Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe.
He was born in New York City and moved shortly thereafter to Toronto, Canada, where he grew up. He received undergraduate degrees in both Mathematics and Physics at Carleton University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982), then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows (1982-85). He joined the faculty of the departments of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University as assistant professor in 1985, and associate professor in 1988. In 1993 he was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and Chairman of the department of physics at Case Western Reserve University. He served in the latter position for 12 years, until 2005. During this period he built up the department, which was ranked among the top 20 Physics Graduate Research Programs in the country in a 2005 national ranking. Among the major new initiatives he spearheaded are included the creation of one of the top particle astrophysics experimental and theoretical programs in the US, and the creation of a groundbreaking Masters Program in Physics Entrepreneurship. In 2002, he was named Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case.
In August 2008 Krauss took up his new post as Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. As planned, Origins will become a national center for research and outreach on origins issues, from the origins of the universe, to human origins, to the origins of consciousness and culture. It will also form a cross-cutting educational theme at ASU. In April of 2009, it will host an Origins Symposium, bringing together some of the most well known figures in the world in these areas for public presentations, and professional workshops.
Prof. Krauss is the author of over 250 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and writing, including the Gravity Research Foundation First Prize Award (1984), and the Presidential Investigator Award (1986). In February 2000, in Washington D.C., Krauss was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 1999-2000 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology . Previous awardees include Carl Sagan (1995) and E.O. Wilson (1994). In 2001 he was awarded the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society . The citation reads "For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the early universe, and extraordinary achievement in communicating the essence of physical science to the general public". Previous awardees include Stephen W. Hawking (1999), and Kip S. Thorne (1996). In 2001 the American Institute of Physics awarded Krauss the Andrew Gemant Award , given annually to "a person who has made significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimensions of physics". Previous awardees include Freeman Dyson, Steven Weinberg, and Stephen Hawking. He was also awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 2002 for his book "Atom". In August of 2003 it was announced that Krauss had been awarded the Oersted Medal , the highest award of the American Association of Physics Teachers, for his contributions to the teaching of physics. Previous awardees include Richard Feynman, I.I. Rabi, Edward Purcell, and Hans Bethe. With this award, he becomes the first physicist to have been awarded these three most prestigious awards from the APS, the AIP, and the AAPT. In 2005 he was also awarded the Joseph P. Burton Forum Award from the American Physical Society for his work on issues of science and society.
Krauss has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science , and in June 2003 was awarded an honorary D.Sc degree from Carleton University in recognition of his scientific contributions, and his efforts at public understanding of science.
He has been involved for some time in issues of science and society and has helped spearhead national efforts to educate the public about science, ensure sound public policy , and defend science against attacks at a variety of levels. He has helped lead a national effort to defend the teaching of evolution in the public schools. His piece in the New York Times followed by a public letter to Pope Benedict helped to prompt a reevaluation of the Catholic Church's position on evolution. He led the creation of an organization in Ohio which recruited and supported pro-science candidates to run for State School Board against creationist candidates, and spoke out and wrote extensively during the election campaign. All candidates recruited by this group, Help Ohio Public Education, were elected, sometimes defeated candidates who outspent them by huge margins. In Dec 2007, he wrote in the Wall St. Journal proposing a Presidential Debate on Science, and serves on the steering committee of ScienceDebate2008. Their call for such a debate has now been cosponsored by the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science and the Council on Competitiveness, as well as being endorsed by 20 Nobel Laureates, various Congresspeople, business leaders, and 12,000 scientists. In March 2008, Krauss and Richard Dawkins engaged in a public conversation at Stanford University on science and science education, and the video of their conversation has become one of most watched on Youtube since it appeared in April.
Prof. Krauss is an acclaimed teacher and lecturer with vast experience in reaching out to popular audiences. He was named a Sigma-Xi national lecturer in 1990 and an American Physical Society Centennial Lecturer in 1998. University named Lectureships he has held include the Nesbitt Lectureship at Carleton University, the Glover Lectureship at Dickenson College, the Chesley Lectureship at Carleton College, the Herzfeld Lectureship at Catholic University, the Hendrik de Waard Lecture at the University of Groningen, the Kallen Lectureship in Lund Sweden, the Lawrence Centenary Lectureship at Berkeley, the Milton Freshman Lectureship at Syracuse, the Chancellor's Lectureship at Vanderbilt, the Hamilton Lectureship at Princeton, and the Terry Lectuership at Yale. In addition, he has lectured to popular audiences at such places as the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Natural History in New York and appears frequently on radio and television around the world, as well as being a regular contributor to various newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. He has also lectured to both high school and elementary school students and their teachers as well as teaching courses at all university levels. He also works with various science museums and has served on advisory boards and boards of trustees of the Great Lakes Science Center, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the newly created Science Fiction Experience in Seattle.
Prof. Krauss is the author of several acclaimed popular books, including, The Fifth Essence: The Search for Dark Matter in the Universe (Basic Books, 1989), which was named Astronomy Book of the Year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and Fear of Physics (Basic Books, 1993), now translated into 12 languages. For this book, he was a finalist for the American Institute of Physics 1994 Science Writing Award. His next book, The Physics of Star Trek, was released in November of 1995 and sold over 250,000 copies in the U.S. It was a national bestseller, a selection of 5 major book clubs, including Book of the Month Club, and was serialized in the November 1995 issue of Wired. It was widely praised, reviewed by the major media, and has been translated into 14 languages,and was the basis of TV productions in the United States and Britain. His book, Beyond Star Trek, appeared in November 1997 and has appeared in 5 foreign editions. Quintessence: The Mystery of the Missing Mass, a revision and update of The Fifth Essence, appeared in February 2000. In 2001, his award winning book, Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth...and Beyond, published by Little Brown and Company appeared. Public Television is currently undertaking to produce a 5-part TV series, hosted by Krauss, to be based on this book. Prof. Krauss is also preparing a new Introductory Physics text for non-science majors in association with Prentice Hall. His most recent popular book, entitled Hiding in the Mirror, The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond, an exploration of our fascination with the idea of extra dimensions, in art, literature, and science, appeared in Oct 2005, and the paperback edition appeared in Nov 2006.
Krauss is one of the few prominent scientists today to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture. For example, besides his radio and television work, Krauss has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, narrating Gustav Holst's The Planets at the Blossom Music Center in the most highly attended concert at that venue, and was nominated for a Grammy award for his liner notes for a Telarc CD of music from Star Trek. In 2005 he also served as a jury member at the Sundance Film Festival.
In his spare time, when he is not writing, lecturing etc, he enjoys scuba diving, fly fishing, and mountain biking.
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