Lawrence M. Krauss

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Lawrence M. Krauss

Lawrence Maxwell Krauss (born May 27, 1954) is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is professor of physics, Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and director of the Origins Project at the Arizona State University. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek.


  • My area of research is something that in all fairness has no practical usability whatsoever and the thing is I'm often asked to apologize for that. It is interesting to me that people ask 'what's the point of doing that if it's not useful?' But they never ask that, or do they very rarely ask that about art or literature or music. Those things are not gonna produce a better toaster.
  • There is a maxim about the universe which I always tell my students: That which is not explicitly forbidden is guaranteed to occur.
  • Now, since the time of Newton there had been a debate about whether light was a wave---that is, a traveling disturbance in some background medium---or a particle, which travels regardless of the presence of a background medium. The observation of Maxwell that electromagnetic waves must exist and that their speed was identical to that of light ended the debate: light was an electromagnetic wave.
  • Richard Feynman used to go up to people all the time and he'd say "You won't believe what happened to me today... you won't believe what happened to me" and people would say "What?" and he'd say "Absolutely nothing". Because we humans believe that everything that happens to us is special and significant. And that — and Carl Sagan wrote beautifully about that in The Demon-Haunted World — that is much of the source of religion. Everything that happens is unusual and I expect that the likelihood that Richard and I ever would've met. If you think about all the variables: the probability that we were in the same place at the same time, ate breakfast the same. Whatever. It's zero. Every event that happens has small probability... but it happens and then when it happens; if it's weird, if you dream one million nights and it's nonsense but one night you dream that your friend is gonna break his leg and the next day he breaks his arm... *sound of revelation* So the real thing that physics tell us about the universe is that it's big, rare events happen all the time — including life — and that doesn't mean it's special.
  • Science simply forces us to revise what is sensible to accommodate the universe, rather than vice versa.
  • The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.
  • In 5 billion years, the expansion of the universe will have progressed to the point where all other galaxies will have receded beyond detection. Indeed, they will be receding faster than the speed of light, so detection will be impossible. Future civilizations will discover science and all its laws, and never know about other galaxies or the cosmic background radiation. They will inevitably come to the wrong conclusion about the universe......We live in a special time, the only time, where we can observationally verify that we live in a special time.
  • The other thing people don't realise about science which differentiates it from religion is that, the most exciting thing about being a scientist is not knowing and being wrong. Because that means there is a lot left to learn.
  • It is a shame when nonsense can substitute for fact with impunity.
    • In a panel discussion on Real Time with Bill Maher, 02/08/2013

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