Theoretical physicists have come up with a date for the end of the universe in a new research study – and it’s still a ways out.
While it’s certainly a possibility that this prediction is incorrect, the scientists behind a study from researchers at Harvard University have determined that the end of the universe will be in around 10^139 years. At this point, the laws of physics may start to deteriorate, taking the universe with it.
That point is when the laws of the universe may start breaking down, but the scientists behind the study believe that the actual end of the universe may actually occur before that point – as soon as 10^58 years from now. That date is still a ways out when you consider the age of the Earth and of the universe at large. While we’ll all be gone by that point, it doesn’t leave much hope for the future of humanity – provided our species is around at that point and hasn’t succumbed to some sort of tragedy such as that from global warming or perhaps another war.
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The scientists behind the study state that they are 95% sure of the date, so there’s a possibility that the prediction is off, but considering the great minds behind the study, it’s possible to say with at least some degree of certainty that the end of the universe is around 10^58 years away.
Anders Andreassen of Harvard University seemed unperturbed by the findings, explaining their research in a matter-of-fact manner that didn’t seem to express any worry about the end of the universe – perhaps due to the higher certainty we have now as well as the fact that the end of the universe will be long after we’re gone.
“We wanted to fix all the previous approximations and get the exact date as pinned down as we could,” Andreassen said.
This is all assuming that the end of the universe happens in one large event, but as we start to see the laws of physics start to unravel, it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen when we reach that point. Our understanding of the world and universe around us is based on physics and other laws of nature, and when that understanding is no longer valid it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen when we reach that point.
The scientists also state that the end of the universe may actually be due to the Higgs-Boson particle. The fate of the universe is dependent on this particle not dropping in mass, and if it continues to get lighter to the point where it could collapse, a huge amount of energy would be produced that would swallow all matter up and lead to the end of the universe.
It’s important to stress that there’s a lot we don’t know about the Higgs-Boson behaves and whether it will actually react in the same way that the scientists making these predictions expect. Because this is uncharted territory, it’s difficult to say whether this will actually occur in the way the Harvard scientists predict. With the fate of the universe tied so closely to the mass of the Higgs-Boson, however, it’s certainly possible that the continued reduction in mass will cause some serious problems – at least according to our current understanding.
At the end of the day, the end of the universe isn’t something to get too worked up over, as it’s quite a while away – assuming it even happens as we expect. It’s interesting to have a date in mind, however, and that may actually be comforting for some.