SCIENCES

The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking)

Scribner. Aug. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781982103545. $26. SCI
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As theoretical astrophysicist Mack (physics, North Carolina St. Univ.) notes, while the universe we know will probably end, scientists cannot agree on the details of its demise. A formerly proposed Big Crunch is not supported by current evidence; Heat Death, Big Rip, and the Bounce are still considered possible. Vacuum Decay could even occur in the next minute, obliterating everything else that exists. The irreverent names are not Mack’s creations, but fit perfectly with her frequent, playful asides about physics and physicists as she describes how much we still need to learn about the cosmos. Although the author’s expertise as a science communicator is evident throughout, at times the complexity of topics requires her to oversimplify and acknowledge that readers may lack sufficient knowledge of math and physics to best understand a particular phenomenon.
VERDICT Readers with some background in physical sciences, philosophers of science, and anyone wondering what to read after Brian Greene’s Until the End of Time will relish this blend of wit and deep thought.

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