On My Bookshelf: The Five Ages of the Universe

I recently reread one of my favorite science books of all time, The Five Ages of the Universe. It confirmed my regard for the writers, Fred Adams and Professor Gregory P Laughlin, and their exploration of the “physics of eternity.”

Many astronomy books go quickly out of date these days, as new discoveries pour into human consciousness through space probes, new telescopes, and the deeper exploration of new theories. This book remains largely relevant, though I’ve read an update is in the works.

This is an excellent read for the person with an interest in cosmology. It is not deeply technical. It contains no complex equations. A background in basic astronomy and physics opens up the concepts a bit more, but the narrative of the past and future of the universe is intriguing enough for the curious reader.

I found myself drawn to the period of the future universe when its age is in the trillions of years. (We are currently at 14 billion, give or take.) Then, the universe’s big stars will be snuffed out, and no new stars will be forming. Galaxies will have taken on a dimmer and distinctive red hue, as small dwarf stars will be the main source of light. Will future human beings, spread to the farthest boundaries of the universe, huddle in the twilight of red dwarfs and contemplate future eons of darkness? Will the light of Christian faith still be alive? Or will believers all have been snatched away to some other, brighter universe? What happens at those farthest boundaries when the people are not there to live and witness and ponder it all?

This book made me think and reflect years ago when I first read it. It did the same for me earlier this month. Many of you readers might enjoy it too.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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