In Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing I was presented with a wonderful explanation of a deep understanding of our place in the cosmos as we know it today.
Krauss delivered compelling evidence (theoretical calculations as well as direct observations) arguments for a multitude of the wonders of the universe. Ranging from the Big Bang of the universe itself (firmly grounded in reality with evidence from measuring the redshift of stars being moved away from us do to the expansion of the universe, as well as essentially what is a map or infant photo of the universe at a meagre 300,000yrs old) to the shape of the universe – the breadth of knowledge currently held by todays scientists, cosmologists, physicists, astronomers, and many other professions is truly astounding.
Two of my favorite people to learn about – Richard Feynman and Christopher Hitchens, I assume, one for physics brilliance and the other for eloquence and attitude – are mentioned throughout the book, which made it all the better, as I felt that I could relate to many of the idiosyncrasies of each. The quantum world still seems to largely elude my understanding, but various diagrams (initially doodled by Feynman), wonderful analogies, my furthered university education (familiarizing myself with electromagnetics and a light introduction to the world that is quanta), and a noticeable patience in writing helped me make heads or tails (or both, or neither) of the idea that virtual particles whip in and out of existence in infinitely small amounts of time – given that a paired anti-particle is created (or perhaps used to destroy a third) – as long as a conservation of energy is maintained.
My only criticism of Krauss’ (otherwise impeccable) work is an exceptionally minor (I was tempted to use the word quantum here, but I didn’t…. But then I did) one – in that he uses the word facetious frequently in the early stages of the book, and the phrase (however appropriate it may be) “when the dust settles” throughout. It’s a very finicky and self-serving complaint, so I don’t think it will bother anyone else. Along with that, I’m hardly one to be delivering criticism in that regard, as I’m a poor writer at best, and had to look up the definition of facetious to fully understand what it meant.
I won’t spoil any more of the surprises, but if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that if you aren’t completely ruling out the idea of reading this fascinating book, then it’s only a matter of time that you’ll be nose deep in the wonder that is our cosmos. If you get any sense of awe from the vastness of the universe, I highly recommend taking the scientific, empirical, beautiful journey that is A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.