here to answer questions about life, the Universe, and nothing.. and our new movie, and whatever else.

Comments: 836 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

Acgcbc246 karma

Dr. Krauss,

I am a high school senior and I will be pursuing a degree in physics while in college (then I plan to work my way up to a PhD) and want to concentrate on theoretical physics. My question to you, if you would be so kind to answer, is what personal advice - or experience - can you lend to me that will help me be recognized by the scientific community? Yes, I realize I have a long road ahead that will require work, but what can I do to help myself and my work be noticed by the scientific community?

Thank you.

lkrauss528 karma

  1. work hard. 2. do good work. 3. don't let the bastards get you down, and 4. ENJOY yourself.

lkrauss209 karma

going once, going twice.. gone.. thanks everyone..

Rho_Cassiopeiae140 karma

Hi Dr. Krauss.

From my perspective, there are several public educators promoting reason and science who seem to have different approaches (style and ethos of communication) towards discussing religion in public, despite having a common thread among them -- their lack of belief in religion. Here I'm talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Yourself, Sean Caroll, Phil Plait, etc.

My question is: Who do you think has the "best" approach among all of these academics, excluding yourself? What aspects of some of these approaches are you not terribly fond of and what aspects do you greatly admire? What would you like to see more of and what would you like to see less of? Do you see the different approaches as conflicting or complementary? Or a little bit of both?

lkrauss314 karma

1000 points of light. It takes all kinds of approaches to reach different people. As long as people don't distort the evidence of reality in reaching out to the public then I am fine with all of them. Anything that serves to educate, or produce questioning and interest to look further is good.

NicheNietzsche122 karma

Hi Dr. Krauss,

What do you think is the biggest obstacle humanity will have to overcome in the next 50 years?

lkrauss423 karma

hmm.. besides religion, which I think is an obstacle to progress, I think it may be dealing with the geopolitical consequences of climate change.

Rho_Cassiopeiae117 karma

In your best judgement, what can the average person do to make the most positive contribution to science literacy within their community?

And what career path would you recommend to someone who wants to increase science literacy by as much as possible within their community and their culture at large?

lkrauss180 karma

I think we can all be 'evangelists' for science. Talk to school groups about the wonder of the universe. Or if you go to church talk about it there. Get your kids interested...

Career path: either become a scientist and do good work which gives you credibility in your efforts to reach out, or become a journalist and cover science.

DaminDrexil107 karma

Thank you for joining us this evening.

Your 'universe from nothing' book/lecture often gets criticised for not really describing nothing; that a quantum-vacuum physically exists. Semantics aside; does your hypothesis explain why this existed as opposed to something else? If not, would you care to hazard a guess?

Also; I really enjoyed the 'Great Debate' the Origins Project put on earlier this year, and was happy to hear you get along well with Brian Greene after hearing your opinions of string theorists.

lkrauss121 karma

those critics haven't read the book.. in any case, I never answer why.. I try and answer how..

alcianblue85 karma

Hey, I was just wondering what it was like getting to travel with Richard Dawkins. And if you could talk a bit about your new movie :) also as a bonus, who is the most stubborn person you've met in your debates/discussions and why? (Please say Neil Tyson)

lkrauss158 karma

the most stubborn person I know is Stephen Hawking, but I don't debate him.. :) Richard is a pleasure to travel with and spend time with. We seem to have an easy rapport, and he is quite a happy person actually, and excited to talk about science.

Rho_Cassiopeiae69 karma

Which scientific concept do you think is the most misunderstood by atheists, anti-theists, freethinkers, skeptics, etc.?

lkrauss200 karma

hard to say.. I haven't noticed any common threads to misunderstanding by these groups... Maybe the notion that scientists actually care about god. most couldn't care less about god, as she never enters into scientific conversations.

dr_peeper61 karma

Yo Lawrence, what are your views on Neil DeGrasse Tyson? There sometimes seems to be a little bit of tension between you in some videos. I love you both so I hope you both do actually get along.

lkrauss132 karma

We are friends.. I admire his enthusiasm and his entertainment skills.

MrPepper759 karma

How do you think fans will enjoy your new movie? Also I am starting to get into physics due to you and others. Thanks for being an inspiration.

lkrauss87 karma

I think it is a great movie...I am biased, but I think fans will like it, and more important, I think people who don't know of richard or me will be induced to talk about it afterward, which is the real point.

lkrauss52 karma

well, it looks like there are no more questions, so I guess I will sign off.


Hey, thanks a lot for doing an AMA, my question is if you could say one thing that everyone should know, what would it be?

lkrauss240 karma

science is a process for figuring out how to separate nonsense from sense.., not a set of facts

uwtaylor49 karma


lkrauss62 karma

I use both.. depending on who I am working with..but I tend toward - +++

lkrauss59 karma

p.s. thanks.

FreudianSlipped43 karma

How do you feel the debate with Hamza went? I noticed a lot of people claimed Hamza won, despite the... lecture you had to give him.

I personally think you did a wonderful job, and will always enjoy your next debate.

Thank you, Mr. Krauss.

lkrauss117 karma

I don't like debates, and I don't know who wins.. Some people decide who wins before anyone opens their mouths.. once again, my interest is in provoking people to think.. if I can do that, and reach some of the open minded people who are willing to listen, then fine.. but frankly I don't like the format, and generally don't do them.

baconomy42 karma

What is your favourite pie?

lkrauss91 karma

apple rhubarb

whiteabed35 karma


lkrauss66 karma

well, I don't look through telescopes a lot.. I still find the simple things, like looking at the rings of saturn, breathtaking, and even the craters on mars.. I love almost all hubble space telescope photos, but I have never used the device myself. :)

dmcanimal34 karma

What do you think is being done right with the new atheism movement and what is being done wrong?

lkrauss138 karma

well, I think getting out the notion that there are a lot more atheists than people might realize is good. The major thing being done wrong by some groups is splintering.. worrying about subgroups and whether all atheists are politically correct, etc.. That is counterproductive.

whiteabed34 karma


lkrauss55 karma

I enjoyed the whole thing.. again, almost all of the people are friends or acquaintances of mine, except perhaps Ricky and sarah silverman, who were both very interested in participating because of the content. I was blown away by many of the discussions, and hopefully in the dvd we will be able to show more than we could in the film.

ParanthropusBoisei32 karma

Your Wiki page says you grew up in Toronto. Where in the city did you grow up and how do you think the culture there influenced your thinking today compared to if you had been raised in America? Also, can you share any interesting stories about yourself from your childhood that are relevant to your career?

lkrauss117 karma

i grew up in the north part of the city.. in the suburbs.. I think growing up in canada influenced me a lot.. I had good education, to begin with, but more important, I grew up not being afraid of government, but rather viewing government as something that exists to help people.

whiteabed30 karma


lkrauss72 karma


ParanthropusBoisei27 karma

What is your personal approach, if you have one, towards talking to the average person about their religious beliefs (or their beliefs about religion as an institution) and how it contrasts with your views on those topics?

lkrauss72 karma

I prefer talking to people about the wonder of the universe.. and how you don't need myths to make the universe amazing or to give purpose to your life.. and you don't need the universe to have any purpose for that either. I don't talk to people about their religious beliefs unless they insist on inserting them into the conversation if I can help it..

dr_peeper27 karma

Dr. Krauss, what way do you think is the best way to deal with psuedoscience?

lkrauss80 karma

educate people about how real science works.. get them excited enough to discover for themselves why the nonsense is nonsense.

luvsherb66620 karma

Thanks for doing another AMA Dr. Krauss

I was at the storytelling of science at Gammage in March and was amazed by the intellectual powerhouse you were able to book. It was a great time seeing a packed house.

My question is is it expensive to book those people or do they do it pro-bono, also when is the next time you are going to have an event like that? Do you have anything booked yet?

lkrauss41 karma

Happily they are all friends or people who know me, and we do this out of mutual respect. I am quite honored they come to my events, and I try and return the favor when I can.

Aoe33020 karma

I loved your book, it was one of the best non-fiction reads I've had in the last few months. I was wondering if you were planning to write another book any time soon?

It seems as if science based books are outdated as soon as they're published since the scientific world is learning new things (or updating old ideas) all the time. It's both exciting, and a little overwhelming.

lkrauss40 karma

I am just finishing the proposal for a new book, and would finish it today were it not for doing this.. :)

lkrauss25 karma

p.s. many thanks. I appreciate it.

TheEliteNub19 karma

Dr. Krauss,

Who is your favorite scientist/inventor? Can be dead or alive.

Personally, I'm a Tesla kind of guy.

lkrauss45 karma

I try not to rank people.. there are many great scientists, newton, maxwell, curie, faraday, einstein, feynman, fermi, etc..

baraqiyal18 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA Mr. Krauss.

If the universe is infinite in size, does that mean that the common understanding of the big bang is completely wrong? The common understanding being that the universe started as an infinitesimally small point, that expanded outward. Or at some point did the universe just become infinite in size?

lkrauss59 karma

no.. an infinite universe could still begin with a big bang.. it could consist of an infinite number of infinitely dense points.. Or, our universe could have been a finite region of an infinite universe, with a big bang occurring in our region.

stp200717 karma

What book(s) or other material would you recommend to get people interested and educated into critical thinking and the scientific method?

lkrauss57 karma

I am biased.. I have written 9 books.. so those.. ALso, Feynman's book, THe character of physical law.. and bronowski's book on science and human values are favorites... oldies but goodies.

Rho_Cassiopeiae15 karma

What subject areas with tangential relevance to your career do you wish you were more knowledgeable about but don't have the time to study?

lkrauss37 karma

I find many things fascinating.. wish I knew more about synthetic biology, neuroscience, medieval history, geology... etc

0_x11 karma

Proof please?

lkrauss46 karma

i am here in tempe in my office typing.

freemarket276 karma

Why are scientists still able to detect background radiation of the big bang? I would assume that radiation would have travelled at the speed of light at the time of the bang and would be way past us by now, away from the center of the universe.

lkrauss35 karma

it permeated all of space and still does... there is no center..

freemarket278 karma

I don't understand. There is no center of the universe? The radiation is just sitting there, not moving?

lkrauss35 karma

it moves throughout space, from one place to another.. but if it filled space at the beginning, it still does

blutters5 karma

calvin or hobbes? pearl jam's best song?

lkrauss59 karma

I don't rank people, tigers, or music.. I enjoy them.