The universe began some 14 billion years ago with a big bang. We don’t know what happened before that. Also we don’t know why the big bang happened. We know anything that begins must end. This logic suggests that universe will also end. Scientists have conjectured some hypotheses to understand the end of all endings. Since the birth of the universe coincided with the birth of time, the universe will end with the end of time.
Some scientists see the possibility of the universe expanding forever, becoming emptier and suffering ‘heat death’. They say time will end with a ‘big whimper’. Other scientists, however, not only see the possibility of cosmic expansion slowing down with time, but also going into a reverse gear towards a ‘big crunch’ — a step-by-step reversal of its creation mechanism: From a huge clump of scattered matter to an intense ball of absolute energy to nothing. One key concept put forward is that time’s death will be gradual, rather than abrupt. By time’s gradual death it means “time may lose its many attributes one by one: Its directionality, its notion of duration and its role in ordering events.”
Some scientists considered a four-dimensional (4D) universe; three dimensions of space and one of time. Their theory is based on the assumption that this 4D universe is floating in a higher dimensional space, like a leaf floating in the wind. A caterpillar is clinging to the leaf. The caterpillar is free to roam around the leaf, but is trapped there; It can’t go beyond the leaf. We are prisoners of the universe. If the leaf is blown around fiercely enough, the caterpillar can’t move. It will be frozen. All the caterpillar can do is to hold on for dear life. Scientists say objects are forced by the 4D “to move at speeds closer and closer to the speed of light, until eventually the trajectories tilt so much that there is no time”. Scientists love predicting, even if it is doomsday. Some predictions are: ‘out-of-control nanobots’, ‘biological catastrophe’, ‘runaway global warming’, ‘global famine’.
Fortunately, many scientific predictions have failed. People often worry disproportionately about disasters that are unlikely to occur. Still apocalyptic dread worries people. One of the reasons for our worries is our desire to be at the Centre of the universe all the time. There is nothing wrong with being at the centre of the universe. Our problem is that we want to understand everything. We want to create a unified theory of everything. We want to describe everything. The end will come when it’s time comes, maybe 10, 20, or 30 billion years hence. Who knows, immediately after everything is over, a new beginning would begin, with a new man arriving after a few billions of years to live and die on a planet in a new universe?