Creating a narrative that delves into the cutting-edge of cosmology and is engaging, simple to grasp, and educational seems like a difficult task. Avoiding the technical and mathematical can often limit a work’s ideas and glance over matters in a cursory way. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing does a terrific job of maintaining lay-terms and avoiding math-ese. Many of the concepts force us to reevaluate how we view time, infinity, creation, definitions of something/nothing, and so much more. Krauss’ book follows scientific discoveries throughout the ages and paints a picture of concepts and theories trying to explain matter, space-time, and the immensity of the cosmos. In the end, engaging the questions can be even more fulfilling than the answers.
While I think Why Does E=mc2?: (And Why Should We Care?) covers more territory and explains origins of the universe and physical laws more thoroughly, Lawrence Krauss’ book is valuable if you’d rather avoid theorems and the science nitty-gritty. However, if you really want to understandt the inflation of the universe, time before and after the big bang, and/or our universe accelerating into nothingness: you’ll have to get your hands a bit dirtier.
Victor Stenger is a professor of physics with quite the little bio. He’s written a number of titles on fine-tuning, a scientific search for god, the laws of physics, and so much more. As of late his stances have been anti-theist in nature. This 2009 work takes a look at the recent movement (founded largely after 9/11) of New Atheism. He synthesizes several notable works from Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, and more. He also gathers the arguments of religious communities and refutes them clearly. Unfortunately he is dealing with broad strokes, as Stenger covers an immense amount of ground: from the dawn of humanity, science, religion, Eastern philosophies, Christianity, Judaism, the apocalypse, to the enlightenment, neuroscience, and evolution, to the founding of Mormonism and Intelligent Design.
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason is a nonstop tour of the intellectual and reasoned struggle taking place in our schools, courts, churches, homes, and daily lives. Stenger cites all his sources (including his own detailed past studies/works) so that topics can be thoroughly explored and challenged. I’d describe The New Atheism as an extremely detailed bibliography with quick facts and analysis. It’s a terrific place to start if you’re wondering about New Atheism, questioning religion, and/or looking behind the curtain.