Sunday, April 29, 2012

How There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

This article by Sean Carroll, "A Universe from Nothing?", is a very clear explication of the two primary explanations in contemporary physics of how it is that there is something (the universe) rather than nothing. Carroll begins by referring to Lawrence Krauss's book "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing" and David Albert's negative review of Krauss's book in the New York Times. Carroll also nicely lays out how Krauss and Albert are talking past each other, as they are addressing two different versions of the questions they differ on. 

But the real reason to read Carroll's article is independent of its occasion (the dispute between Krauss and Albert). Even those for those with little or no background in physics, Carroll lays out the issues so clearly that you can get a sense of what possibilities are established by contemporary physical theory. I cannot recommend the article highly enough!


Joseph Duemer said...

Thanks for this -- I'm half-way through the Krauss book, which is fascinating though its somewhat flip tone can be a little off-putting. Despite that, he can explain complex physics in clear English, which I appreciate.

Andrew Shields said...

Carroll's tone is just right, it seems to me, not at all flip, not at all condescending about the difficulties of the mathematics behind what he says, just clear and solid.

That said, I don't know if someone who knows the physics better might be more critical of Carroll.