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Scientific Eschatology

By H P Noyes and J Lindesay

Abstract

The future evolution of the universe suggested by the cosmological model proposed earlier at this meeting by the authors is explored. The fundamental role played by the positive "cosmological constant" is emphasized. Dyson's 1979 paper entitled "Time Without End" is briefly reviewed. His most optimistic scenario requires that the universe be geometrically open and that biology is structural in the sense that the current complexity of human society can be reproduced by scaling up its (quantum mechanical) structure to arbitrary size. If the recently measured "cosmological constant" is indeed a fundamental constant of nature, then Dyson's scenario is, for various reasons, ruled out by the finite (De Sitter) horizon due to exponential expansion of the resulting space. However, the finite temperature of that horizon does open other interesting options. If, as is suggested by the cosmology under consideration, the current exponential expansion of the universe is due to a phase transition which fixes a physical boundary condition during the early radiation dominated era, the behavior of the universe after the relevant scale factor crosses the De Sitter radius opens up still other possibilities. The relevance of Martin Rees' apocalyptic eschatology recently presented in his book "Our Final Hour" is mentioned. It is concluded that even for the far future, whether or not cultural and scientific descendants of the current epoch will play a role in it, an understanding (sadly, currently lacking) of community and political evolution and control is essential for a preliminary treatment of what could be even vaguely called scientific eschatology

Topics: Other Fields of Physics
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.2172/839932
OAI identifier: oai:cds.cern.ch:829194
Provided by: CERN Document Server
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