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Lawrence Krauss


Lawrence Krauss

Not to be confused with economist Lawrence B. Krause.
Lawrence M. Krauss
Ghent University, 17 October 2013
Born Lawrence Maxwell Krauss
(1954-05-27) 27 May 1954 (age 60)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Fields Theoretical physics and Cosmology
Institutions Arizona State University
Australian National University
New College of the Humanities
Yale University
Case Western Reserve University
Harvard University
Alma mater

Carleton University (B.Sc.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Known for Dark energy, zero-energy models
Spouse Katherine Kelley (1980-2012; divorced; 1 child)

Lawrence Maxwell Krauss (born May 27, 1954) is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of Arizona State University's Origins Project. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing. He is an advocate of public understanding of science, public policy based on sound empirical data, scientific skepticism, and science education, and works to reduce the impact of superstition and religious dogma in pop culture.


Krauss was born in New York City but spent his childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On January 19, 1980 he married Katherine Kelley, a native of Nova Scotia. Their daughter, Lilli, was born November 23, 1984. Krauss and Kelley separated in 2010 and were divorced in 2012. Krauss received undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics with first class honours at Carleton University (Ottawa) in 1977, and was awarded a Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.

After some time in the Harvard Society of Fellows, he became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1985 and associate professor in 1988. He was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, professor of astronomy, and was chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University from 1993 to 2005. In 2006, Krauss led the initiative for the no confidence vote against Case Western Reserve University's president Edward M. Hundert and provost Anderson by the College of Arts and Sciences faculty. On March 2, 2006 both no-confidence votes carried: 131-44 against Hundert, and 97-68 against Anderson. In August 2008 he joined the faculty at Arizona State University as Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and director of a university initiative, the Origins Project.[1] In 2009 he helped inaugurate this initiative with the Origins Symposium, in which eighty scientists participated and three thousand people attended.[2]

He appears in national media for public outreach in science and has written editorials for The New York Times. His opposition to intelligent design gained national prominence as a result of his 2004 appearance before the state school board of Ohio.[3]

He attended and was a speaker at the Beyond Belief symposium in November 2006 and again in October 2008. He also served on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign science policy committee. In 2008 he was named co-president of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 2010 he was elected to the board of directors of the Federation of American Scientists, and in June 2011 he joined the professoriate of New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[4] In 2013 he accepted a part time Professorship at the Australian National University, in the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Physics Department.[5]

Krauss also is a critic of string theory, which he discusses in his 2005 book, Hiding in the Mirror.[6] Another book released in March 2011 was titled, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, and book titled A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing was released in January 2012 with an afterword by Richard Dawkins. This became a New York Times bestseller within a week of its release, and is being translated into 20 languages. A foreword written by Christopher Hitchens was originally planned, but Hitchens died before it could be finished.[7][8] In Jan 2013 the paperback version of the book appeared, with a new preface including material on the Higgs boson and a new Q&A with the author.

A July, 2012 article in Newsweek written by Krauss explained that the Higgs particle could explain how the Big Bang was caused. He also wrote a longer piece in the New York Times explaining the science and significance of the Higgs boson.[9]

Scientific work

Working mostly in theoretical physics, Krauss has published research on a great variety of topics within that field. His primary contribution is to cosmology, as he was one of the first physicists to suggest that most of the mass and energy of the universe resides in empty space, an idea now widely known as dark energy. Furthermore, Krauss has formulated a model in which the universe could have potentially come from "nothing", as outlined in his 2012 book A Universe from Nothing. As his model agrees with experimental observation such as the shape of the universe and the energy density of the universe, it is referred to as a "plausible hypothesis".[6][10]

Krauss was initially sceptical of the Higgs mechanism. However, after the existence of the Higgs Boson was confirmed by CERN, Krauss has been researching the implications of the Higgs Field on the nature of dark energy.[11]


Krauss is an atheist and has participated in many debates with theologians and apologists, including Hamza Tzortzis [12] and William Lane Craig.[13] In addition, he featured in a full-length documentary titled The Unbelievers, in which he and Professor Richard Dawkins travel across the globe speaking publicly about the importance of science and reason as opposed to religion and superstition, and interview prominent figures such as Stephen Hawking, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, and Cameron Diaz.[14]


Krauss is one of the few living physicists referred to by Scientific American as a "public intellectual",[10] and he is the only physicist to have received awards from all three major U.S. physics societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. In 2012 he was awarded the National Science Board's Public Service Medal for his contributions to public education in science and engineering in the US.[15]

During December 2011, Krauss was named as a non-voting honorary board member for the Center for Inquiry.[16]


Selected publications

Krauss has authored or co-authored more than three hundred scientific studies and review articles on cosmology and theoretical physics. His popular books include:

Documentary films

  • The Unbelievers (2013)


  • Gravity Research Foundation First prize award (1984)
  • Presidential Investigator Award (1986)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science's Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology (2000)
  • Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize (2001)
  • Andrew Gemant Award (2001)
  • American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award (2002)
  • Oersted Medal (2003)
  • American Physical Society Joseph P. Burton Forum Award (2005)
  • Center for Inquiry World Congress Science in the Public Interest Award (2009)
  • Helen Sawyer Hogg Prize of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Astronomical Society of Canada (2009)[1]
  • Physics World Book of the Year 2011 for Quantum Man[18]
  • National Science Board 2012 Public Service Award and Medal (2012)
  • Premio Roma "Urbs Universalis", Rome (2013)


External links

Biography portal
  • Arizona State University faculty listing
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Debate with philosopher Julian Baggini on role of science and philosophy

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