In pop science media, the End of All Things is the heat death of the universe, but some opt for stranger fates instead:
But some cosmologists think that instead of dark energy remaining forever constant, it might diminish over time, causing the universe to collapse in on itself in a big crunch, a reverse of the big bang. Others think dark energy could be growing in potency, heralding a future where the universe could expand so far so fast that the fabric of space-time starts to tear itself apart. This outcome is called the big rip.Anil Ananthaswamy, “Welcome to the 5th dimension: Our universe’s radical new fate” at New Scientist
At New Scientist, you’d have to find out about an even stranger proposed fate, the fifth dimension. You’d have to pay to find out from them. Here re some free sources on the fifth dimension:
A model from string theory:
An article published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” describes a new model of the universe that proposes that it exists on the edge of an expanding bubble in a five-dimension space-time. A team of researchers from the Swedish University of Uppsala used string theory to hypothesize that the matter existing in the universe is accomodated at the edges of strings that extend into the fifth dimension. According to this hypothesis, what is called dark energy is an effect described by a cosmological constant in the four-dimension Friedmann equations.Massimo Luciani, “The universe on the edge of a bubble in a five-dimension space-time” at Tachyon Beam
This one’s from superstring theory:
According to Superstring Theory, the fifth and sixth dimensions are where the notion of possible worlds arises. If we could see on through to the fifth dimension, we would see a world slightly different from our own that would give us a means of measuring the similarity and differences between our world and other possible ones.
In the sixth, we would see a plane of possible worlds, where we could compare and position all the possible universes that start with the same initial conditions as this one (i.e. the Big Bang). In theory, if you could master the fifth and sixth dimension, you could travel back in time or go to different futures.Matt Williams, “A universe of 10 dimensions” at Phys.Org
no wonder adventurous cosmologists like this stuff:
So what are these other dimensions and how might we experience them? That’s a tricky question, but physicists have some idea of what it might be like. Really, other dimensions are related to other possibilities. How we interact with these is difficult to explain. At the fifth dimension other possibilities for our world open up. You’d be able to move forward or backward in time, just as you can in space, say while walking down a corridor. You’d also be able to see the similarities and differences between the world we inhabit and other possible ones. In the sixth dimension, you’d move along not a line but a plane of possibilities and be able to compare and contrast them. In the fifth and sixth dimensions, no matter where in space you inhabit, you’d witness every possible permutation of what can occur past, present, and future.Philip Perry, “Physicists Outline 10 Different Dimensions and How You’d Experience Them” at BigThink
When related to the End of All Things, the many dimensions thing sounds like another riff on Tales of an invented god
See also: Post-modern physics: String theory gets over the need for evidence
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