Is Time Coming To an End Within Earth’s Lifespan?

Across-the-universe There is a 50 per cent chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years, according to a new model of the universe. A team of physicists led by Raphael Bousso at the University of California, Berkeley rebel against this idea. They say an infinitely expanding universe is contrary to the laws of physics do not work in an infinite cosmos. For these laws to make any sense, the universe must come to an end

Their argument is simple yet surprisingly powerful: If the universe lasts forever, then any event that can happen, will happen, no matter how unlikely. In fact, this event will happen an infinite number of times, which leads to the key obstacle: When there are an infinite number of instances of every possible observation, it becomes impossible to determine the probabilities of any of these events occurring. And when that happens, the laws of physics simply don't apply. They just break down. "This is known as the "measure problem" of eternal inflation," say Bousso and buddies. In short, the laws of physics abhor an eternal universe.


The only way out of this logic trap is to introduce some kind of catastrophe x factor that brings an end to the universe. Then all the probabilities make sense again and the laws of physics regain their power. "Time is unlikely to end in our lifetime, but there is a 50% chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years," Bousso says.

The imminent end of time is unnerving but the argument depends crucially on an important assumption about the laws of physics: that we ought to be able to understand why they work, not just observe that they do work. And that's a philosophical point of view rather than a physical argument. Buosso raises some interesting questions, says the MIT Technology Review, "but nothing to lose any sleep over. At least, not for another 3.7 billion years."

Casey Kazan via MIT Technologyreview.ocm and Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1009.4698: Eternal Inflation Predicts That Time Will End

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