Ingenious: Lawrence M. Krauss
He is a physicist with landmark results under his belt, including the prediction that most of the universe’s energy is stored in free space. He is the author of nine popular books (soon to be 10), including the best-selling The Physics of Star Trek (where I learned that the Enterprise would need to burn 81 times its entire mass in fuel to accelerate to half light-speed).
Krauss is also not one to mince words. Whether it’s on the topic of philosophy (“physics needs philosophy but not philosophers”) or religion (he ran an article in The New Yorker last month with the title “All scientists should be militant atheists”), he is outspoken and occasionally controversial.
That he enjoys a direct or irreverent comment clearly comes through in conversation. But more important to him is his love of science, and his view of the scientific method not just as a practical tool, but as a cultural value that needs to be disseminated and defended, controversy or not.
He spoke to Nautilus from his home in Oregon.
Why is gravity so hard to unify with the other forces of nature?
The beautiful features of the other theories is that quantum fluctuations—and there are an infinite number of them—could in principle produce infinite contributions, which would mean you couldn’t calculate with those theories. But it turns out that there’s a symmetry associated with those theories that causes those contributions to be manageable. You could ignore the infinities and produce predictions that actually work.
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