When this happens, the trajectories of the objects involved in the close encounter change slightly, in such a way that their kinetic energies are more nearly equal than before. After a large number of encounters, then, lighter objects tend to gain speed while the heavier objects lose it. Because of dynamical relaxation, some objects will gain enough energy to reach galactic escape velocity and depart the galaxy, leaving behind a smaller, denser galaxy.
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Since encounters are more frequent in the denser galaxy, the process then accelerates. The subsequent evolution of the universe depends on the possibility and rate of proton decay. Experimental evidence shows that if the proton is unstable, it has a half-life of at least 10 34 years. Neutrons bound into nuclei are also expected to decay with a half-life comparable to that of protons. Planets substellar objects would decay in a simple cascade process from heavier elements to pure hydrogen while radiating energy.
In the event that the proton does not decay at all, stellar objects would still disappear, but more slowly. See Future without proton decay below. Shorter or longer proton half-lives will accelerate or decelerate the process. Given our assumed half-life of the proton, nucleons protons and bound neutrons will have undergone roughly 1, half-lives by the time the universe is 10 40 years old. To put this into perspective, there are an estimated 10 80 protons currently in the universe. Hence, there will be roughly 0. Effectively, all baryonic matter will have been changed into photons and leptons.
Some models predict the formation of stable positronium atoms with a greater diameter than the observable universe's current diameter in 10 85 years, and that these will in turn decay to gamma radiation in 10 years. In the event that the proton does not decay according to the theories described above, the Degenerate Era will last longer, and will overlap or surpass the Black Hole Era.
However, degenerate stellar objects can still experience proton decay, for example via processes involving the Adler—Bell—Jackiw anomaly , virtual black holes , or higher-dimension supersymmetry possibly with a half-life of under 10 years. They will slowly evaporate via Hawking radiation.
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As the lifetime of a black hole is proportional to the cube of its mass, more massive black holes take longer to decay. The largest black holes in the universe are predicted to continue to grow. Even these would evaporate over a timescale of up to 10 years. Hawking radiation has a thermal spectrum. During most of a black hole's lifetime, the radiation has a low temperature and is mainly in the form of massless particles such as photons and hypothetical gravitons.
As the black hole's mass decreases, its temperature increases, becoming comparable to the Sun 's by the time the black hole mass has decreased to 10 19 kilograms. The hole then provides a temporary source of light during the general darkness of the Black Hole Era. During the last stages of its evaporation, a black hole will emit not only massless particles, but also heavier particles, such as electrons , positrons , protons , and antiprotons.
After all the black holes have evaporated and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable , the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons, and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other.
Gravitationally, the universe will be dominated by dark matter , electrons, and positrons not protons. By this era, with only very diffuse matter remaining, activity in the universe will have tailed off dramatically compared with previous eras , with very low energy levels and very large time scales. Electrons and positrons drifting through space will encounter one another and occasionally form positronium atoms. These structures are unstable, however, and their constituent particles must eventually annihilate. The universe now reaches an extremely low-energy state.
It is possible that a Big Rip event may occur far off into the future. If the current vacuum state is a false vacuum , the vacuum may decay into a lower-energy state. Presumably, extreme low-energy states imply that localized quantum events become major macroscopic phenomena rather than negligible microscopic events because the smallest perturbations make the biggest difference in this era, so there is no telling what may happen to space or time.
It is perceived that the laws of "macro-physics" will break down, and the laws of quantum physics will prevail.
The universe could possibly avoid eternal heat death through random quantum tunnelling and quantum fluctuations , given the non-zero probability of producing a new Big Bang in roughly 10 10 10 56 years. The possibilities above are based on a simple form of dark energy. But the physics of dark energy are still a very active area of research, and the actual form of dark energy could be much more complex.
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For example, during inflation dark energy affected the universe very differently than it does today, so it is possible that dark energy could trigger another inflationary period in the future. Until dark energy is better understood its possible effects are extremely difficult to predict or parametrize. If the protons do not decay, stellar-mass objects will still become black holes , but more slowly. The following timeline assumes that proton decay does not take place. In an expanding universe with decreasing density and nonzero cosmological constant, matter density would reach zero, resulting in all matter including stellar objects and planets ionizing and dissipating at thermal equilibrium.
Although protons are stable in standard model physics, a quantum anomaly may exist on the electroweak level, which can cause groups of baryons protons and neutrons to annihilate into antileptons via the sphaleron transition. No experimental evidence of sphalerons has yet been observed at low energy levels, though they are believed to occur regularly at high energies and temperatures.
In 10 years, cold fusion occurring via quantum tunnelling should make the light nuclei in ordinary matter fuse into iron nuclei see isotopes of iron. Fission and alpha particle emission should make heavy nuclei also decay to iron, leaving stellar-mass objects as cold spheres of iron, called iron stars. Quantum tunnelling should also turn large objects into black holes. Depending on the assumptions made, the time this takes to happen can be calculated as from 10 10 26 years to 10 10 76 years.
Quantum tunnelling may also make iron stars collapse into neutron stars in around 10 10 76 years.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Once they die, the universe will go dark — literally. Richard Gott. Or we might tap the internal heat of planets to generate energy: The gravitational interaction between celestial bodies creates friction, which can keep planets hot inside even without any starshine. Trillions of years of evolution will have long since transformed us, Laughlin says. Perhaps we will have merged with our computers. The only thing our descendants will definitely have in common with us is the essential spark of life: not flesh and blood necessarily but information.
Information-based life can keep going almost forever. The gravitational era that begins around 15 trillion years from now could continue for quintillion years and beyond, Laughlin estimates. A quintillion is a 1 followed by 18 zeroes. It is trillion times as long as the entire history of our hominid line on Earth. Still, even this near-eternity is not the same as eternity.
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At some point, life runs into the physical limits of matter itself. That means black holes will be the only organized form of matter in the universe. There will be no energy or structures of any kind — just a cold, eternal mist of farflung particles. This really is the end point for life. Or maybe not. Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, one of the founders of modern cosmological theory, is exploring a model in which the universe goes through endless cycles of creation.
The universe is expanding
His latest version, developed with Anna Ijjas of Columbia University, suggests that the universe could experience a new Big Bang well before the final black hole apocalypse. If it does come, a new Big Bang would wipe away all traces of this universe — unless we can find a way to leapfrog into the next cosmic cycle.
Current physics offers no guidance here. Follow mach. Over the course of human history, one can imagine a whole net of cultural contexts, defined in large part at least until recently by place and time. Neighboring contexts are typically closely connected—but to get a substantial distance, say in time, often requires following a quite long chain of intermediate connections, a bit like one might have to go through a chain of intermediate translations to get from one language to another.
Particularly in modern times, cultural context often evolves quite significantly even over the course of a single human lifetime. But, OK, can we imagine making some kind of formal theory of cultural contexts? To do so would likely in effect require describing the space of all possible civilizations.
And at first this might seem utterly infeasible. But when we explore the computational universe of possible programs we are looking at a space of all possible rules. More specifically, given one universal rule, there must be some program for it—or some class of initial conditions—that make it emulate any other specified rule. Or, in other words, it must be possible to implement an interpreter for any given rule in the original rule. We might then think of defining a distance between rules to be determined by the size or complexity of the interpreter necessary to translate between them.
And perhaps one could imagine a first approximation for the simplified case of neural networks, in which one just asks how difficult it is to train one network to act like another. As a more down-to-earth analogy to the space of cultural contexts, we could consider human languages, of which there are about 10, known. One can assess similarities between languages by looking at their words, and perhaps by looking at things like their grammatical structures.
And even though in first approximation all languages can talk about the same kinds of things, languages can at least superficially have significant differences. For example, Finnish is very different as a language from Swedish, even though Finnish and Swedish cultures are fairly similar. In the case of human civilizations, there are all sorts of indicators of similarity one might use. How similar do their artifacts look, say as recognized by neural networks?
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