Phys 1033

Cosmology, String Theory


The Death of the Universe

Spring 2018
University of Minnesota Duluth

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The Universe began in the gigantic explosion of the Big Bang, but will it end in the Big Crunch, as everything comes crashing back together? Or in the Big Rip, when Dark Energy tears everything apart atom by atom? The story of how the Universe came to be the way it is, and how it might end, is a dramatic one, with many twists and turns, especially in the development of human understanding. All along the way many disasters await the unwary, including supernova explosions, wandering black holes spaghettifying everything in their path, and asteroids and comets intersecting Earth's orbit, not to mention the giant Andromeda galaxy barreling straight at us.

Join us as we explore the structure and evolution of our Universe and how string theory, extra dimensions, and the Higgs particle may play roles in understanding it. We will consider structure on many scales, from subnuclear to planetary, stellar, galactic, and beyond, including the latest data on gravitational waves from merging black holes and on the Higgs from the Large Hadron Collider, and give special emphasis to "Ellies", extinction-level events, the ultimate one being, of course, the end of the Universe itself.

Antennae galaxies Asteriod hitting Earth Astronaut spaghettified Supernova 1987A Jets from NGC4261
Colliding galaxies Asteroid impact Black-hole spaghettification Supernova explosion Jets from active galactic center
CMB image ATLAS Higgs event Gravitational wave source
Cosmic microwave background radiation Higgs production event at the LHC Gravitational waves from spiraling black holes

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