Podcast: The End of the Universe Part 2: The End of Everything

Article written: 5 May , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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Hopefully you’ve all recovered from part 1 of this set, where we make you sad about the future of the humanity, the Earth, the Sun and the Solar System. But hang on, we’re really going to bring you down. Today we’ll look far far forward into the distant future of the Universe, at timescales that we can barely comprehend.

If you haven’t heard it, here’s a link to Part 1.

Click here to download the episode

The End of the Universe Part 2: The End of Everything – Show notes and transcript

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10 Responses

  1. pradipta says

    I hope everybody must admit that everything has a limited form. Perhaps in the field of space research we have forgotten this term and through the giant telescope we are searching space secret situated out of hundreds light years. We search so because we see always a boundless universe.
    Since the ancestral time, world space research is progressing on wrong concept because we unknown about space mirror which is a great mystery and creator of lots of mysteries viz. milk ways, galaxies, nebulas, white dwarfs, black holes etcs. Hence without study of space mirror the space research has no future.
    In sort it can not explain in short. Therefore it invites to visit http://www.spacemirrormystery.com to know the original truth and if you like, impose your genius mind for better space research.

  2. Steve says

    Nuts…here I was hoping the Vogons would blow us to smitherines for the space highway

  3. Ben says

    to pradipta.

    huh? the big what now?

    I know it’s not very scientific to hope for a particular outcome because of its comfort value but i this why i sort of hope some kind of model where multiple universes happen in succession. like a cyclical model of some kind. I cant really get my head around the idea that this universe is a one off that just happened with nothing meaningful before or after it. infinite universes suits me fine : )

  4. Ross says

    Well Part 1 was intresting, and part 2 was just well, way out there kind of Sci-Fiction.

    It’s been a proven fact that as the Earth orbits the Sun, Earths orbit shrinks a millimeter or two per year. over the course of 4.5 billion years that can add up to a few degrees. This is part of what is causing current global warming with the effects of mankinds contributions to it also. Also, The Lunar moon is also receading away from Earth at about a couple of millimeters a year too. I recently read this at the offical N.A.S.A. web site. Also at Space.com/SpaceNews.com.

    Odds are, long before our Sun dies mankind will probably be spread out to the nearest stars systems with habitable planets. I’ll bet they’ll be artificailly climate-controled worlds.

    Manmade stations that will orbit other stars will also be a probability as well. Think about it, by the year 2200 man will most likely be stationed on Mars already, and by 2300 man will probably be stationed on Titan and Triten.

    By 2400 man will by then probably have the technology to build space ships with a drive system that will probably take mankind to Alpha Centari systems and beyond to the nearest star systems.

    At the rate technology is progressing, I can see this time scale happening with in the next 400 years or less.

    One last thought, If the big bang/multi little bangs happened once, I’m pretty sure it will happen again. Have you ever known anything that happened, to only happen one single time? You might say, well if it does/did, then where are they? Perhaps they happen only once in a great while, meaning on a universal scale like 10 Trillion years or so, or maybe if the mulit little bang idea is correct, then they happen Very Very Very far apart, on the magnatude beyond our telescopes range to see, like Trillions and Trillions of light years away.

    Perhaps what we see to day might of been part of something larger that our local universe left Trillions and Trillions of years ago. People think that the big bang was the beginning of the universe or time. It may be so, that it is/was part of something larger scale that we can no longer see because we have simply drifted to far from the rest of the other universes across the black void we call space.

    You might simply need to think bigger, and on a larger scale. Matter/Energy can not be created/destroyed, only changed from one form to another, or ME/3 EM*3.

    It is my belief that all matter/energy comes from broken superstrings That lose their torque binding from thermo friction aginst other superstrings (this is what I belive dark matter/energy to be made of (space)) and that all matter/energy eventually winds up being consumed by black holes sooner or later, spun into black holes again, like cotton on a 17th century womans spindle. This is where all vibration of energy on the X,Y,Z, axis is compressed (like a twisted ballon) into the Z axis (superstring) under the black holes gravitation torque, after all, the only thing that can escape a black hole is “Nothingness”. The only thing to have that size mass is a superstring. The mass has got to go some where. When you got the force of a black holes gravity to propel a string of mass the size of nothingness, you can escape the event horizion easy.

    Just thought I’d pass that along.

  5. Stephen says

    Of course, this podcast will be available forever in Google Cache, so future astronomers will still know all about the Big Bang.

    And, of course, they’ll have a working TOE (Theory Of Everything), which will predict what we saw, so it’ll be at least somewhat believable. I mean, every now and then Newton’s Laws of Motion actually predict things…

  6. Chuck Lam says

    It seems to me the universe just has to be boundless and never had a beginning. To suggest there was a beginning makes no logical sense and begs the question “what existed in the void before the beginning?” The void itself is something and maybe with some form of energy. Crazy? Don’t think so! The “big bang” could have been a slow multi-million or billion year conversion of energy to matter rather than the instantaneous bursting forth of matter that is today’s popular theory. Will the universe ever end? Maybe not! The galaxies, gas clouds, dark matter and possibly dark energy and what ever else is lurking out there, most likely will have literally expanded out of red-shift-one sight. How large is the universe? I suspect what we see and all we will ever see and call the universe is an infinately tiny speck in the boundless void of all there is. I don’t think mankind or any intelligent species will never see beyond the red-shift-one sphere they are in no matter where their sphere is in this boundless void called the universe. Concerning intelligent life equal to or superior to mankind. The universe must be bubbling with intelligent life forms. Most likely very rare and widely spaced on the order of millions or more of light years in all directions between species. Will intelligent life forms ever contact one another? Probably not because of the mind boggling distances between intelligent species. Communicating via modulated radio-frequency or anything else doesn’t make it on a galactic scale. RF and the anything else is too slow (speed of light) and weakens too quickly against a background of natural noise for detection over a few short light years. And a final question, will man ever leave the solar system and colonize another planet? Again, probably not if the speed of light can not be exceeded. Mankind will probably get no more than a single scientist on Pluto, if ever, within the next one or two hundred years, but no further for obvious technical and not so technical reasons. Of course all this could change if some phenomenon is uncovered that will allow man to exceed the speed of light. Then space travel might make sense and become possible.

  7. Chuck Lam says

    Kyle, You are correct! Man really doesn’t know very much about the cosmos. But don’t forget that in spite of our species ignorance, our ability to simply think logically has gotten us to where we are scientifically. I believe you will agree that’s pretty good in view of our assumptions and short comings. Keep in mind that most of our conclusions are influenced by empirical truths. For example, the speed of light, gravity, expansion, etc.. These and other phenomenon are an incontrovertible matters of fact. And logically so, Occum’s razor plays a part when thinking about possibilities for the cosmos. For most of us, I’m reasonably certain, are humbled by the thought of who and what we are in the grand scheme of things. And we must be careful, too much philosophical analysis in science may stymie progress.

  8. Kyle says

    How much of the matter/energy in the universe do we know we don’t understand? – 95%

    How long have we had enough knowledge about this mysterious dark energy to make these wild claims about the universe will end? – maybe 10 years or so.

    What’s the percentage of times that mankind has thought it had a good grasp on how the universe works and that it was just around the corner from having a TOE, but then found out that there are more subtle layers of reality that we were oblivious to before, and that our previous assumptions were wrong or very incomplete? -100%

    My point: we really don’t know diddly squat.

    This podcast is a great mental exercise in thinking about how the universe will progress given what we know at this moment in history. Fascinating stuff, no doubt. But it shouldn’t be spoken about as if it is the inevitable truth of how everything will end. We don’t know enough, and it’s possible we may never know enough. It seems there’s always another mystery and another discovery around every corner. And I love it!

    500 hundred years ago, if you told someone that you could talk to your grandma in Japan in real time on a wireless device that fits in your pocket, they would think you were crazy. It would be incomprehensible to them. Hell, even 100 years ago…

    Well, now we think that it is incomprehensible to exceed the speed of light. Hmmm.

    Just a friendly reminder to be humble in the great mystery. Know that we truly don’t know. Uncertainty is okay. 🙂

    In the words of Pradipta: “know the original truth and if you like, impose your genius mind for better space research”

  9. Kyle says

    Chuck, I really appreciate your feedback. You are correct too! I think we agree with each other in almost every way 🙂

    I guess I wrote that last piece simply because my skeptic radar always goes off when I hear people discuss cosmology with a sense of certainty (not so much in these comments, but in the podcast). It just seems absurd (even delusional) to assume that we can say how the universe will end, especially while openly acknowledging that we don’t understand the most fundamental forces at play.

    Your previous comment about how everything would change if we could exceed the speed of light really hit home. All I really wanted to say is that when we discuss cosmology, we should constantly remind ourselves that our most fundamental assumptions about nature could be wrong.

    Of course, my skeptic radar also goes off when reading statements such as “incontrovertible matters of fact”. But this is not the place to delve into a philosophical discussion about the nature of truth.

    Philosophy can provide completely new perspectives, new perspectives can provide new insights into nature, and new insights often create progress. Think Einstein and general relativity.

    I’m certain that anyone who claims to be certain about anything is wrong. Ha! 🙂

  10. Chuck Lam says

    Kyle, Right on again! But let’s not forget about the two certainties of “death and taxes.” Seriously, nothing is really certain and no two human brains are wired the same. Obviously it is this difference fueled by “fire in the belly” that births bewildering new ideas with or without philosophical contemplation. Conventional thinking be “damned.” Einstein blazed the trail for “outside the box” thinking. What-a-guy!

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