Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice. Paleontologist Peter Ward says the seas could turn to sulfur; physicist Michio Kakutani expects the world (along with the rest of the Universe) to end in a deep freeze—though he holds out hope that we could stay warm by escaping to a parallel Universe. Environmental scientist Stewart Brand foresees a climate catastrophe, astronomer Edward Sion worries about supernovas and asteroid impacts, physicst Melissa Franklin contemplates being swallowed quickly and painlessly by a black hole—which wouldn’t be so bad, she says. Astronomer Robert Kirshner imagines a lonely future back here in the Milky Way after the expansion of the Universe transports the other galaxies beyond our observable horizon. Political scientist Graham Allison imagines destruction by nuclear terrorists, and pretty much everyone agrees that sooner or later the earth will be swallowed by a dying sun.
You can watch the video interviews at BigThink, where, as always, I wish they would post transcripts; reading is faster than viewing and skimming is faster still. But if you’ve got the patience, some of these are fun.
What’s your (realistic or fanciful) scenario for the end of days?