The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures about the Ultimate Fate of the Universe

Overview

The Last Three Minutes, by world-renowned physicist and author Paul Davies, is a wonderful, fun book - morbid to the core! - that combines the latest and most scientifically sound thinking about the ultimate fate of the universe with vivid scenarios of how it will feel to those of us still around when the end comes. Look, if you will, past that last day of sunlight into perpetual night. Experience the onset of stardoom - when the nuclear energy of burning stars is finally exhausted. Journey through those eons of ...
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The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About The Ultimate Fate Of The Universe

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Overview

The Last Three Minutes, by world-renowned physicist and author Paul Davies, is a wonderful, fun book - morbid to the core! - that combines the latest and most scientifically sound thinking about the ultimate fate of the universe with vivid scenarios of how it will feel to those of us still around when the end comes. Look, if you will, past that last day of sunlight into perpetual night. Experience the onset of stardoom - when the nuclear energy of burning stars is finally exhausted. Journey through those eons of time when black holes are the last major source of energy, devouring the scattered remnants of burnt-out galaxies. And then, perhaps, the big crunch - the last three minutes, when the temperature of the cosmos becomes so great that even atomic nuclei must disintegrate, when larger and larger regions of space are compressed into smaller and smaller volumes, when, as Davies writes, "the handiwork of the big bang, and of generations of stars in creating heavy chemical elements, is undone in less time than it takes you to read this sentence." Will this be the stage on which cosmic life plays out its final act? Or is the universe destined to end very differently and in the much less distant future, overwhelmed by a sudden and unexpected cosmic catastrophe? Indeed, will the universe end at all? If it endures forever, will humanity or our descendants, robots or flesh, find a way to survive through eternal night?

A wonderful, fun book--morbid to the core!--that combines the latest and most scientifically sound thinking about the ultimate fate of the universe with vivid scenarios of how it will feel to those of us still around when the end comes.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although cosmology has developed into perhaps the most arcane and heavily mathematicized of academic specialities, you don't have to be a scientist to gaze at the night sky in search of answers. Hence the appeal of these fine companion books, the first in the publisher's very promising "Science Masters" series, which aims to tap into the potentially large market of curious, generally educated readers seeking intelligent but nontechnical treatments of current science issues. Barrow looks at Big Bang cosmology and does a particularly good job at explaining so-called "inflationary universe" theory, a difficult concept that others have handled far less deftly. Still, despite his occasional digressions into the literature of Arthur Conan Doyle, his writing is rather dry. Davies, by contrast, is more playfully conjectural, and the sheer audacity of some of his speculations makes for a more entertaining read. While other popularizations of basic cosmology have been published in recent years (e.g., Alan Lightman's Time for the Stars, LJ 11/15/92), Barrow and Davies are quality science popularizers, and both of their books merit recommendations. Davies's book is, however, the stronger due to the livelier writing and comparative uniqueness of his subject. [The third volume in the "Science Masters" series is Richard Leakey's The Origin of Humankind, reviewed below.-Ed.]-Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib.
Booknews
Davies (natural philosophy, U. of Adelaide, Australia) presents a variety of scenarios for the ultimate fate of the universe. He describes theories such as the earth's predicted collision in 2126 with the Swift-Tuttle comet, Helmholtz's theory of the universe's slow disintegration by entropy, and speculations that the violent collapse of our universe may give birth through an umbilical wormhole to a new universe. Davies examines the scientific as well as the human implications of the alternative endings to our universal drama. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465038510
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,198,827
  • Lexile: 1270L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Davies is a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Mind of God, The Cosmic Blueprint, Superforce, and Are We Alone? He won the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion for his contributions to religious thought and inquiry.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Doomsday 1
2 The Dying Universe 9
3 The First Three Minutes 19
4 Stardoom 37
5 Nightfall 49
6 Weighing the Universe 67
7 Forever Is a Long Time 83
8 Life in the Slow Lane 101
9 Life in the Fast Lane 119
10 Sudden Death - and Rebirth 127
11 Worlds without End? 141
Bibliography 157
Index 159
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