And now, for your pleasant Wednesday morning headline. A UC Berkeley physicist says that the laws of physics are simply incompatible with a model of the universe in which things just keep on going forever. So, bad news: they won't.
Berkeley physicist Raphael Bousso's argument, considering it deals with the end of the universe and the ceasing of time, is not as brain-meltingly complicated as you might think. Basically, if time and the universe are both infinite, then at some point, every possible thing will happen. Even if it takes a trillion years. Or 50 trillion years. Think of it as the same idea as the thousand monkeys on the typewriters - sooner or later, they'll crank our Shakespeare, just by chance.
But it gets wackier: not only will every possible physical scenario occur within an infinite timeline, but it will occur infinitely. The problem with a universe in which literally everything happens infinitely over and over again is that our poor physical laws just aren't equipped to make sense of any of that - in fact, they themselves cease to mean anything at all.
But don't panic yet - Bousso says there's only a 50 per cent chance that time will end and the universe will be destroyed within the next 3.7 billion years. I like those odds! Plus, I have a feeling we'll have bigger things to worry about between now and then. [MIT Technology Review]