Something from Nothing

I was just listening to Ira Flatow’s interview with Laurence Krauss, author of A Universe from Nothing, on Science Friday. They were discussing the theme of Krauss’ book, which is, why does matter exist, instead of nothing.  I’ve heard and read several discussions recently about what seems to be a current cosmological theory, that “nothing” (as in, empty space) is actually in a constant state of “quantum boil” and can at any time produce – something.  Matter.  Energy.

I’ve read this before, folks.  Once again, science fiction anticipates science, this time by almost forty years.  I refer you to the novel Pan Sagittarius (short story collection with a central theme, really), by Ian Wallace, published in 1973.  I bought this book years ago and read it several times with pleasure.  The last story in it, entitled “Creation of a Metagalaxy,” is all about exactly this sort of quantum boil, and the hero’s attempts (you really must meet Pan, he’s quite a character) to encourage a new metagalaxy to form out of the boil by the power of his mind.

When we get into telepathy, of course, we’re not in today’s science; but the description of the volume of “raw space” where Pan decides to take his vacation (read the book) is so close to what I’m hearing from scientists today that I’m astonished.  I have to allow a little for Wallace’s prose style, of course, but it looks to me like a bull’s-eye.

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