A Universe From Nothing (Lecture)

A Universe From Nothing (Lecture)

2009, Science  -   193 Comments
Ratings: 8.59/10 from 277 users.

Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing.

Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including "The Physics of Star Trek."

If you've ever wanted to answer that annoying question, "how could the Universe have formed from nothing", then watch this video.

Lawrence Krauss is funny, informative, and if you watch the entire video (it's over an hour long, so you might need to pause it a few times), he will blow your mind. Lawrence seems like a pretty cool guy.

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7 days ago

All this makes me laugh !! We humans think we're so smart , thinking we can claim to know anything about the universe .... please ! We dont even yet know the depths of our own oceans and what lies below , but we think we can do a few math equations and Wha ~ La , we have the facts about space .... LOL !!!

Jay Urrego
7 months ago

Why is there something rather than nothing, and he answers with sarcasm, but then he has praise for evolution which has been debunked every day. The running argument of most secular cosmologists is precisely that God could not have created the universe from nothing, and he tries to jump ahead of the question by admitting that this is the normal state.

Jack Darnahan
1 year ago

The libs are ruining Murica!!

Digital Bookworm
2 years ago

Absolutely nothing happened to me today...
...but I posted all the details on Facebook.

Rick Warren
3 years ago

The devil wants you to think that science has all the answers, that's why he manipulates the lights in the skies and the bones in the ground that got stirred up from the Flood.

4 years ago

The same old tired non answer to their dilemma. First there was "nothing"and then it EXPLODED!

John Lee Hammer
4 years ago

Hay bobby...everything has its own place.

5 years ago

Do 'scientists' imagine that they have no need to study religion because they alone possess all the knowledge necessary?
And here is yet ANOTHER one who imagines that his learned knowledge is greater than the God whose creation is that which he is a part of. Another easy dismissal of unstudied truth somehow inherent to the lecturer. A lack of knowledge which he mocks as supposedly being a part of a religious person's attitude; whereupon he turns and displays the same lack of knowledge that he mocks.
Sir, if we truly want to know ANYTHING we must be WILLING to put in the time to study the question at hand. (Cue the scoffing) It will not be forced on us. If we want to know about God, religion or religious people, rest assure it will not be gotten from a person who has, without a study of religion, drawn a perfectly prejudiced conclusion BUILT on the pride of scientific learning or self-imposed blindness. Although there is plenty of superstition to be found in religious people, there is, for those sincerely going beyond a rudimentary study, a reality which does not oppose science but rather gives us a path to the truest beauty of all creation......and sometimes a door to further science itself.

7 years ago

There was nothing here I didn't hear before, so maybe I am more up to date than I thought? I don't like the way he insults religious people, calling them nutters and looking down upon them. There are some extremists, but not all. I love science and believe in it. I also feel there is a higher being that created all this. Let's say the universe is my idea of a God. Some call it God, some call it the Universe, some call it Energy, some call it Karma. The two are not irreconcilable.

7 years ago

This is the best lecture/documentary I've seen in a long time, a must watch! =)

7 years ago

I do not doubt the validity of any of the theories discussed here, and theoretical physics is without question one of the major lights shining on the path of human understanding at this point in our existence. However I think it is such a shame that certain scientific commentators still feel it necessary to fight this war against religion and fuel one of the least constructive social conflicts ever to exist! The existence of religion holds as many clues as to the origin and purpose of life on earth as any far-reaching scientific theories, not necessarily because they hold any absolute truth, but because they have been inspired by human experiences of something 'extra-terrestrial', spiritual, or otherwise other-dimensional.

Theoretical physics is continually suggesting that the nature of reality is in fact far more unusual and 'illogical' than anything science fiction, ancient mythology, or religious theology has ever supposed. So why this mocking of religious belief? These are people that are looking for meaning, as human beings have the unique and irremovable characteristic of doing, and the systems of faith that have survived over millenia have done so off of the back of some serious core inspiration followed up with key spiritual events, that may well be evidence of actual multi-dimensional experiences. Few scientists would argue with the necessity of learning from the past, and yet leaders in their fields are making exactly the same mistake as so many of the pioneers did- dismissing evidence that sits outside of their comfortable models because it's too outlandish. In a scientific world of increasingly outlandish theories, some of these 'crazy' ideas might in fact be clues pointing towards the truth. The point is that we don't know, so why continually act like we do. Science only remains alive and progressive by continually being proven mistaken.

David Harding
8 years ago

I think we should all watch it again.

David Harding
8 years ago

God is nothing much! ...... As its supposed to have created everything, then were left with a lot of nothing. In the beginning God created itself and said it was good and bad and everything in between. Wonderful; now what did you think about the lecture.

Science Nerd
8 years ago

I have to honestly say my enjoyment of this lecture was lessoned by the distraction of a (pointless) constant onslaught of snide remarks about religion. I'm not religious and I found it tasteless. One can only imagine how a religious person, who might be considering giving science a go, might feel. I have recently witnessed many scientists doing this. It isn't helpful for scientists to resort to the same ridiculous tactics that religion has used against scientists. It's beneath a scientists to do so and does nothing to open the doors of enlightened thinking to those entrenched in religious dogmas and, in fact, only further entrenches them in the "us against them" mentality.

8 years ago

Lol, physics could use a whole lot of philosophy. So many of the conclusions that are popular today are so incredibly illogical. And what has become a beaten path started with the Quantum Revolution. What sounds more reasonable? 1) That an idea such as uncertainty was born out of religion? As in you could use it to say that you can't trace destiny, thereby protecting your faith. Or if you're an atheist, to use math as a religion. As in there is no need for God because of Quantum Physics? OR 2) That there is no certainty. Magic is real!? And that Einstein's idea of a "hidden variable" is stoopit hed? Again, philosophy in physics is badly needed right now. In other words, an emphasis on logic instead of a blind faith in mathematics.

If you'd like to hear a physicist that uses logic, look up John Moffat. He got a Cambridge education out of his correspondence with Einstein, for those looking for some type of credibility. You can find him on Youtube.

8 years ago

The things we are in the dark about grows faster than the amount of things we have shed light on. Agntology.

8 years ago

It seems to me that the presently unanswered questions remain, It should be remembered the in fact all the religious leaders all were delivering their ideas on how others should conduct themselves, their aims have been manipulated to comply with others desires. I can only agree that the answer to our existence is still beyond our understanding. Question does the entry side of a black hole balance by the exit side (black and white?) natures balance.

8 years ago

great lecture! but isn't it obvious that the search for dark matter particles is a wild goose chase? surely the best explanation for the mass observed in a vacuum is its interaction with an adjacent energy field? so that the mass of the vacuum inside the atom is the result of its interaction with the surrounding energy fields that make up the quantum particles within the atom, and the dark energy masses of the vacuum pools out in deep space are the result of their interaction with the energy fields of adjacent astral bodies. nature abhors a vacuum; always trying to weave it's spindly little threads through the emptiness.

9 years ago

Seems like philosophy is not so useless after all, given that science does not know how many crucial observations it has lost the opportunity to observe.

9 years ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this; should be watched by every highschool student at least.

9 years ago

A great lecture with some good humor. Definitely worth a watch. With that said, I had some concerns regarding his 'proof' that the universe is expanding. There is an equal argument using his own analogy that the universe could be collapsing in on itself.
It should also be noted Krauss's attempts at ridiculing religion diminishes his position, especially his interpretation of what Einstein meant when he said regarding "did god have any choice in how the universe was created". This only confirmed his own bias, and was proof that his knowledge regarding Einstein's thoughts was actually quite limited. Perhaps this was because he was there for Richard Dawkins, but either way, being professional is based upon being respectful, even if you don't agree with other people's positions, or values! In other words, stick to the point at hand, and forget trying to reduce those who think differently. Too bad, because otherwise the lecture was quite informative, and entertaining.

10 years ago

The notion that billions of years from now newly evolving civilizations will be without the ability to see anything beyond their own galaxy and will be deprived of our understanding of the universe is frightening. I'll never know those guys but I feel sorry for them and the religions they will have to deal with.

10 years ago

"Forget Jesus--stars died so you could be here today."

10 years ago

Have you seen "Q&A - Lawrence Krauss and Christians?" Perhaps a link is in order. Usual solicitation of your opinion.

10 years ago

Fascinating talk and I actually got goosebumps a couple of times!

10 years ago

one thing i always thought was, does spacetime stretch? if it does wouldnt huge objects like galaxy's pull spacetime from the surrounding area in, does light move uniformly through this stretched space, or would it also be stretched, if the latter then wouldnt it look red shifted? no? ok.

Daniel Buhr
10 years ago

@delanceau... I don't intend to try to doubt your intelligence.. you seem smart enough... but Krauss' idea of nothing, is not absolute nothingness. My criticism of what you have to say is this: you require a tremendous amount of evidence for these theories, but you have a problem with Krauss' doubt of Christianity. If there's anything that lacks complete evidence it's creationism.

10 years ago

Krauss must assume quantum mechanics so the universe does not actually come from nothing.
Most recent scholarship on major cosmological theories all require a beginning.4 No current theory allows an eternity past! Hence all current theories say there still had to be a beginning.
Fine tuning is still a problem for materialists. There is no evidence so far for hidden dimensions, other universes, string theory, etc.
The matter/antimatter problem is still unsolved.
Krauss admits deism may be right. His rejection of Christianity seems to based more on personal rather than scientific criteria.
Young earth/old universe cosmologies such as Russell Humphrey’s can explain the CMB, abundance of light elements, “axis of evil”, expansion of the universe, and the starlight-time problem.
Even if the landscape and the anthropic principle are correct (there is no evidence they are), one still has to explain origin of life and evolution. However, there is still no evidence for hidden dimensions, other universes, Hawking radiation, etc.
Much of Krauss’s scenarios are speculative and depend on a quantum theory of gravity, which is not currently available.

10 years ago

game theory. its a platform universe. data based created bt us in the future thats why there is mytsery :)

10 years ago

Fantastic documentary. It's always nice to see well thought out material such as this with a warm element of humour thrown in for kicks :)

10 years ago

Loved this film, always enjoy re-watching it in my spare time.
Lawrence Krauss is wonderfully informative and delightfully witty through and through ^_^

Never really understood why western theology (and to some minor extent, western philosophical thought) holds to the idea of "ex nihilo nihil fit", or nothing comes from nothing. I disagree, I'd say you can't have something without nothing in much the same way you wouldn't know solid without space to contrast it with.

A universe from nothing seems perfectly logical, at least to me, and Mr. Krauss does a wonderful job of explaining to the general masses how this may be so. If anything, it should point us towards the notion that our Universe is more wonderful and mysterious than we could have ever imagined!

11 years ago

Was sure I'd watched this, turns out I hadn't! Very good!
First question, when he says you can measure the weight of something by its gravity, is that basically the same as measuring the pound pull of a longbow? The stronger the bow the greater the weight needed to pull it? I thought the more mass a thing has the more gravity it has, it's hard to jump off our planet because it has big gravity. Why does it all make some sense when I'm listening and then none at all afterwards? ;)

11 years ago

the one who talk about religen must know about religen, so the one who talk about science. you must ask me, the one who knows both perfectly to answer both people who stuck in mud like a dunky. this Gentelman....what is his name?...the gnostic man, he deny's religen when he knows not enaugh about it, if he was beside me i convence him in 10 min, just if he clame he is a scientist, if he really knows science i will convence him less than 10 min. so he is not a scientist if not looking for the answer. thank you very much Elvis left the building.

11 years ago

This guy is an id**t. Read a few books and regurgitates text book nonsense. All on our tax dollars. Its like the shell game...he just never has an answer for anything. Meanwhile billions of dollars down the drain.

11 years ago

God created the universe, then created galaxy's, stars, planets and eventually humans - Ok so far so good. But who then created God - Maybe God's God - we can go on for ever(infinity). Theoretical Physics makes sense to humans but it still could be wrong.I think we as humans still got a long way to go. Lets just try to get along.

11 years ago

Any thoughts about reviving the tired light hypothesis (tlh)? I do realize that the tlh has been relegated to the dustbin of physics history as a bad joke. However, as physicicists and astronomers keep on inventing new explanations for the unexplainable, I'm having second thoughts about ideas we've trashed. The falsification of the tlh hangs on a number of self-consistent assumptions, such as Tolman's surface brightness test of galaxies, the mainstream's acceptance of relativity theory, the nature and spread of microwave background radiation (mbr), and so on. But I'm not satisfied that the case is closed. A photon traversing the vast distances of space has a likelihood of encountering events that can snuff it out or bleed off energy (offbled energy needs to go somewhere - mbr, anyone?), to provide alternative explanations for otherwise self-consistent observations. Maybe every entity ages (the effects of entropy), even photons.

On the plus side... do I agree with Krauss' argument of zero total energy throughout the universe, because it gels with my own atheistic axiom that the universe is inevitable, no god required.

11 years ago

This was a very nice lecture, even a total witnit like me could follow it. Without having to understand every detail of theoretical physics. love it.

11 years ago

Just a little thought inspired by one of Krauss's closing remarks:

If the multiverse is infinite in extent, every possible thing, of course, happens all the time in some region of it. This means that not only will quantum fluctuations produce "this room with everything in it", they will produce a world full of fossils and geological strata, and in fact a universe full of redshifted galaxies and cosmic microwave background radiation; that is, a universe that completely appears to be 13.72 billion years old, but was in fact formed by a freak quantum fluctuation a few years ago, exactly as it is.

Also, the same phenomenon will sometimes result in intelligent creatures capable of creating universes, and therefore universes created by these creatures.

Problem, atheists?

11 years ago

i can't get enought of these docs :PPP

11 years ago

If you think you know it limits your ability to learn……….

A wise man is someone who knows, he knows nothing.
If you think you know all about something, it hampers or limits your ability to learn anything new in relationship to it.

11 years ago

Very good!

11 years ago

uv never lived until uv taken a psychedelic..once u take one u'll realize why they are banned,anyways nothing is for certain. I personally believe that there is a God

11 years ago

if u take lsd u'll believe in god

11 years ago

I thought this would be a science lecture - but instead it is some kook talking about science fiction...disappointing!

11 years ago

I don't mean to offend anyone w/ the atheist comment. Maybe I just cannot understand either viewpoint because I was brought up in an nonreligious household that did not push one view or the other on me, I could understand the pent up frustration that some people have w/ religions, esp. Judaism-Christian-Islamic just because they perhaps grew up in an overbearing household and also the wars perpetuated by members of these religious groups... But still, tis not a reason to hate the religion in general, more of a reason to hate the charismatic leaders who use a philosophical ideal as a tool to dominate, the same can happen with science, when the scientific community ostracizes a member for a controversial belief that goes against their long held traditions... Is science as a community not much different from the incense swinging mysteries of the vatican... in a way at the least? I just like for people to question themselves... to hold any viewpoint so tightly cannot be good for one's intellect or psyche.

11 years ago

Erm... clarification, the idea of: No such thing as a beginning or end, just an is-ness...

11 years ago

I just have one thing to pick at... why is it almost all hardline atheists are just as dogmatic and intolerable as fanatic religious individuals? Also, how can you say that for sure, you *know* what happens after death... even science has said that it does not know, and cannot prove anything regarding this... to follow science as blindly as a god seems futile. BTW. I am not a Christian, Hindu, et al. I stand neutral on the god matter... I just choose to not vehemently push views onto others that I myself cannot prove, and then say that I am overly scientific, and intelligent and moral. I feel that it is a most unscientific thing, and quite base. If atheists would like to one up the religious community, why not be kind to them and treat them nicely, just so you can prove that you're all more christ like than them, and don't even believe in him! ;) Cheer up guys! And don't take everything science says to be truth, no one in this world can know anything for *sure*. god has not been proven, nor disproven, so for one to say that science has disproven the existence of a god is quite illogical.

On another note, what about the idea that the universe has always been, will always be, and is an ever-changing infinite system?

12 years ago

Seems like the notion of a beginning of a universe that could have been formed from nothing is baseless or a canard for it would not have had a beginning if it were infinite. Infinity comes and goes in every direction. Not from something nor from nothing.

Robert Goldberg
12 years ago

My Favorite Documentary. Our existence a "Coincident or Design", "A Special Time" being the only time life can exist. Then the Dr. "Returns to the Center of the Universe" to create a Different "Special Time" and infinite "Special Times" when life may exist. Something from nothing or from "THE VOID" sounds like Gods creation, GOD which is yet to be defined or described by anyone I know or heard of to my satisfaction. WHAT OF COSMIC HUMILITY?Please define God, love and Eternal. I don't understand or have ever seen any of them, but I experience LOVE and all of them at every opportunity.
This without considering Reality and Truth from Bishop Berkeley to Kant. Sincerely loved Lecture, learned so much, opened too many doors to new questions.THANK YOU

12 years ago

This is also one of my favorite videos on the site; very informative and clearly explains and relates a lot of complex concepts

However I agree with Atom's comment. It may be true that the universe was created out of quantum fluctuations, but to say that this means something was created from nothing, and that that in turn proves there is no need for the concept of a prime-mover, is in my opinion a step too far. It's a case of science over-stepping it's mark; a worrying sign given the history of religions in this regard.

Quantum fluctuations may be defined as essentially nothing in the realm of Physics, but then wasn't it Richard Feynman who said nobody truly understands Quantum Mechanics? I think Laurence Krauss has indeed led us on a bit of a Mystery Story here. His story ends at the point where neither Physics nor Cosmology can offer any further explanations for the mystery within their current paradigms. And rather than ending the story with something along the lines of "this is as far as we can go with the story in today's limits of scientific understanding", rather he concludes that a phenomenon not entirely understood by science is now in fact a new definition of nothing. And with this understanding he has shown us there is no need for a prime mover in the universe.

Given how smoothly and clearly the story runs up to this point, it's particularly disappointing that in order to reach the climax, we need to make a leap-of-faith with this new definition of nothing. Perhaps the idea is totally plausible to Cosmologists and Theoretical Physicists; in which case it's more an issue of failure to communicate the idea to the rest of us mere mortals!

A possibly related aside: I seem to remember some idea related to M-Theory and Parallel Universes whereby quantum fluctuations were seen as the crossing of particles from one universe to another [I could be confusing this with another idea on gravitational forces "leaking" across universes]. If there's anything to this, it suggests that in the realm of physics, Krauss' nothing is in fact something from a different universe