The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity. Fred Adams and Greg Joseph I. Silk, Reviewer. Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom. PDF . As the twentieth century closed, Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin captured the attention of the world by identifying the five ages of time. In The Five Ages of the. download The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity on ✓ FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders.

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Download Citation on ResearchGate | The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity | "The most detailed Request Full-text Paper PDF. Citations . Find out more about The Five Ages of the Universe by Fred C. Adams, Greg Laughlin at Simon & Schuster. Read book reviews & excerpts, watch author videos. A minimum age of the universe can be estimated directly by de- .. Hipparcos data, and concluded that the five independent distance estimates.

Dec 18, Ami Iida rated it it was amazing Shelves: View all 3 comments. Mar 20, Stephen rated it liked it Shelves: This book covers the physics of the development of the universe from the big bang to its long, drawn out demise in the unimaginably distant future. Its science is good and interesting and, after first reading, it could well be used as a reference book. A better book from the perspective of a good r This book covers the physics of the development of the universe from the big bang to its long, drawn out demise in the unimaginably distant future.

A better book from the perspective of a good read covering similar ground, is Deep Time by David Darling. The Five Ages of the Universe, however, is a good addition to any science library, personal or otherwise. Aug 31, Bob Nichols rated it liked it. The authors take the reader through a journey that begins with the explosive an under, understatement Big Bang era, through progressive cooling eras that allow masses space debris, stars,galaxies, galaxy clusters first to form and then proceed to their eventual decay degeneration , and then their collapse into black holes that culminate in the fifth age, the dark era no thermodynamic energy and cosmic heat death.

The scales of time and space are astounding of course e. In the last, dark, era no light , the cosmos has three potential outcomes. It may continue to expand from the initial Big Bang, or it may collapse back into its original state Big Crunch , or it may reach some perpetual balance point. It could be that the universe, or portions of it, disappears into massive black holes that in turn form new universes that in Darwinian fashion are offspring that operate by somewhat different physical laws.

The authors frame our universe's physical laws in terms of the four basic cosmic forces but then take one of them, gravity, and counter it with entropy to say that this "pull together-pull apart" dynamic is basic to the operation of the cosmos.

The authors sidestep the question of whether this "pull apart" component is a force by calling it "a tendency. That's a bit upbeat.

It's a secular version of the religious quest for eternity. All in all, the book is a tale of beyond impressive cosmic power and furiosity that has its own beauty and majesty. Aug 07, Stephen Sun rated it really liked it. Eye opening guide to the long term fate of the universe, albeit with some outdated information.

Book is grounded in scientific fact, but last chapter seems to contain a little too much speculation. Jan 23, Flip rated it it was ok. The book has a nice premise: Along the way, point to ways in which life may surviveeven if that means rethinking what we mean by 'life. This is in part due to the book narrowly missing out on big developments in cosmology in , but also due to the standard for "science explainer" books being much The book has a nice premise: This is in part due to the book narrowly missing out on big developments in cosmology in , but also due to the standard for "science explainer" books being much higher today than in the s.

The explanations in the book do not compare well to what one may find on Wikipedia or on YouTube today. The book comes off as having the tone of a dry public lecture, the authors' authority as scientists is meant to be the selling point, not that the authors are talented science communicators.

To be sure, the authors note that the book grew out of an academic review article they wrote. Perhaps because of this, the book feels like a lecture that has been stripped of details and lightly garnished with poetic analogies.

Just beneath the surface of what's written, there are some neat scientific ideas bubbling. The end notes of the book point to research-level literature. Part of the book even includes an aside on "black hole computers," which was original work for the book.

Many of these neat ideas are hidden because the text is stripped of technical details and does not offer an alternative crutch for general audiences to appreciate the nuances of certain phrases.

For example, a theme in the book that is never directly addressed is the role of information and complexity in the late stages of the universe as a measure for the existence of life.

Indeed, the most compelling pieces of the book for me were the short fictional appetizers at the beginning of each chapter that presented a snapshot of hypothetical life form in the far future of the universe.

Otherwise, I had a difficult time feeling that the book had a cohesive theme or a unifying narrative. Two final bits of frustration for a science book is that the figures do a poor job of supporting the textual narrative. Some of the figures feel like the authors expected them to supposed to be self explanatory. Unfortunately, the general audience will is not equipped to read a Hertzprung-Russell diagram, and certainly not one where the axes are not even labeled.

The other frustration is the poro use of jargon. The book will use flowery language to give vague "this is the gist of it" explanations, but then will throw in technical jargon that either is not defined or is defined so opaquely that it might as well not have been. That being said, the book may have an audience for those who are interested in a broad if dated picture of the universe.

I read this with a technical background in a related field, and found myself spending a lot of time thinking about which pieces are true and which are clearly popular assumptions in the s that have since passed by the wayside. This was both a fun and frustrating exercise. Oct 15, Z4nnibal rated it really liked it. The single most interesting book I've read. But, as others have pointed out, some of the information is outdated.

I was just listening a great lecture on these subjects yesterday given by the physicist Lawrence Krauss and it reminded me of this book. I think I'll give it a reread sometime soon.

The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity

I'm pretty sure I still have it with some grouping of my slightly unconsolidated book collection hidden away somewhere I read this a while back, before I had the more serious general interest in science that I now have, but even then I found this book extremely fascinating, thought-provoking and at moments terrif I was just listening a great lecture on these subjects yesterday given by the physicist Lawrence Krauss and it reminded me of this book.

I read this a while back, before I had the more serious general interest in science that I now have, but even then I found this book extremely fascinating, thought-provoking and at moments terrifying in a very undiluted way.

Trying to contemplate The Biggest Picture the known universe and its potential death is daunting no matter when it's done age 16 and any age beyond , or so I'm quite convinced. One of the mind blowing and jaw dropping moments I remember pretty clearly was reaching a point in the book where the various demises of the universe were summarized. Apr 06, Michael rated it liked it. I am not sure quite what I was expecting of this book, but it sadly failed to deliver on whatever that expectation was.

The sweeping discussion of cosmology - past, present, and distant really distant future - certainly sums up everything you ever wanted to know about the creation and destruction of the universe, but it never seemed to find its audience.

Parts of it are aimed at readers mostly uninformed about astrophysics and quantum mechanics, while others delve into mathematical discussions I am not sure quite what I was expecting of this book, but it sadly failed to deliver on whatever that expectation was. Parts of it are aimed at readers mostly uninformed about astrophysics and quantum mechanics, while others delve into mathematical discussions and theories based on cutting-edge, but unproven, hypothesis.

The Five Ages of the Universe simply lacks the approachability of, say, A Brief History of Time but also fails to drop more than a few interesting nuggets for those already informed about the past and proposed future of the universe.

It's a decent read, but I can't really recommend it to anyone in particular. Oct 16, Alan rated it liked it. I read this book for a philosophy discussion and was unfortunately quite rushed. The book really explores in fascinating depth the death of the universe.

What will it be like in the far distant future, long after all the stars are gone, the black holes have evaporated, and even protons have decayed? Well other than really cold and dark? Can life of any sort be created from black holes? How about life from just electrons and positrons?

Most of the ideas in the books seemed plausible. I found some I read this book for a philosophy discussion and was unfortunately quite rushed. I found some speculations quite challenging and unique. And I plan on living long enough to tell you if the authors have it right. Apr 09, Samuel Viana rated it it was amazing. Great book But therotical physics had always been like this, a speculative science field, so would say that what comes in this book is tremendously speculative?

God can itself Be a scientist, afte Great book God can itself Be a scientist, after all. And Our own universe could be Is scientific project. And a great project it is! View 1 comment. Jan 27, Mike Wigal rated it really liked it. I liked it. A typical galaxy fills only about one-millionth of the volume of space that contains the galaxy, and the galaxies themselves are extremely tenuous.

If you were to fly a spaceship to a random point in the universe, the chances of landing within a galaxy are about one in a million at the present time. These odds are already not very good, and in the future they will only get worse, because the universe is expanding but the galaxies are not. Decoupled from the overall expansion of the universe, the galaxies exist in relative isolation. They are the homes of most stars in the universe, and hence most planets.

As a result, many of the interesting physical processes in the universe, from stellar evolution to the evolution of life, take place within galaxies. Just as they do not thickly populate space, the galaxies themselves are mostly empty. Very little of the galactic volume is actually filled by the stars, although galaxies contain billions of them.

If you were to drive a spaceship to a random point in our galaxy, the chances of landing within a star are extremely small, about one part in one billion trillion one part in This emptiness of galaxies tells us much about how they have evolved and how they will endure in the future.

Direct collisions between the stars in a galaxy are exceedingly rare. Consequently, it takes a very long time, much longer than the current age of the universe, for stellar collisions and other encounters to affect the structure of a galaxy. As we shall see, these collisions become increasingly important as the universe grows older. The space between the stars is not entirely empty.

Our Milky Way is permeated with gas of varying densities and temperatures. The average density is only about one particle one proton per cubic centimeter and the temperature ranges from a cool 10 degrees kelvin to a seething million degrees. At low temperatures, about 1 percent of the material lives in solid form, in tiny rocky dust particles. This gas and dust that fill in the space between stars are collectively known as the interstellar medium.

The stars themselves give us the next smaller size scale of importance. Ordinary stars, objects like our Sun which support themselves through nuclear fusion in their interiors, are now the cornerstone of astrophysics.

The Five Ages of the Universe

The stars make up the galaxies and generate most of the visible light seen in the universe. Moreover, stars have shaped the current inventory of the universe.

Massive stars have forged almost all of the heavier elements that spice up the cosmos, including the carbon and oxygen required for life. Most of what makes up the ordinary matter of everyday experience -- books, cars, groceries -- originally came from the stars.

But these nuclear power plants cannot last forever. The fusion reactions that generate energy in stellar interiors must eventually come to an end as the nuclear fuel is exhausted. Stars with masses much larger than our Sun burn themselves out within a relatively brief span of a few million years, a lifetime one thousand times shorter than the present age of the universe. At the other end of the range, stars with masses much less than that of our Sun can last for trillions of years, about one thousand times the current age of the universe.

When stars end the nuclear burning portion of their lives, they do not disappear altogether. In their wake, stars leave behind exotic condensed objects collectively known as stellar remnants. This cast of degenerate characters includes brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes.

As we shall see, these strange leftover remnants will exert an increasingly important and eventually dominant role as the universe ages and the ordinary stars depart from the scene. The planets provide our fourth and smallest size scale of interest. They come in at least two varieties: The last few years have seen an extraordinary revolution in our understanding of planets.

For the first time in history, planets in orbit about other stars have been unambiguously detected. We now know with certainty that planets are relatively commonplace in the galaxy, and not just the outcome of some rare or special event which occurred in our solar system.

Planets do not play a major role in the evolution and dynamics of the universe as a whole. They are important because they provide the most likely environments for life to evolve.

The long-term fate of planets thus dictates the long-term fate of life -- at least the life-forms with which we are familiar. In addition to planets, solar systems contain many smaller objects, such as asteroids, comets, and a wide variety of moons. As in the case of planets, these bodies do not play a major role in shaping the evolution of the universe as a whole, but they do have an important impact on the evolution of life.

The moons orbiting the planets provide another possible environment for life to thrive. Comets and asteroids are known to collide with planets on a regular basis. These impacts, which can drive global climatic changes and extinctions of living species, are believed to have played an important role in shaping the history of life here on Earth.

All four of these forces play significant roles in the biography of the cosmos. They have helped shape our present-day universe and will continue to run the universe throughout its future history. The first of these forces, gravity, is the closest to our everyday experience and is actually the weakest of the four. Since it has a long range and is always attractive, however, gravity dominates the other forces on sufficiently large size scales.

Gravity holds objects to Earth, and holds Earth in its orbit around the Sun. Gravity keeps the stars intact and drives their energy generation and evolution.

Ultimately, it is the force responsible for forming most structures in the universe, including galaxies, stars, and planets. The second force is the electromagnetic force, which includes both electric and magnetic forces.

At first glance, these two forces might seem different, but at the fundamental level they are revealed to be aspects of a single underlying force. Although the electromagnetic force is intrinsically much stronger than gravity, it has a much smaller effect on large size scales. Positive and negative charges are the source of the electromagnetic force and the universe appears to have an equal amount of each type of charge.

Because the forces created by charges of opposite sign have opposite effects, the electromagnetic force tends to cancel itself out on large size scales that contain many charges. On small size scales, in particular within atoms, the electromagnetic force plays a vitally important role.

It is ultimately responsible for most of atomic and molecular structure, and hence is the driving force in chemical reactions.

The Five Ages of the Universe

At the fundamental level, life is governed by chemistry and the electromagnetic force. The electromagnetic force is a whopping times stronger than the gravitational force. One way to grasp this overwhelming weakness of gravity is to imagine an alternate universe containing no charges and hence no electromagnetic forces. In such a universe, ordinary atoms would have extraordinary properties. With only gravity to bind an electron to a proton, a hydrogen atom would be larger than the entire observable portion of our universe.

The strong nuclear force, our third fundamental force of nature, is responsible for holding atomic nuclei together. The protons and the neutrons are held together in the nucleus by this force. Without the strong force, atomic nuclei would explode in response to the repulsive electric forces between the positively charged protons. Although it is intrinsically the strongest of the four forces, the strong force has a very short range of influence.

Not by coincidence, the range of the strong nuclear force is about the size of a large atomic nucleus, about ten thousand times smaller than the size of an atom about 10 fermi or centimeters. The strong force drives the process of nuclear fusion, which in turn provides most of the energy in stars and hence in the universe at the present epoch.

The large magnitude of the strong force in comparison with the electromagnetic force is ultimately the reason why nuclear reactions are much more powerful than chemical reactions, by a factor of a million on a particle-by-particle basis. The fourth force, the weak nuclear force, is perhaps the farthest removed from the public consciousness.

This rather mysterious weak force mediates the decay of neutrons into protons and electrons, and also plays a role in nuclear fusion, radioactivity, and the production of the elements in stars. The weak force has an even shorter range than the strong force. In spite of its weak strength and short range, the weak force plays a surprisingly important role in astrophysics.

A substantial fraction of the total mass of the universe is most likely made up of weakly interacting particles, in other words, particles that interact only through the weak force and gravity.

Because such particles tend to interact on very long time scales, they play an increasingly important role as the universe slowly cranks through its future history. THE GREAT WAR A recurring theme throughout the life of the universe is the continual struggle between the force of gravity and the tendency for physical systems to evolve toward more disorganized conditions. The amount of disorder in a physical system is measured by its entropy content.

In the broadest sense, gravity tends to pull things together and thereby organizes physical structures. Entropy production works in the opposite direction and acts to make physical systems more disorganized and spread out.

The interplay between these two competing tendencies provides much of the drama in astrophysics. Our Sun provides an immediate example of this ongoing struggle. The Sun lives in a state of delicate balance between the action of gravity and entropy. The force of gravity holds the Sun together and pulls all of the solar material toward the center.

In the absence of competing forces, gravity would rapidly crush the Sun into a black hole only several kilometers across. This disastrous collapse is prevented by pressure forces which push outward to balance the gravitational forces and thereby support the Sun. The pressure that holds up the Sun ultimately arises from the energy of nuclear reactions taking place in the solar interior.

These reactions generate both energy and entropy, leading to random motions of the particles in the solar core, and ultimately supporting the structure of the entire Sun. On the other hand, if the force of gravity was somehow shut off, the Sun would no longer be confined and would quickly expand. This dispersal would continue until the solar material was spread thinly enough to match the very low densities of interstellar space.

The rarefied ghost of the Sun would then be several light-years across, about million times its present size. The evenly matched competition between gravity and entropy allows the Sun to exist in its present state.

If this balance is disrupted, and either gravity or entropy overwhelms the other, then the Sun could end up either as a small black hole or a very diffuse wisp of gas. This same state of affairs -- a balance of gravity and entropy -- determines the structure of all the stars in the sky. The fierce rivalry between these two opposing tendencies drives stellar evolution. This same general theme of competition underlies the formation of astronomical structures of every variety, including planets, stars, galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the universe.

The existence of these astrophysical systems is ultimately due to gravity, which acts to pull material together. Yet in each case, the tendency toward gravitational collapse is opposed by disruptive forces. On every scale, the relentless competition between gravity and entropy ensures that a victory is often temporary, and never entirely complete.

For example, the formation of astrophysical structures is never completely efficient. Successful formation events mark local triumphs for gravity, whereas failed incidences of formation represent victories for disorganization and entropy. This great war between gravity and entropy determines the long-term fate and evolution of astrophysical objects such as stars and galaxies. After a star has burned through all of its nuclear fuel, for example, it must adjust its internal structure accordingly.

Gravity pulls the star inwards, whereas the tendency for increasing entropy favors dispersal of the stellar material.

The subsequent battle can have many different outcomes, depending on the mass of the star and its other properties for example, the rate at which the star spins. As we shall see, this drama will be repeated over and over again, as long as stellar objects populate the universe. The evolution of the universe itself provides an intensely dramatic example of the ongoing struggle between the force of gravity and entropy.

The universe is expanding and becoming more spread out with time. Resisting this evolutionary trend is the force of gravity, which tries to pull the expanding material of the universe back together. If gravity wins this battle, the universe must eventually halt its expansion and begin to recollapse some time in the future.

On the other hand, if gravity loses the battle, the universe will continue to expand forever. Which one of these fates lies in our future path depends on the total amount of mass and energy contained within the universe. A high-water mark of human accomplishment is our ability to explain and predict how nature behaves in regimes that are vastly disconnected from our everyday Earthbound experience.

The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity pdf download

Most of this expansion of our horizons has occurred within the past century. Our realm of knowledge has been extended from the largest scale structures of the universe all the way down to subatomic particles. Although this domain of understanding may seem large, we must keep in mind that discussions of physical law cannot be extended arbitrarily far in either direction. The very largest and the very smallest size scales remain beyond the reach of our current scientific understanding.

Our physical picture of the largest size scales in the universe is limited by causality. Beyond a certain maximum distance, information has simply not had time to reach us during the relatively short life of the universe. Einstein's theory of relativity implies that no signals that contain information can travel faster than the speed of light.

So, given that the universe has lived for only about ten billion years, no information-bearing signals have had time to travel farther than ten billion light-years. This distance provides a boundary to the part of the universe that we can probe with any kind of physics; this causality boundary is often referred to as the horizon scale. Because of the existence of this causality barrier, very little can be ascertained about the universe at distances greater than the horizon scale.

This horizon scale depends on the cosmological time. In the past, when the universe was much younger, this horizon scale was correspondingly smaller.

As the universe ages, the horizon scale continues to grow. The cosmological horizon is an extremely important concept that limits the playing field of science. Just as a football game must take place within well defined boundaries, physical processes in the universe are constrained to occur within the horizon at any given time.

In fact, the existence of a causal horizon leads to some ambiguity regarding what the term "universe" actually means. The term sometimes refers to only the material that is within the horizon at a given time. In the future, however, the horizon will grow and hence will eventually encompass material that is currently outside our horizon.

Is this "new" material part of the universe at the current time? The answer can be yes or no, depending on how you define "the universe. For the sake of definiteness, we consider such regions of space-time to belong to "other universes.

On size scales smaller than about centimeters this scale is known as the Planck length , the nature of space-time is very different than on larger length scales.

At these tiny size scales, our conventional concepts of space and time no longer apply because of quantum mechanical fluctuations. Physics at this scale must simultaneously incorporate both the quantum theory and general relativity to describe space and time. The quantum theory implies that nature has a wavelike character at sufficiently small size scales. For example, in ordinary matter, the electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom display many wave properties.

The quantum theory accounts for this waviness. The theory of general relativity holds that the geometry of space itself along with time: Unfortunately, however, we do not yet have a complete theory that combines both quantum mechanics and general relativity.

The absence of such a theory of quantum gravity greatly limits what we can say about size scales smaller than the Planck length. As we shall see, this limitation of physics greatly inhibits our understanding of the very earliest times in the history of the universe.

We must take up the formidable challenge of establishing a time line which depicts the universally interesting events that are likely to transpire over the next years.

The number is big. Very big. Written down without the benefit of scientific notation, this number consists of a 1 followed by one hundred zeros and it looks like this: Not only is the number rather cumbersome to write out, but it is difficult to obtain an accurate feeling for just how tremendously gigantic it is. Attempts to visualize by imagining collections of familiar objects are soon thwarted. For example, the number of grains of sand on all of the beaches in the world is often trotted out as an example of an incomprehensibly large number.

However, a rough estimate shows that the total number of sand grains is about , a 1 followed by 23 zeros, a big number but still hopelessly inadequate to the task. How about the number of stars in the sky? The number of stars in our galaxy is close to one hundred billion, again a relatively small number. The number of stars in all the galaxies in our observable universe is about , still far too small.

In fact, in the entire visible universe, the total number of protons, the fundamental building blocks of ordinary matter, is only , still a factor of ten billion trillion times too small!

The number of years between here and eternity is truly immense. In order to describe the time scales involved in the future evolution of the universe, without becoming completely bewildered, let's use a new unit of time called a cosmological decade. According to our definition, the exponent n is the number of cosmological decades. The power of this scheme is that each successive cosmological decade represents a tenfold increase in the total age of the universe. The concept of a cosmological decade thus provides us with a way to think about immensely long time spans.

We can also use cosmological decades to refer to the very short but very eventful slivers of time which came immediately after the big bang. We simply allow the cosmological decade to be a negative number.Trivia About The Five Ages of Introduction A guide to the big picture, fundamental physical law, windows of space and time, the great war, and extremely big numbers.

The planets provide our fourth and smallest size scale of interest. A rare beacon of light can emerge when two brown dwarfs collide to create a new low-mass star, which will subsequently live for trillions of years. In spite of their name, black holes are not completely black. Their achievement is awesome in its scale and profound in its scientific breadth.