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Physicist tells ‘greatest’ cosmic story

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 02:11

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ORACLE PHOTO/CASPER YEN

 

Humans are insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things — but that’s OK, internationally recognized theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss said.

In an event titled “The Greatest Story Ever Told…So Far,” Krauss spoke to more than 700 students at the Marshall Student Center on Tuesday. 

Sponsored by the Humanities Institute at USF, Krauss said he aimed to galvanize students into considering their small place in the universe.

Krauss, author of “A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing,” said humans must learn from the universe. 

“Our grave effort to understand is humanity at its best,” he said.

We are here by a cosmic accident, he said, and the universe owes us nothing.

“We are a sideshow in a cosmic story,” he said. “A story that will continue even after we’re gone.”

Krauss said everything in existence is connected. He referenced the unity between magnetism and electricity — a discovery that led us to harness light.

“Let there be light,” he said.

The close relationship between space and time, which implies time is relative from person to person, further indicates an undivided universe, he said.

Physicists suggest there could be one force of nature, a grand unified theory that reduces the entire universe into a single equation, he said.

“It is an accident, but what a lucky accident,” he said.

The true origin of the universe is more fascinating than any genesis told by religion, he said.

Both science and religion promote a deeper truth beyond the everyday perception of reality. However, science pursues truth whereas religion presumes “false truth,” he said.

“Science doesn’t have imagined forces, unlike religion,” he said.

There may be no divinely ordained meaning to the universe, but the absence of God allows freedom to create one’s own purpose, he said.

Krauss said he enjoys lecturing at universities across the world, especially to nonscientists.

“I’m a teacher. I enjoy provoking youth to think,” he said. “It is exciting to be wrong, confused or both … which I usually am.”

Kevin Mackay, an astrophysics professor at USF, said he discussed the geometric and natural properties underlying the universe over lunch with Krauss.

“The fact that the inception of the universe can come about from nothing is very exciting,” he said.

Anthony DeSantis, a philosophy professor, said he is continually fascinated by the discoveries of quantum physics but is wary of a conviction in atheism.

“There’s no one essential definition to God,” he said. “So before physicists can disprove God, we must first ask what God is.”

Krauss said he hoped he at least got people’s “heads to spin a little.”

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