Lawrence Krauss: Beyond Physics
Since then, the best value for the cosmological constant wasassumed to be zero, since no measurement indicated the contrary.Recent observations of the expansion rate of the Universe now lendmuch stronger support to the notion that it is not zero, and isprecisely in the range Krauss and Turner argued it should be on thebasis of other observations. Even a very small pressure can beimportant if it permeates the entire Universe."Explaining why empty space has energy, and why it should have anenergy that is comparable to the present energy density associatedwith matter in the Universe is currently well beyond ourunderstanding, which makes this one of the most interestingdevelopments in cosmology in the past 20 years," Krauss says.Krauss is drawn to interesting science like moons are drawn tomajor planets. It’s what makes him glow.
Krauss, who has a loquacious gift good for generating publicinterest in science, is not content merely continuing what Einsteinstarted. He’s intent now on resuming the work of the late CarlSagan.Krauss, already the author of five popular books, among them
ThePhysics of Star Trek
(Harper Perennial, 1996), and
Beyond Star Trek
(Basic Books, 1997), has a talent for amusing readers with livelydiscussions of theoretical physics. He does this by enshrouding themore arcane topics of physics in entertaining questions, addressingissues such as what happens when the transporter beams you off thebridge of the Starship Enterprise, what anti-matter is and whatstarships do with it, how a hologram differs from a holodeck, andexactly what gets warped at warp speed.Science fiction, Krauss has found, is useful in teaching physics tothose who might otherwise be uninterested. Tending more towardHawaiian shirts than academic tweed in his writing style, Kraussprovides new approaches for the unconversant to such topics ofpopular interest as the potential for the existence of lifeelsewhere in the Universe, the possibility of intergalactic spacetravel, the nature of the quantum universe and what it would takefor extrasensory perception to really exist.The books became bestsellers, interesting a broader audience thanthe Trekkie subculture.
Beyond Star Trek,
sold over120,000 copies in hardcover, a record for its publisher. Another,
Fear of Physics
(Basic Books, 1993), was printed in eight languagesand was the 1994 finalist for the American Physical Society'sScience Writing Award.The New York-born, Canada-raised Krauss is equally comfortablelecturing undergraduates on physics and astronomy, speaking at theYale Club, delivering the opening plenary lecture in French at thebiannual French Physical Society, addressing a room full ofKlingons or chatting on the tranquil couches of Good MorningAmerica. His campaign has taken him several times recently to
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