Lectures on Physics has been derived from Benjamin Crowell's Light and Matter series of free introductory textbooks on physics. See the editorial for more information....

The heat death of the universe

Victorian philosophers realized that living things had low entropy, as discussed in example 19, and spent a lot of time worrying about the heat death of the universe: eventually the universe would have to become a high-entropy, lukewarm soup, with no life or organized motion of any kind. Fortunately (?), we now know a great many other things that will make the universe inhospitable to life long before its entropy is maximized. Life on earth, for instance, will end when the sun evolves into a giant star and vaporizes our planet.

Last Update: 2009-06-21