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Department of Physics News

Incredibly Exciting Times

Posted Nov. 30, 2005

‘Incredibly exciting times’

Physicist discusses future of the universe for Kent State audience


by Breanne George  

November 30, 2005


We are completely insignificant in the universe.

The future is miserable.

These are the two ideas Case Western Reserve University physics and astronomy professor Lawrence Krauss wanted the audience to remember when he spoke at the Kiva yesterday.

Krauss, a best-selling author and famous physicist, has numerous accolades to his name — including more than 200 published works and a Grammy nomination. He is known for his ability to make science accessible to the general public.

The lecture, “Einstein’s Biggest Blunder: A Cosmic Mystery Story” celebrated the international World Year of Physics 2005, which is the 100 year-anniversary of Albert Einstein’s first work.

Although the lecture celebrated Einstein’s contributions to science, Krauss said the General Theory of Relativity does not describe the universe in which we currently live.

He discussed the importance of dark energy in determining both the beginning and the end of the universe.

“We are in the midst of the greatest mystery in science,” Krauss said. “These are incredibly exciting times.”

Ninety percent of the galaxy is made up of invisible dark matter, which he described as the “energy of nothing.”

Krauss also said the universe is flat, which means it is forever expanding.

“All stars and galaxies will move away from us faster than the speed of light,” Krauss said. “We want to know how much dark energy there is because we want to find out how the universe ends.”

Krauss joked with the audience as he explained topics such as Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Kepler’s Law, keeping the information as simple as possible.

Physics associate professor Brett Ellman said he was impressed with Krauss’s ability to bring physics to the public level.

“One of his talents is to communicate with a sense of humor,” Ellman said. “It’s not easy to make complex material simple.”

Students, faculty and people from all over Northeast Ohio attended the lecture.

“I am a big fan of his,” said physics graduate student Al Calabrese. “I hope this lecture brings awareness of the importance of physics to Kent State.”

Dick Sharp, a retired NASA engineer, came from Bath to attend the lecture.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s interesting to learn new things about the world that I didn’t know before.”

Contact academic technology reporter Breanne George at bcgeorge@kent.edu.

Who is Lawrence M. Krauss?

  • He is the author of more than 200 publications including his national best seller The Physics of Star Trek, which sold over 250,000 copies.
  • He received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • He is a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows.
  • He has received numerous awards including the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 2002 and the American Association of Physics Teachers highest honor, the Oersted Medal.
  • He was nominated for a Grammy award for “Star Trek.”
  • He is a jury member at the Sundance Film Festival.