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Lesson 1 - Origins and Fates of the Universe

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Luke Bohni

on 23 July 2013

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Transcript of Lesson 1 - Origins and Fates of the Universe

Lesson 1
Origins & Fates of the Universe
What is the
of the Universe
of the Universe
"The Universe is the whole cosmic system of matter and energy of which the Earth is a part"
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Steady State Theory
In this model of the Universe, there was a constant amount of matter and energy being created at the 'centre' of the Universe that was then pushing all other matter away (a bit like a reverse sink hole). As a result the Density of the Universe remains constant.
Image credit - NASA Goddard Photo and Video
The Big Bang Theory proposes that the universe began when an infinitesimally small point that contained all of the energy in the Universe suddenly began expanding outwards in a large explosion
The Big Bang Theory
Image credit - NASA Goddard Photo and Video
So which one
is correct?
Current theory supports the Big Bang theory, there is simply more evidence that the Universe started in a fiery explosion than to suggest that it has been around forever and will always be around
So what is going to happen next?
In order to understand how the Universe will evolve, we need to know some more information regarding how it is shaped and how it is expanding

In order to understand this, we need to get a grasp of 4 Dimensional geometry
Consider a Balloon...
So how is the shape of the Universe important in deciding how it will evolve?
It turns out that the shape of the Universe is determined by the amount of mass it contains. The mass also determines how it will evolve. Thus if you know it's shape, you know how it will end
The Spherical Universe
The spherical universe has so much mass that as it expands, gravity causes it to slow down and eventually begin contracting upon itself once again.
As a result, if the Universe is spherical, it's end will consist of 'the big crunch' or 'Gnab Gib', the reverse of the Big Bang
The Flat Universe
This would be the ideal Universe in which to exist. In this Universe, there is just enough mass to slow expansion but not enough to force it to collapse in on itself.
The Flat Universe would keep expanding but at an ever decreasing rate.
The Hyperbolic Universe
This model of the Universe does not have enough mass to halt expansion and instead the Universe continues to expand at an ever increasing rate resulting in a fate known as 'The Big Rip'.
So what shape is our Universe?
The Australian Astronomer Brian Schmidt recently won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery that the Universe is actually accelerating as it expands
Contrary to what you might think though, this does not suggest that our Universe is Hyperbolic.
Schmidt's findings suggest that the Universe is in fact flat but that it is expanding due to the mysterious forces associated with DARK ENERGY.
In this scenario, the Universe will eventually undergo a 'heat death'.
Heat Death
Heat death occurs when the Universe expands so much so that the space between clumps of matter becomes so large that they cannot interact with one another any more. When this happens, new stars can no longer form, galaxies and stars wink out of existence and all that is left are massive black holes floating through space.
But even these black holes will eventually 'evaporate' and no longer exist and all that will be left in the Universe is a whole lot of empty space with the occasional lump of matter.
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