Why is there something, rather than nothing at all?
It is, perhaps, the mystery of last resort. Scientists may be at least theoretically able to trace every last galaxy back to a bump in the Big Bang, to complete the entire quantum roll call of particles and forces. But the question of why there was a Big Bang or any quantum particles at all was presumed to lie safely out of scientific bounds, in the realms of philosophy or religion.
Now even that assumption is no longer safe, as exemplified by a new book by the cosmologist Lawrence M. Krauss. In it he joins a chorus of physicists and cosmologists who have been pushing into sacred ground, proclaiming more and more loudly in the last few years that science can explain how something — namely our star-spangled cosmos — could be born from, if not nothing, something very close to it. God, they argue, is not part of the equation.
He gave a talk in 2009 which was a YouTube sensation:
If nothing is our past, it could also be our future. As the universe, driven by dark energy — that is to say, the negative pressure of nothing — expands faster and faster, the galaxies will become invisible, and all the energy and information will be sucked out of the cosmos. The universe will revert to nothingness.
Nothing to nothing.
One day it’s all going to seem like a dream.
But who is or was the dreamer?