I will be online for about an hour to answer questions.

Comments: 440 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

lkrauss147 karma

well.. I have to go now.. hope to do this another time..

archaeo-nemesis111 karma

Hi, Lawrence! Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I’ve been a huge fan ever since I saw your lecture “A Universe from Nothing.” My question is: What is the most profound or mind-boggling discovery you’ve made as a scientist, and how did it alter your perception of our universe?

lkrauss178 karma

well.. I have made a number of mind boggling theoretical explanations of the world that, had they been right, would have shaken up our understanding a great deal, but nature turned out not to use them.. such is the life of a theorist.. Probably the most mind boggling discovery I made was when I proposed in fact that dark energy existed. No one was more suprised than I was when it turned out I was right!.. I had partly suggested it to show what was wrong with our then current picture, but not sure I really believed it.. but in fact the universe agreed with me that time... has changed completely our picture of reality.. again, one of the reasons for the new book.

jimgh59 karma

No question. But, I've been a fanboy of yours ever since my high school chemistry teacher pulled a fast one on the administration and took "field trip" to a lecture of yours in the Twin Cities with ten volunteer students, including myself. I still lend The Physics of Star Trek to friends on the regular.

lkrauss62 karma

that makes my day.. :) thanks

drewblank49 karma

Hi, I very much enjoyed hearing from the panel at TAM 2011 in Las Vegas from you, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Pamela Gay. However I noticed there was some animosity between you and Dr. Tyson. Is there some sort of ongoing battle between you and him, some rival of the scientists?

Heres the video if anyone is interested.

Also, in that talk at TAM you said that the James Webb Space Telescope would not help us learn more about the nature of dark energy. Why is that?

P.S.- I just picked up your new book and can't wait to get started.

lkrauss74 karma

thanks.. No Neil and I are good friends.. I think we were just putting on a show for the crowd.. :)

re James webb space telescope... the reason it won't tell us a lot is that it focuses on early times and high redshifts.. and at those times dark energy was a negligible part of the cosmic mix.. it might tell us a bit, but is unlikely to add much to current knowledge about that...

lkrauss55 karma

p.s. I hope you enjoy the book

danoo46 karma

Because you know it's going to be asked. Thoughts on FTL neutrinos and the Higgs?

lkrauss101 karma

FTL neutrinos..: wrong.. for a host of reasons this is so much more likely to be due to a host of experimental systematics than it is due to physics.

Higgs; remarkable.. it validates 50 years of theory..and is amazing if true.. though if it is the only thing they see, that will be a big problem.. see my article in New Scientist.

will743 karma

It appears your AMA got caught in the spam filter! I had a hunch that would happen. I'll try to link people to this. (edit: messaged the mods)

In the mean time, what is your favorite/most interesting science fact?

lkrauss83 karma

ahh.. that explains it..

all time most interesting fact: 70% of the energy of the universe resides in empty space! what could be wilder than that! it is one of the reasons I wrote the new book!

KennyLog-in20 karma

I fixed it. Sorry for the delay!

will772 karma

I feel like a hero.

lkrauss129 karma

you are

-SD-40 karma

I hope you'll return and do another AMA some day.

lkrauss67 karma

me too.

sweatpants240 karma

How'd you do in college? Did you have a favorite teacher/ mentor that influenced your pursuit of physics, or were you drawn to it independently? Was there's something particularly mind-blowing they taught you, or that you read on your own that you remember as being a significant influence on you?

lkrauss95 karma

I did well in college.. did math and physics.. I got interested in science because my mother wanted me to be a doctor, and told me doctors were scientists.. so I got interested in science.. by the time I learned that doctors weren't scientists, it was too late.. I was hooked.. I also got interested in science because of reading books by scientists, which is one of the reasons I write books..

My favorite teacher was a history teacher.. I learned how to write in his class!

[deleted]36 karma

I just wanted to say thank you, sir. You and your colleagues cannot be thanked enough, in my opinion.

lkrauss40 karma


jakwow28 karma

Awesome! Just got my ASU Origins Something from Nothing tickets and am very excited. Been waiting for them to go on sale for quite some time! I have family flying in from out of state to join me.

lkrauss30 karma

great! see you there!

scasher28 karma

What advice do you have for aspiring writers, be it science or otherwise?

lkrauss51 karma

write every day.. that is the only way to improve.. and find opportunities, even local ones, to get your writing published. If you are a science writer, be skeptical.. if you are a scientist who wants to write.. concentrate on your science and write when you can.. the better your science is the greater will be the opportunity to reach a broader audience.

[deleted]21 karma

I just wanted to tell you that you are my hero.

lkrauss20 karma

Thank you!

invertedworld20 karma

Is the expansion of the universe detectable at the everyday scale, and will it ever pull apart the atoms that make up our world?

lkrauss62 karma

no.. gravitationally bound objects are decoupled from the expansion

throwathem15 karma

What is your opinion on the possibility of a so called "theory of everything"? And what implications would it have on physics coming after it?

EDIT: It is costumary to provide evidence of your identity in the body of your post.

I enjoy your talks about physics because they are approachable without an understanding of the math behind it, and seeing how you are an accomplished physicist I don't have to check everything from fifty-eleven different sources before trusting it.

EDIT2: I just noticed that you are gone. O_O

lkrauss17 karma

thanks.. my opinion of string theory is in my book Hiding in the Mirror..



sweatpants213 karma


Hey Dr. Krauss. I'm really excited to be here as you do this AMA.

Can there be/ are there chain reactions of supernovae? ie. Has the explosion of matter/energy from one supernova ever "tipped the scales" for a nearby White Dwarf, causing it to also explode?

^ This, in so many words, is the question my younger brother is working on, as an independent study in high school. He's corresponding with a college professor online, who just yesterday showed him how to use the CDS catalog. I'm asking it because 1. It's an awesome question, 2. To give you feedback that, yes, the younger generation IS realizing how incredible the universe is, yes, they're growing up with a more intimate connection to it (he pursued a question like this, whereas I wouldn't at his age (17)) and yes, it's all thanks to videos online of brilliant physicists and educators who can communicate their humanity as much as they can communicate how fucking awesome the pursuit of science is. I humbly thank you for what you do.

Of the many questions I want to shamelessly tack on (calm down, Redditors,) I'll just choose one: Past or present, what are ..like 3 of your favorite comedic works and/or comedians?

lkrauss27 karma

yes.. it think is possible that the ejecta from one supernova could trigger another explosion.. the eject certainly compress gas in the nearby region.. and if a nearby white dwarf was on the verge of instability due to a close companion, I can imagine the blast wave triggering a burst.

thanks for the kind words.. and good luck to your brother.. it is good to hear..

RedditShmedit11 karma

First, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA.

My question is where do you see science taking our civilization in the next 20 years. What predictions, if any, would you be willing to make in what the advancements in the automotive industry, computing, space travel, etc. be.

Do you have an optimistic outlook in the funding of future projects, or do you feel that due to the current political environment, specifically in the United States, we will not reach our fullest potential in creating greater advancements in science.

lkrauss37 karma

back again to answer some questions..

predictions about the future are notoriously unreliable so I try not to make them.. if I knew what the next big advance was, I would be working on it!

foggy12310 karma

I once heard or read from a quotation from you, I can't remember where, in which you mentioned something about how the time we live in is a perfect time because the universe is expanding. You said that if people in the future on some distant planet were to perform test and observe the universe they would would not get the same results and their view of the universe would be incorrect. Could you explain more about this and/or where this quote came from.

lkrauss9 karma

see my new book for a detailed explanation! :)

will79 karma

What is your favorite quote?

lkrauss58 karma

I have lots of them..

two I like are:

Never ever ever give up.. Winston Churchill


Reality is that which continue to exist even when you stop believing in it..

verbose_gent7 karma

Is time real? I'm assuming the answer is yes so my follow up question is, what are some of the most interesting facts or theories about time?

Edit: I'm sorry I don't have a better question. I did have some prepared for Neil deGrasse Tyson, because I studied up a bit. However, I've since forgotten them.

lkrauss39 karma

it is real enough that I am now late for an appt!

[deleted]7 karma

Aw I'm late!

I hope to see one of your lectures someday!

I hear there's one coming up at CalTech.

lkrauss20 karma

jan 15 at caltech

medkit7 karma

If you return: What do you believe will be the biggest technical innovation within the next 20 years?

lkrauss24 karma

whatever it is.. it will be unexpected.. maybe quantum computers

ticklemygooch4 karma

Hello :). I'm am currently attending ASU and I was wondering what is your view on the new policy that would allow faculty to be terminated for expressing their view on political matters?

lkrauss11 karma

don't know of such a policy

svenskt2 karma

I would love to take the time to thank you for the impression you've made on my interest in science. A Universe From Nothing was one of the very first lectures on science that I ever took the time to watch. I'm now about to go to school for Physics - which is something I never expected 2 years ago. The way I look at the world has changed and is more beautiful than ever before. Thank you for being apart of that.

lkrauss3 karma

thank you for making my day!