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PostSubject: Cosmic Entropy   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:54 am

What's the point in doing anything?

What's the point in building castles made out of sand?

Understanding that the future of everything is entropy and extinction leads directional progress or purpose a fleeting dream of a absurd deprived species surrounded by obstacles of it's own making.

What happens when a entire species finds out that everything it is striving for amongst it's existential being is for nothing?

What happens when a entire species finds out that everything it is striving for is pointless if not futile amongst the inevitability of cosmic infinite regression.

Understanding this can make anyone a pessimist.

Cosmic degeneration,infinite regression, entropy, or extinction:


Quote :
The heat death is a possible final state of the universe, in which it has "run down" to a state of no thermodynamic free energy to sustain motion or life. In physical terms, it has reached maximum entropy. The hypothesis of a universal heat death stems from the 1850s ideas of William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin who extrapolated the theory of heat views of mechanical energy loss in nature, as embodied in the first two laws of thermodynamics, to universal operation.

The idea of heat death stems from the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy tends to increase in an isolated system. If the universe lasts for a sufficient time, it will asymptotically approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed. In other words, in nature there is a tendency to the dissipation (energy loss) of mechanical energy (motion); hence, by extrapolation, there exists the view that the mechanical movement of the universe will run down in time due to the second law. The idea of heat death was first proposed in loose terms beginning in 1851 by William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, who theorized further on the mechanical energy loss views of Sadi Carnot (1824), James Joule (1843), and Rudolf Clausius (1850). Thomson’s views were then elaborated on more definitively over the next decade by Hermann von Helmholtz and William Rankine.

The idea of heat death of the universe derives from discussion of the application of the first two laws of thermodynamics to universal processes. Specifically, in 1851 William Thomson outlined the view, as based on recent experiments on the dynamical theory of heat, that “heat is not a substance, but a dynamical form of mechanical effect, we perceive that there must be an equivalence between mechanical work and heat, as between cause and effect.” [1]


William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) - originated the idea of universal heat death in 1852.In 1852, Thomson published his “On a Universal Tendency in Nature to the Dissipation of Mechanical Energy” in which he outlined the rudiments of the second law of thermodynamics summarized by the view that mechanical motion and the energy used to create that motion will tend to dissipate or run down, naturally.[2] The ideas in this paper, in relation to their application to the age of the sun and the dynamics of the universal operation, attracted the likes of William Rankine and Hermann von Helmholtz. The three of them were said to have exchanged ideas on this subject.[3] In 1862, Thomson published the article “On the age of the sun’s heat” in which he reiterated his fundamental beliefs in the indestructibility of energy (the first law) and the universal dissipation of energy (the second law), leading to diffusion of heat, cessation of motion, and exhaustion of potential energy through the material universe while clarifying his view of the consequences for the universe as a whole. The key paragraph is:[4]

“ The result would inevitably be a state of universal rest and death, if the universe were finite and left to obey existing laws. But it is impossible to conceive a limit to the extent of matter in the universe; and therefore science points rather to an endless progress, through an endless space, of action involving the transformation of potential energy into palpable motion and hence into heat, than to a single finite mechanism, running down like a clock, and stopping for ever. ”

In the years to follow both Thomson’s 1852 and the 1865 papers, Helmholtz and Rankine both credited Thomson with the idea, but read further into his papers by publishing views stating that Thomson argued that the universe will end in a “heat death” (Helmholtz) which will be the “end of all physical phenomena” (Rankine).[3][5]

In a "heat death", the temperature of the entire universe would be very close to absolute zero. Heat death is, however, not quite the same as "cold death", or the "Big Freeze", in which the universe simply becomes too cold to sustain life due to continued expansion, though the result is quite similar.

Inflationary cosmology suggests that in the early universe, before cosmic expansion, energy was uniformly distributed,[7] and thus the universe was in a state superficially similar to heat death. However, the two states are in fact very different: in the early universe, gravity was a very important force, and in a gravitational system, if energy is uniformly distributed, entropy is quite low, compared to a state in which most matter has collapsed into black holes. Thus, such a state is not in thermal equilibrium, and in fact there is no thermal equilibrium for such a system, as it is thermodynamically unstable.[8][9] However, in the heat death scenario, the energy density is so low that the system can be thought of as non-gravitational, such that a state in which energy is uniformly distributed is a thermal equilibrium state, i.e., the state of maximal entropy.

The final state of the universe depends on the assumptions made about its ultimate fate, and these assumptions have varied considerably over the late 20th century and early 21st century. In a "closed" universe that undergoes recollapse, a heat death is expected to occur, with the universe approaching arbitrarily high temperature and maximal entropy as the end of the collapse approaches. In an "open" or "flat" universe that continues expanding indefinitely, a heat death is also expected to occur, with the universe cooling to approach absolute zero temperature and approaching a state of maximal entropy over a very long time period. There is dispute over whether or not an expanding universe can approach maximal entropy; it has been proposed that in an expanding universe, the value of maximum entropy increases faster than the universe gains entropy, causing the universe to move progressively further away from heat death.[10]

From the Big Bang through the present day and well into the future, matter and dark matter in the universe is concentrated in stars, galaxies, and galaxy clusters. Therefore, the universe is not in thermodynamic equilibrium and objects can do physical work.[11], §VID. The decay time of a roughly galaxy-mass (1011 solar masses) supermassive black hole due to Hawking radiation is on the order of 10100 years,[12], so entropy can be produced until at least that time. After that time, the universe enters the so-called dark era, and is expected to consist chiefly of a dilute gas of photons and leptons.[11], §VIA. With only very diffuse matter remaining, activity in the universe will have tailed off dramatically, with very low energy levels and very large time scales. Speculatively, it is possible that the Universe may enter a second inflationary epoch, or, assuming that the current vacuum state is a false vacuum, the vacuum may decay into a lower-energy state.[11], §VE. It is also possible that entropy production will cease and the universe will achieve heat death.[11], §VID.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe


Quote :
Cosmological Entropy


As a finite universe may be considered an isolated system, it may be subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, so that its total entropy is constantly increasing. It has been speculated that the universe is fated to a heat death in which all the energy ends up as a homogeneous distribution of thermal energy, so that no more work can be extracted from any source.

If the universe can be considered to have generally increasing entropy, then - as Roger Penrose has pointed out - gravity plays an important role in the increase because gravity causes dispersed matter to accumulate into stars, which collapse eventually into black holes. Jacob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking have shown that black holes have the maximum possible entropy of any object of equal size. This makes them likely end points of all entropy-increasing processes, if they are totally effective matter and energy traps. Hawking has, however, recently changed his stance on this aspect.

The role of entropy in cosmology remains a controversial subject. Recent work has cast extensive doubt on the heat death hypothesis and the applicability of any simple thermodynamic model to the universe in general. Although entropy does increase in the model of an expanding universe, the maximum possible entropy rises much more rapidly - thus entropy density is decreasing with time. This results in an "entropy gap" pushing the system further away from equilibrium.[citation needed] Other complicating factors, such as the energy density of the vacuum and macroscopic quantum effects, are difficult to reconcile with thermodynamical models, making any predictions of large-scale thermodynamics extremely difficult.[citation needed]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy#Entropy_and_cosmology
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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Entropy   Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:18 am

The Fool wrote:
What's the point in doing anything?

What's the point in building castles made out of sand?

Understanding that the future of everything is entropy and extinction leads directional progress or purpose a fleeting dream of a absurd deprived species surrounded by obstacles of it's own making.

What happens when a entire species finds out that everything it is striving for amongst it's existential being is for nothing?

Understanding this can make anyone a pessimist.


I understand this and it made me an optimist.
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PostSubject: Re: Cosmic Entropy   Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:53 am

existentialist wrote:
The Fool wrote:
What's the point in doing anything?

What's the point in building castles made out of sand?

Understanding that the future of everything is entropy and extinction leads directional progress or purpose a fleeting dream of a absurd deprived species surrounded by obstacles of it's own making.

What happens when a entire species finds out that everything it is striving for amongst it's existential being is for nothing?

Understanding this can make anyone a pessimist.


I understand this and it made me an optimist.

How so?
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