New Scientist Live: the death of the universe may not be inevitable | Artificial intelligence
The heat death of the universe is coming for us. The cosmos is expanding faster and faster, and eventually everything will move so far apart that the sky will appear black and empty without a star in sight.
Before the end, the sun itself will die, expanding into a red giant and consuming Earth and then likely expelling its outer layers to become a white dwarf surrounded by a shroud of dust and gas. The Milky Way will merge with the Andromeda galaxy. Then, clusters of galaxies will collapse into enormous black holes with masses trillions of times bigger than the sun.
Eventually, all this activity will cease. Even the biggest black holes will evaporate and leave behind only tiny particles, those particles will continue to move away from one another, and the universe will become cold and static. Time will stop moving forward and matter as we know it will cease to exist.
Or will it? There’s a chance that the end of the universe will be more of a rebirth. Instead of expanding forever, everything may someday start to contract again. It could collapse and then rebound, creating another big bang and a universe reborn.
Astrophysicist Geraint Lewis will be at New Scientist Live on 21 September to walk us through the far future of our universe and how things might turn out.
New Scientist Live is our award-winning festival of ideas and discoveries. The four-day event at London ExCeL will feature more than 110 speakers giving thought-provoking talks on everything from a brief history of gravity to the hunt for life on exoplanets.