Ryan Cox Presents: A Universe from Nothing

Our very own Ryan Cox is going to take us through the Lawrence Krauss book : Universe from Nothing. Here, Krauss tackles the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Can our universe arise spontaneously or is a cause required? Cosmology and physics have given us new insight into the nature of nothingness. This should open up a good discussion about what "nothing" really means in the scientific world. For those first-timers, our schedule for the evening normally goes like this:
6:30-7:15 - Mingle and eat dinner
7:15-7:30 - ACSJ announcements
7:30-8:00 - Main Presentation
8:00-8:30 - Q&A
8:30-9:30 - More meet and mingle

Join or login to comment.

  • Eddie C.

    Well, atheists are generally skeptics right? And there were a lot of statements made that had to be taken on faith... statements even more full of nonsense than the bible! For example, "nothingness weighs something". Can't accept that without evidence! And the evidence is probably in the domain of higher math so... But kudos to Ryan for attempting such a complex topic!

    3 · May 15

    • Eddie C.

      I wonder if it's possible that when light passes through dark matter… it gets changed somehow… wavelength increased by the proportion of dark matter it passes through

      May 17

    • Kennita

      Interesting conjecture I'd be surprised if someone hadn't thought of it before. If it's new, it's time to start running equations on the mountains of data we have coming back from satellites, etc.

      May 17

  • Rich D.

    The subject of quantum mechanics is hard to follow but it was interesting to listen to someone explain how something can come from nothing.

    1 · May 15

    • Eddie C.

      Interesting… is believing in the existence of the spontaneous generation of virtual particles … somehow related to non-belief in God? Would discovering that virtual particles don't actually exist somehow lead back to a belief in "God"? Aren't these two areas…somewhat orthogonal?

      May 17

    • Kennita

      "Related" -- sometimes. I imagine that sometimes someone who would otherwise be able to embrace atheism is stopped by not being able to justify the creation of the universe from nothing. Virtual particles may offer a route past that obstacle. Without them, there's the question of who or what created something from nothing -- not orthogonal, at least not from where I sit.

      May 17

  • Eddie C.

    Isn't it true that so much of what we think we know about the universe is involved with one key assumption: that the wavelength of a given light wave/particle instance will not change over time; that when light is emitted, then whether it is in flight for 6 seconds or of 10E9 years, it will still have the same wavelength when detected as it had when it was emitted. But what if that is not totally true? What if light actually "ages"? Then what we think we know about the expansion of the universe would be wrong, and the math that we created to match those observations would also be wrong. To me, that's an intriguing idea. "Light gets old and its wavelength stretches out as it ages" vs "nothingness weighs something". Wow… sorry for the rambling post, it's getting late and I'm gonna hit the sack! But you know, I doubt that there are any religious forums that are talking about stuff like this!

    1 · May 16

    • Mark T.

      The "tired light" concept has been addressed by physicists, and shown to be false. It's just an attempt by theists to make stuff up, and then claim that their stuff answers big questions. There are many well-respected physicists, such as Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, Sean M. Carroll, Victor Stenger, Michio Kaku, Alan Guth, Alex Vilenkin, Robert A.J. Matthews, and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, who have created scientific models where the Big Bang and thus the entire universe could arise from nothing but a quantum vacuum fluctuation -- via natural processes. I know that this doesn't make sense in our Newtonian experience, but it does in the realm of quantum mechanics and relativity.

      2 · May 16

    • Eddie C.

      Thanks, I didn't know there was a name for the idea that light may not stay the same forever. "Tired light", that's a neat and concise phrase.

      May 17

  • Dana N.

    Quantum mechanics has more evidence than theories of gravity. It's just weird sounding. We know certain things happen a certain way, the evidence is there, but scientists don't yet know the why's.

    May 16

  • Justin L.

    The talk had some thought-provoking ideas, but even though I feel like I'm more versed in cosmology than the average person, there were several key terms and information that were brushed over quickly that made it hard to digest and understand fully. But I left knowing and thinking more about the limits of the Universe that I hadn't thought of before. Hopefully I can sit down and read up on that stuff more so some of the talk can sink in when I remember it.

    May 15

  • Brian B.

    I appreciate the feedback everyone, we know the sound system is lacking for that particular spot so I will look into buying something bigger/better. We only have to be in that small room for two more weeks, then the large banquet room is OURS!

    5 · May 15

    • Jim L.

      So the banquet room will become a permanent location for these presentations? That's great news. I had planned to attend, but had to cancel at last minute due to some personal issues. With my hearing I doubt I would have been able to get much out of it anyway from the sound of things.

      May 15

    • Justin L.

      Save the bigger/better. the background noise was just too much no matter what you had. Especially with a discussion that requires a bit more concentration, the background noise was just too much. I won't be coming back until it's in a quieter spot.

      May 15

  • Jim L.

    Here is the article I read back in 2002 that cemented my atheism and allowed me to put down the need for a spiritual first cause. I have no idea how many of these ideas are still relevant given the current state of knowledge but I found it fairly easy to read and understand and no I don't have an advanced math or physics degree.

    http://discovermagazine.com/200...­

    May 15

  • Noreen

    Here's a video of Lawrence Krauss (the "Woody Allen" of physicists). It's worth watching -- and funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...­

    May 15

  • Larry G.

    I keep hearing that I am a lay person. I only wish it were true, at least one more time before I die. ;^)

    2 · May 15

    • Kennita

      Pardon my pedantry, but should someone lay you (or lie with you), that would make you a laid person ;-) .

      2 · May 15

    • Eddie C.

      Thanks for the laugh!

      1 · May 15

  • Dana N.

    I suspect that anyone who read Lawrence Krauss' book and watched his hour long video about a Universe from Nothing had an advantage. In those, Lawrence does site evidence for virtual particles, as well as the other claims. Even then it's hard to understand. The bottom line is physics doesn't allow nothing to exist, which is an oxymoron but I'm not sure how else to word that.

    1 · May 15

  • A former member
    A former member

    This was my first meeting with this group. I enjoyed the lecture and the general atmosphere. I will definitely attend again.

    6 · May 15

  • Dana N.

    I'm sorry I missed it, as I really enjoyed Lawrence Krauss' book on the topic, and have no doubt that Ryan did a great job. I look forward to the video. Cosmology is a theoretically dense subject and very complex.

    The sound problems of that area in Harry's can be resolved if more people donate so we can reserve the backroom, which is a great area for talks. But it does cost $$$. I redid the Donate page so you can donate monthly with a choice of amounts, and of course there are the one offs:-) See all of you next time!

    May 15

  • Tim

    First off let me say that Ryan had a tough job just being heard, much less understood due to the complexity of the subject matter as well as the distractions. I'm a cosmology fan-boy and I still struggled with some of the concepts. I admit I was very tired and 2 beers into the evening which didn't help at all, but this is not easy material to digest, especially if you have no background in the subject. Despite all these things going against him I REALLY enjoyed Ryan's presentation. He obviously put a lot of work into it and did his best despite the distractions and complexity of explaining these things to us lay persons. I continue to be amazed at the quality of the presentations done by our local members. We all enjoy the big name presenters, but lets hear it for our own folks who have the courage to stand up and entertain us for an evening when we need really need a speaker.

    4 · May 15

  • Kennita

    I was wondering if a sound barrier might help; even a folding mattress might soak up some sound that would otherwise bounce around,

    2 · May 15

  • Brian B.

    Growing and getting better all the time!

    May 15

  • Kennita

    Interesting but hard to hear -- maybe add sound barrier?

    2 · May 15

  • Larry G.

    I think the audio would have been better in the big back room. Too bad it was already booked for tonight.

    May 15

  • Larry G.

    I always enjoy the meetups. The talk was, I fear, way over my head. It's clear that Ryan knows his subject well, and he expresses himself well. But I am unread in cosmology, and frankly didn't understand much that I heard. That's my fault.

    May 14

  • Don B.

    I almost understood the subject; but, no.

    1 · May 14

  • Derek M.

    The combination of voice, PA system and background noise made it hard to hear sometimes, but otherwise great.

    May 14

  • Len L.

    Liked the presentation but the audio was a bit loud/garbled

    May 14

  • Kevin H.

    "dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum", nothing cannot create something, ergo God.

    May 7

    • Gopal S.

      Still not as mindless as "Tide goes in, tide goes out, ergo God"

      3 · May 9

    • Susan M.

      I like "dog Latin," as in "Illegitimi non carborundum" and "non campus mentis." ("Don't let the bastards grind you down" and "No brains on campus.")

      May 13

  • Brian B.

    I'm excited to see a packed house again for our meeting. Please keep in mind that we do not have the Banquet Room this time around so we will be in the front corner of Harry's. However we do have some news to share during our announcements segment!

    1 · May 13

    • Lyn C

      front corner being the the first room on the left after the passing the main eating area?

      May 13

    • Brian B.

      It is in the front corner, so when you enter the building make a left turn down the first aisle of booths and we are in a somewhat enclosed area that is reserved for us. I will try to remember to bring my signs to make it easier.

      1 · May 13

  • Tim

    This weeks Cosmos was AWESOME! Michael Faraday. What a story!

    4 · May 11

    • Dana N.

      It was awesome! I love the way they connect the dots on how technology evolved through brilliant people.

      May 12

  • Dana N.

    I'm bummed to have to miss this one. I'll be returning from a conference that evening. I'll watch and listent to the video.

    May 7

Imagine having a community behind you

Get started Learn more
Henry

I decided to start Reno Motorcycle Riders Group because I wanted to be part of a group of people who enjoyed my passion... I was excited and nervous. Our group has grown by leaps and bounds. I never thought it would be this big.

Henry, started Reno Motorcycle Riders

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy