Sunday, March 16, 2008

The End of Cosmology


A 100 trillion years from now the last stars will fade out and the only lights will be a few dim black holes and the artificial lights of civilization, at least according to the latest issue of scientific american.

There are 400 billion galaxies in our universe. And one decade ago cosmologists made the discovery that the universe's expansion is accelerating. One day the skies will be empty (if earth gets through the next 100 trillion years..). In the future the universe will look like a puddle of stars and then drop completely out of view. The article also brings up the issue of what evidence from the past we could have already lost.

This obviously relates to physics because of things that we study like light and optics. Light is fast (ha) but the distances in the universe are unimaginably immense. In addition one must wonder how to deal with a vast universe in terms of Newton's theory of universal gravitation because theres just so much matter.

But in relevance to human society it still has implications. No human will be around 100 trillion realistically speaking. But like Copernicus 500 years ago, these discovery change our attitude towards the earth and the universe. We are incredibly small to put it bluntly. And the universe itself is neither constant nor eternal.

Grand implications indeed to think about. Have a nice weekend everyone.

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