing on questions of nothingness without providing any definition of the term based on empirical evidence. While we do not yet fully understand the origin of our universe, there is no reason to expect things to change in this regard. Moreover, I expect that ultimately the same will be true for our understanding of areas that religion now considers its own territory, such as human morality. Science has been effective at furthering our understanding of nature because the scientific ethos is based on three key principles: (1) follow the evidence wherever it leads; (2) if one has a theory, one needs to be willing to try to prove it wrong as much as one tries to prove that it is right; (3) the ultimate arbiter of truth is experiment, not the comfort one derives from one's a priori beliefs, nor the beauty or elegance one ascribes to one's theoretical models. The results of experiments that I will describe here are not only timely, they are also unexpected. The tapestry that science weaves in describing the evolution of our universe is far richer and far more fascinating than any revelatory images or imaginative stories that humans have concocted. Nature comes up with surprises that far exceed those that the human imagination can generate. Over the past two decades, an exciting series of developments in cosmology, particle theory, and gravitation have completely changed the way we view the universe, with startling and profound implications for our understanding of its origins as well as its future. Nothing could therefore not be more interesting to write about, if you can forgive the pun. The true inspiration for this book comes not so much from a desire to dispel myths or attack beliefs, as from my desire to celebrate knowledge and, along with it, the absolutely surprising and fascinating universe that ours has turned out to be. Our search will take us on a whirlwind tour to the farthest reaches of our expanding universe, from the earliest moments of the Big Bang to the far future, and will include perhaps the most surprising discovery in physics in the past century. Indeed, the immediate motivation for writing this book now is a profound discovery about the universe that has driven my own scientific research for most of the past three decades and that has resulted in the startling conclusion that most of the energy in the universe resides in some mysterious, now inexplicable form permeating all of empty space. It is not an understatement to say that this discovery has changed the playing field of modern cosmology. For one thing, this discovery has produced remarkable new support for the idea that our universe arose from precisely nothing. It has also provoked us to rethink both a host of assumptions about the processes that might govern its evolution and, ultimately, the question of whether the very laws of nature are truly fundamental. Each of these, in its own turn, now tends to make the question of why there is something rather than nothing appear less imposing, if not completely facile, as I hope to describe. The direct genesis of this book hearkens back to October of 2009, when I delivered a lecture in Los Angeles with the same title. Much to my surprise, the YouTube video of the lecture, made available by the Richard Dawkins Foundation, has since become something of a sensation, with nearly a million viewings as of this writing, and numerous copies of parts of it being used by both the atheist and theist communities in their debates. Because of the clear interest in this subject, and also as a result of some of the confusing commentary on the web and in various media following my lecture, I thought it worth producing a more complete rendition of the ideas that I had expressed there in this book. Here I can also take the opportunity to add to the arguments I presented at the time, which focused almost completely on the recent revolutions in cosmology that have changed our picture of the universe, associated with the discovery of the energy and geometry of space, and which I discuss in the first two-thirds of this book. In the intervening period, I have thought a lot more about the many antecedents and ideas constituting my argument; I've discussed it with others who reacted with a kind of enthusiasm that was infectious; and I've explored in more depth the impact of developments in particle physics, in particular, on the issue of the origin and nature of our universe. And finally, I have exposed some of my arguments to those who vehemently oppose them, and in so doing have gained some insights that have helped me develop my arguments further. While fleshing out the ideas I have ultimately tried to describe here, I benefitted tremendously from discussions with some of my most thoughtful physics colleagues. In particular I wanted to thank Alan Guth and Frank Wilczek for taking the time to have extended discussions and correspondence with me, resolving some confusions in my own mind and in certain cases helping reinforce my own interpretations. Emboldened by the interest of Leslie Meredith and Dominick Anfuso at Free Press, Simon & Schuster, in the possibility of a book on this subject, I then contacted my friend Christopher Hitchens, who, besides being one of the most literate and brilliant individuals I know, had himself been able to use some of the arguments from my lecture in his remarkable series of debates on science and religion. Christopher, in spite of his ill health, kindly, generously, and bravely agreed to write a foreword. For that act of friendship and trust, I will be eternally grateful. Unfortunately, Christopher's illness eventually overwhelmed him to the extent that completing the foreword became impossible, in spite of his best efforts. Nevertheless, in an embarrassment of riches, my eloquent, brilliant friend, the renowned scientist and writer Richard Dawkins, had earlier agreed to write an afterword. After my first draft was completed, he then proceeded to produce something in short order whose beauty and clarity was astounding, and at the same time humbling. I remain in awe. To Christopher, Richard, then, and all of those above, I issue my thanks for their support and encouragement, and for motivating me to once again return to my computer and write. © 2012 Lawrence M. Krauss Excerpted from A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher. Excerpted from A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.