Pandemic got you down? How bout universe-ending problems instead?
To quote Mack herself: “Someone asked me today who would want to read a book about physics and I mean I get that but also if I tell you “the universe is going to end” I think it would be very odd to not immediately ask “how” and “when” and “will it hurt””
Me. I had all those questions. And what Mack delivers with this volume is a (relatively) easily digestible look at the history and future of the universe, and where new science could leads us in terms of answers — with healthy doses of good humor and existential dread to go along with it
Mack describes one of the first instances she was blindsided thinking about not just the end of the world, but the universe itself: “No assurance existed to tell us that a rapid, unsurviable rending of space couldn’t start right then, in the living room, while we ate cookies and drank tea.” Despite the fruitlessness of the effort to figure it out before it happens, she and cosmologists and physicists like her venture on
This volume details the five main ways the universe is believed to eventually end, lays out the basics of the math and evidence behind them, and then goes into what future data and theories could tell us eventually
Despite having such an unknown fate, reading about “the end times” was such a comforting distraction from the very real, very relevant problems of the “now.” Tour guide Mack expertly shows her readers through the chaos, from The Big Crunch to the Big Rip and everything in between – with quips about bubbles of doom and here be dragons along the way. She strikes a great balance between explaining things so that most readers could understand, not getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty details and without losing the space nerd joy that comes with talking about these far flung ideas
So was it a “joy” to read about the end of everything. Quite
P.s. my bets are on The Big Rip. My boyfriend’s holding out hope for a multidimensional bounce. How would you want the universe to end?
The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack Read eARC (provided by Scribner Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)