The Edge of Knowledge: Unsolved Mysteries of the Cosmos
Lawrence Krauss explores the greatest unanswered questions at the forefront of science today, and likely for the coming century and beyond.
Internationally known theoretical physicist and bestselling author Lawrence Krauss explores science’s greatest unanswered questions.
Three of the most important words in science are “I don't know.” Not knowing implies a Universe of opportunities—the possibility of discovery and surprise. Our understanding of science has advanced immeasurably over the last five hundred years, yet many fundamental mysteries of existence persist: How did our Universe begin? How big is the Universe? Is time travel possible? What’s at the center of a black hole? How did life on Earth arise? Are we alone? What is consciousness, and can we create it?
These mysteries define the scientific forefront—the threshold of the unknown. To explore that threshold is to gain a deeper understanding of just how far science has progressed. Covering time, space, matter, life, and consciousness, Krauss introduces readers to topics that will shape the state of science for the next century, providing us all passport to our own journeys of exploration and discovery.
Praise for The Edge of Knowledge: Unsolved Mysteries of the Cosmos
“The Edge of Knowledge takes us on a stirring tour of the cosmic frontier, where our knowledge is incomplete, our understanding is fragmentary, and our insights are flawed. But that’s precisely the terrain that science navigates daily when decoding the operations of nature. And for that, there’s no better tour guide than Lawrence Krauss.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson, Author, Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization
“What an achievement: science, the beauty of science, the adventure of science so well expressed. Even a wretched innumerate like me can grasp the excitement of the key stories in discovery that Lawrence Krauss tells with such spellbinding clarity and generous authority. Throughout it all runs a vivid and deeply important reminder of science’s respect for mistakes: doubt, the unknown and contingent truths that are always up for being questioned, reassessed, and refined. A book that reawakens wonder.”
— Stephen Fry, Actor, author, broadcaster and campaigner, and author most recently of Fry’s Ties
“With the ease of a master, Lawrence Krauss takes us on a sightseeing tour to the biggest unknowns in the universe. A breathtaking trip to the frontiers of knowledge and beyond.”
— Sabine Hossenfelder, Physicist and author of Existential Physics: A Scientist’s Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions
“A fascinating exploration, with an expert and thoughtful guide, through the domains of what is reasonably well understood, what we can at least think about seriously, and those tantalizing areas that always seem to lurk beyond our grasp.”
— Noam Chomsky, Institute Prof emeritus MIT, Laureate Prof U of Arizona, most recent book: The Withdrawal with Vijay Prashad
“Krauss has a genius for making science understandable and exciting in equal parts. This account of some of the key puzzles in physics is a wonderfully lucid and stimulating introduction, which only a real scientist with an enthusiastic gift for communication could achieve. Krauss ticks both boxes handsomely. It adds to his remarkable body of work in making the world more scientifically literate and greatly more rational.”
— Anthony Grayling, Professor of Philosophy and Principal, New College of Humanities, and author most recently of For the Good of the World
“Lawrence Krauss knows science. Even more impressive, Lawrence can explain science (even to me). This book is about the crucial stuff that Lawrence knows and some stuff that even Lawrence doesn’t know (and neither does anyone else). He explains clearly what no one knows, so we can all help figure it out.”
— Penn Jillette, Magician, Actor, TV Host and Author most recently of Random
“In The Edge of Knowledge, Lawrence Krauss dispels the classroom notion of science as a collection of facts, showing that it is really a disciplined way of exploring the unknown. His deft traverse from the vastness of the universe to the intricacies of life lays bare the enduring unknowns that will motivate research for years to come."
— Andrew Knoll, Fisher Research Professor of Natural History and Research Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, and author, most recently, of A Brief History of Earth
“This fascinating book offers a highly readable exposition of the fundamental questions that perplex us most—those that lie on (or beyond) the current frontiers of human knowledge. Lawrence Krauss is a fine scientist with a broad perspective. And he’s also an excellent writer, able to expound deep mysteries in language that’s always clear, and often entertaining too. Anyone with an enquiring mind should enjoy this book—it deserves very wide readership.”
— Lord Martin Rees, Astronomy Royal, Former President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College Cambridge
“A teacher once told me that the purpose of education was to impart awareness of one’s ignorance, and out of that come humility and curiosity. Lawrence Krauss is the joyous incarnation of that teacher. His prose is limpid, his manner is patient and good-willed. He uses an archaeologist’s brush (as it were) to dab at the outer limits of our understanding. He is one of our finest and most readable celebrators and explicators of science, and in The Edge of Knowledge he has found his perfect subject. Both layperson and scientist can travel with Krauss and know the thrill of both the known unknowns and the anticipation of the unknown unknowns. The Edge of Knowledge is also a precious cabinet of curiosities—I did not know that black holes were first proposed by a clergyman in 1783. Science has taught us much in the past 400 years, but the basics of the everyday—time, space, matter, consciousness and life itself—do not yet have their definitive descriptions. Krauss convinces his reader that ‘there remain remarkable mysteries to be uncovered.’ As Darwin famously observed, there is grandeur in this view of life.”
— Ian McEwan, author of Lessons and Machines Like Me
“The five greatest mysteries that science has yet to solve...A steady guide who refuses to dumb it down, Krauss explains our ignorance as simply as he deems necessary, but no simpler. Science buffs will relish these insights...”
— Kirkus Review