RE: Expanding forever...

Billy Brown (
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 11:17:05 -0600

Brent Allsop Wrote:
> Since Science_ has selected the conclusions that the universe
> will continually expand without contraction as the top science story
> of 1998 can anyone direct me to a source of information about how we
> can survive and grow forever in a forever expanding and cooling
> universe? Tippler's Omega point described how we could do it in a
> closed universe and I know there are similar theories that apply to an
> open universe. I've seen web pages with more information on this but
> can't seem to locate them now. Can anyone help me out and direct me
> to the information I seek?

The short answer is, you can't. There are all sorts of fancy tricks you can use to keep yourself going for a very long time, but you can't reverse entropy. The energy density of the universe declines until it becomes impossible to build any sort of organized system. To survive indefinitely you have to change the laws of physics, move to another universe, or otherwise avoid the issue.

Fortunately, it doesn't matter. The entire big bang/inflation model has been under increasing strain for the last two decades, as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile its predictions with actual observations. A lot of the recent 'fine tuning' of the model looks a lot like medieval astronomers adding epicycles to epicycles. Unless a lot of recent observations turn out to be wrong, we are going to end up with a new model that gives very different predictions about these issues.

The latest issue of Scientific American has some good articles on this whole topic.