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The terrifying way our universe will die

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Robbert Dijkgraaf is a theoretical physicist and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is also the co-author of “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.” In this video, he explains how our universe will meet its death. Following is a transcript of the video.

The black holes will eat up everything else in the universe.

I’m Robbert Dijkgraaf. I’m the Director and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and I’m a theoretical physicist. 

I think the greatest discovery from Einstein’s theory is that the universe is expanding. But we learned something even more dramatic in recent years.

We learned that the universe isn’t only expanding, but there’s like a force inside empty space that helps to push the universe apart. It actually is accelerating the expansion of the universe, and this has really dramatic consequences. It will mean that the distant part of the universe will start moving away so fast at a point, that it’ll go faster than the speed of light.

That is to say, we’ll never be able to see them. So, what will happen to our part of the universe is that all the neighboring galaxies will slowly fade away. And we are left only with our galaxy and perhaps a few others, and that’s it.

We will be kind of living in an island universe. So, when the galaxy is left alone in this kind of empty universe, the stars will go out one by one because they will burn their fuel. And if all the stars are done burning their fuel, the only force that’s left is the force of gravity.

And it will slowly pull them in, and the black holes will eat up everything else in the universe, and this will be it. It’s a very desolate future for the universe. And I think that’s why many physicists were very hesitant to believe that this is actually the true future history of the universe. But it turns out, that the experiments are all pointing in that direction.

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