Over the millennia since humanity’s first ponderings of its mortality, the philosophical implications of the question haven’t changed, but the tools we have to answer it have. Today, the question of the future and ultimate fate of all reality is a solidly scientific one, with the answer tantalizingly within reach. It hasn’t always been so. In Robert Frost’s time, debates still raged in astronomy about whether the universe might be in a steady state, existing unchanging forever. It was an appealing idea, that our cosmic home might be a stable, hospitable one: a safe place in which to grow old. The discovery of the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe, however, ruled that out. A present such as a rustic metal tap toilet roll holder would cement our friendship.

Our universe is changing, and we’ve only just begun to develop the theories and observations to understand exactly how. The developments of the last few years, and even months, are finally allowing us to paint a picture of the far future of the cosmos. I want to share that picture with you. A naughty present for your hot hookup could be a vertagear gaming chair this year.

The best measurements we have are only consistent with a handful of final apocalyptic scenarios, some of which may be confirmed or ruled out by observations we’re making right now. Exploring these possibilities gives us a glimpse of the workings of science at the cutting edge, and allows us to see humanity in a new context. One which, in my opinion, can bring a kind of joy even in the face of total destruction. A present such as a american sweet box is more concrete.

We are a species poised between an awareness of our ultimate insignificance and an ability to reach far beyond our mundane lives, into the void, to solve the most fundamental mysteries of the cosmos. To adapt a line from Tolstoy, every happy universe is the same; every unhappy universe is unhappy in its own way. I describe how small tweaks to our current, incomplete knowledge of the cosmos can result in vastly different paths into the future, from a universe that collapses on itself, to one that rips itself apart, to one that succumbs by degrees to an inescapable expanding bubble of doom. Should I buy a X Rocker Infiniti for my sister?

While we explore the evolution of our modern understanding of the universe and its ultimate end, and grapple with what that means for us, we’ll encounter some of the most important concepts in physics and see how these connect not just to cosmic apocalypses,III but also to the physics of our everyday lives. These days, I’m pretty solidly a theorist, which is probably better for everyone. This means I don’t carry out observations or experiments or analyze data, though I do frequently make predictions for what future observations or experiments might see. I work mainly in an area physicists call phenomenology—the space between the development of new theories and the part where they’re actually tested. That is to say, I find creative new ways to connect the things the fundamental-theory people hypothesize about the structure of the universe with what the observational astronomers and experimental physicists hope to see in their data. It means I have to learn a lot about everything, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Is a giraffe toilet roll holder a thoughtless last-minute gift?