February 6

Earth and Beyond

Wednesday’s Big Idea

Being and Nothingness

At the heart of all mythologies is the attempt to answer the question "Where do we come from?" and its corollary, "Why are we here?" If the answer to the first question is "nothing," than many of us will be uncomfortable with the answer to the second question.

"Nothing" is the answer that is offered to us through the laws of quantum mechanics. But once we have understood the implications of this notoriously difficult concept, what are the implications for how we find a moral purpose in our lives? 

In today's lesson, physicist Lawrence Krauss says the idea that we are not the instruments of some creator is not pessimistic, but "spiritually uplifting." 

  1. 1 A Guide to Understanding Nothing
  2. 2 What You Don't Know About the Big...
  3. 3 What Came Before the "Big Bang?"
  4. 4 Dark Energy: The Energy of Nothing
   
  1. A Guide to Understanding Nothing

    A Guide to Understanding Nothing

    Nothing is a physical concept, because it’s the absence of something. "What we’ve learned over the last hundred years," Lawrence Krauss says, "is that nothing is much more complicated than we would’ve imagined otherwise."

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  2. What You Don't Know About the Big Bang

    What You Don't Know About the Big Bang

    The dark matter conundrum will occupy us for a long time.

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  3. What Came Before the "Big Bang?"

    What Came Before the "Big Bang?"

    "It is really a high density situation that we call the big bang, but there is really no explosion," says Freese. "There is no 'bang.' There is no singular point."

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  4. Dark Energy: The Energy of Nothing

    Dark Energy: The Energy of Nothing

    What do you get when you add the total matter of the universe to the total energy of the universe? Zero. "So it takes no energy to create a universe," Dr. Kaku points out. "A universe is a free lunch."

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