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The End Of Everything

'The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)' by Katie Mack.
'The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)' by Katie Mack.

With everything that’s going on right now, it can sometimes feel like the world is ending. There are massive wildfires that cause fire tornadoes, permafrost melts that explode, and…the coronavirus pandemic. But cosmologist Katie Mack says we should all stay calm, at least for the next several billion years.

In her new book, “The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking),” Mack writes about how the universe works and how it could eventually come to an end.

Here’s one theory she puts forward, as summarized by The New York Times.

Other possibilities involve dark energy, a still poorly understood business that seems to be the dominant component of our universe. A dark-energy apocalypse could “tear apart the very fabric of reality, rendering any thinking creatures in the cosmos helpless as they watch their universe being ripped open around them,” Mack says. Some paths to destruction arise from theories that involve parallel universes lurking in extra dimensions. A so-called “ekpyrotic” scenario imagines collisions of “branes,” three-dimensional universes ordinarily invisible to one another. At the fringes, the cosmological theories with the best jargon and cleverest names are often the most speculative.

Whether it all ends in a bang or a whimper, Mack offers us a glimpse into what it all means — and how it all could conclude.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven