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The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,298 ratings  ·  561 reviews
From one of the most dynamic rising stars in astrophysics, an accessible and eye-opening look—in the bestselling tradition of Sean Carroll and Carlo Rovelli—at the five different ways the universe could end, and the mind-blowing lessons each scenario reveals about the most important concepts in physics.

We know the universe had a beginning. With the Big Bang, it went from a
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 9th 2020 by Scribner
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Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cosmology is a fascinating field, especially to those non-physicist lay people like yours truly, who love science fiction and through it come to admire astrophysics and cosmology from afar — from a safe distance from the mathematical equations and heavy science stuff that for some of us have brain-breaking properties. Math and physics and chemistry obviously rule the world, but for some of us it’s just the theory that’s fascinating but not the daunting task of understanding the actual science be ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking. Brings back memories of my childhood when I was amazed about astronomy (and dinosaurs) in the love the author shows for her subject
It’s not that it can’t be true, but that if it is, nothing makes sense, and we might as well give up on trying to understand the universe at all.

Why is the universe the way it is? seems to be the core question Katie Mack takes on in The End of Everything, besides the interest in how the universe will further develop and end
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Katie Mack takes us on a delightfully dark journey, explaining in vivid detail five different ways the entire Universe could end.

I don’t tend to read a lot of popular astronomy books, because they either tell me things I already knew, or explain things in a way that’s clumsily stuck between plain English and scientific terminology but doing justice to neither. None of this is the case here though. I learned so many new things, plus was presented with insightful explanations of ideas I already u
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Explosion Space GIF - Explosion Space Galaxy GIFs

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” ~Frank Herbert

People used to think that ours is a static universe, unchanging and eternal. That there was no "once upon a time" or a Big Bang. It just was and is and always will be.

We now know, however, that there was a beginning (and we also know that our universe is expanding). From the densest singularity, our universe grew into everything we know -- from the tiniest quarks and leptons to the vastest of galaxy clusters.
Whenever I read about the vastness of the universe, I feel like I travel in time. We see distant galaxies billions of years in the past and I wonder how they look like now.

Cosmology is a difficult astronomy field – not that the others are much easier for a layman – but a very compelling one. Everything related to the origins or the end of the universe has a strong attraction to me.

That’s the main reason for choosing this book and the fact that I heard/read some of AstroKatie’s talks/tweets and I
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Astrophysicist Katie Mack provides insight into the myriad ways in which the world could end, extinguishing life in the process, and despite the topic being a morbid and sobering one I found it absolutely riveting, extensively researched and accessible throughout; it really is a rarity that a science book can have you so enthralled by what you are reading. It explores five different ways the universe could end and the wondrous physics, big questions, and mind-blowing lessons underlying them with ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you, like me, love footnotes?

Then buckle up, friendo, because this is the book for you.

Katie Mack is world-renowned in some circles, which is to say, the best circles, for her Twitter account, where she is hilarious, sensitive, and able to explain the most complicated physics concepts not just so that even the layest of laypeople can understand them, but so that those same people can have a good laugh, too. The End of Everything is all that and more.

I've got a big, big soft spot for eschatol
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2020

This was the joy of hearing someone talk about something they love in book form.
Peter Tillman
I liked this one a lot. Got me up to speed in current thinking in cosmology, even if a few of her "physics for amateurs" bits went by me. She writes well, and (mostly) does a good job in simplifying astrophysics for a general audience. Plus, she doesn't take herself too seriously. The footnotes! Mostly you can let them slide: the typeface used makes it really hard to find the damn asterisks. And a lot of them are semi-lame jokes.

She does get a bit carried away with the "End of Everything" stuff
Jessica Woodbury
Wow it's been a long time since I've done any Science Nonfiction reading, but this was a great book to dive back into it. I should preface this review by noting that, believe it or not, I was a science undergrad and worked in a lab that shot rays at particles, so I am not a total layman when it comes to Physics. But all that was a VERY long time ago, and almost everything Mack describes here goes well beyond anything I studied. Anyone who isn't a Cosmologist is going to have a whole lot to learn ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Great science writing

I enjoyed this book. Katie Mack has a relaxed, casual writing style and the book felt more like a discussion over a cup of coffee. She shows a good sense of humor and the footnotes are definitely worth reading. Despite the complexity of the subject matter, Mack weaves a compelling tale about the future of the universe. Not a lot of jargon is used and the writing style is conversational. Mack weaves herself into the story making the book a type of journey. Normally, I don’t l
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It would do a disservice to the book to say I didn’t learn anything new here, but the fact is, I didn’t - aside from a few minor details and a promise that the jarringly faulty popular explanation for black hole evaporation actually makes sense once you do the full math. However, this was to be expected. As a forty-plus year old geek who reads a lot I was bound to encounter all of this stuff, from the big crunch, through the big rip, right across some bouncy universes straight down to vacuum dec ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physics, astrophysics
I have a new favorite astrophysics author, and her name is Katie Mack - @AstroKatieMack. This book is written for laymen, but does not shy away from advanced topics. There is some very light humor sprinkled in the pages. The complexity of topics ramps up very smoothly as the book progresses. Yet Katie easily held my attention by not over-explaining with too much depth, yet always providing that perfect analogy that are the trademarks of cosmologists' presentations.

(Just finished 2nd reading - ne
Rachel Fisher
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Katie Mack is a badass. I appreciate her ability to explain the cosmos/science/math in laypersons terms, with a side of humor. This book can easily be read by all - even those of us who know very little about the cosmos/science.

Thank you to goodreads, the author, and publisher for my free copy of this book!
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a short book, but a dense read. Some concepts went way over my head but, over all, the author does a great job of making most of the content understandable for those of us not conversant in astrophysics. She discusses several theories about the end of the universe. If this is something that doesn't normally worry you, think again, since apparently some theories say that it could happen, not billions of years in the future, but at any moment. Even now. Dr. Mack also includes an easy to fo ...more
Jan 17, 2021 added it
DNF @ 33%. Me and astronomy just don’t mesh.
Val Timke
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting the epilogue of this book to cause such an emotional reaction in me. I knew going into it that the likelihood of the universe ending in the far future is high, as everything comes to an end, so why be emotional now?

I'm finishing this book an hour before the year turns, from 2020 to 2021 (finally). And what a tumultuous year it has been. It is clear that history, all of human history, effects us deeply, no matter how far away. I'm talking about generational trauma. I'm talking
Barb in Maryland
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

As someone who has a layman's fascination with astrophysics/cosmology, I really enjoyed this one. The author presents some very complex ideas in a well-organized, easy to follow manner. Her style is conversational, with flashes of humor. The footnotes are a delight.
This is an excellent example science writing for a general audience, and the death of the universe is a fantastic subject.

Kriti | Armed with A Book
I love reading books about science and this one is, by far, my favorite. Katie is a humorous narrator and she does a fantastic job at presenting hard concepts to readers, using everyday examples to make us understand the gravity of the situation and the intuition behind the theories. Through The End of Everything I learned about the multiple ways in which the universe can end. I enjoyed revisiting concepts I had learned back in my high school Physics class and their advanced applications. I love ...more
Dan Graser
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Where most physics books examine the origins of the cosmos and the unfolding of the untold processes at work, very few books by actual physicists and cosmologists discuss the end of the universe and the present theories. Mainly, this discussion provides some wryly sarcastic fodder for the last chapter of general physics books but Katie Mack has provided in this wonderful volume an examination of the 5 principal theories around the demise of our universe. Those are, in layman's terms:

1) The Big C
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Katie Mack is like your BFF who happens to be a kickass cosmologist/theoretical physicist with cool physicist friends.

In this book, Mack walks the reader through the latest thinking about the death of the universe. As a bonus, she also gives a very readable summary of the Big Bang, and a bit about quanta, dark energy, dark matter, how we measure distance and time on a cosmic scale, string theory, constants, black holes, and what cosmologists are on the lookout for now.

The options (for the end) a
Cindy Lauren
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book about what might happen at the end of the universe. The science is fascinating, even though there is no guarantee that it won't change in the future. It is entertaining to contemplate this universe that is too big to understand making these cataclysmic moves.
The author is both articulate and funny, which makes some of the more complex stuff understandable.
It is a fun book to read.
The End of Everything is about all the potential ways the universe can end. Katie Mack describes the various scenarios and why they're likely or unlikely, the evidence for them, and what looking into these possibilities can teach us about the universe, even if they all turn out to be wrong. She has a fairly breezy style, but some of the actual physics is pretty hard to understand, so it's to her credit that it feels comparatively light while also making what she describes clear enough.

Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Hey, I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway - woooo! So... I did like this book but felt that parts of it were slow. I felt like the first section that was dealing with how the universe got to where it is now dragged on too long though. I like that topic was presented in an understandable way and I find it really interesting to think about what the end of everything might look like. Definitely recommend to anyone that enjoy books about the universe and/or science books.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

As someone who has been voraciously reading and re-reading every popular science article regarding astronomy I could get my hands on since the mid-90s, this book was obviously going to be of interest to me. The study of cosmology has been probing the past, trying to figure out the mysteries of the big bang, and the evolution of the stars and galalaxies we see today. Over the last three decades scientists have figured o
Ajith Ashokkumar (WordShaker)
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book, I came here to read about the end, but I now know about how it all started. This book helps the cosmology enthusiast to learn much more about the universe and its possible endings. We humans have only a life span of 60-70 years or max of 80-90 years, but we are such crazy thinking creatures and we are curious enough to know how this world/universe will end in billions or trillions of years after.  And here we have this book which explains in every possible way how this universe m ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I HAVE READ A BOOK. More or less. GF and I read this aloud to each other and enjoyed it immensely. I'd been looking forward for months to this astrophysicist's account of the current available ways of understanding how our universe (literally everything) will end, and it did not disappoint. It's mainly clear and fairly accessible, and Mack's style is engaging and funny without being too try-hard (though with enough painful failed jokes just to show us she really IS a just giant nerd like the res ...more
Sharon Reamer
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone new to cosmological theory
Rating: 2.499999999

I am a total cosmology/theory of everything/quantum gravity fangirl.

And there were a lot of things to like about this journey through all the theories about how the universe will possibly end, most of which I'd read about in other books and articles.

The cutesy, pop-cultureish writing did annoy me at times even though it should appeal to younger readers (maybe, or those who follow her on Twitter) or those needing to be lightened up a little while reading gloomy prophecies of u
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, favorites
In physics and cosmology we always like to know about the origins. How did the universe begin? What forces were at play? How were atoms and chemical elements created? How did stars, planets and galaxies form?

What we rarely speak about though is how the universe will end. I think it's high time we did more theorizing and postulating on Doomsday scenarios (i.e how the universe will end). And this book does just that. I believe there aren't many books like this around. The subject is unfortunately
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Everyone from Aristotle to … Buffy the Vampire Slayer has at one point asked, ‘What does it all mean?’ As of this writing, we have yet to reach a consensus.”

A Brief History of Time for a new era. Mack communicates better than Hawking. A good review of the current (2020) state of astrophysics. She patiently takes the reader through current thinking of the end of the universe as seen by the contending schools.

“Even though we puny helpless humans have no chance of being able to affect (or effect)
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Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies a range of questions in cosmology, the study of the universe from beginning to end. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University, where she is also a member of the Leadership in Public Science Cluster. Throughout her career she has studied dark matter, the early universe, ...more

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43 likes · 8 comments
“In fact, it’s possible that the only reason we can remember the past and not the future is that “things can only get worse” is a truth so universal that it shapes reality as we know it.” 5 likes
“It also means that cosmology doesn’t really have a well-defined concept of “now.” Or rather, the “now” you experience is highly specific to you, to where you are and to what you are doing. What does it mean to say “that supernova is going off now” if we see the light of it now, and we can watch the star explode now, but that light has been traveling for millions of years? The thing we’re watching is essentially fully in the past, but the “now” for that exploded star is unobservable to us, and we won’t receive any knowledge of it for millions of years, which makes it, to us, not “now,” but the future.
When we think of the universe as existing in spacetime—a kind of all-encompassing universal grid in which space is three axes and time is a fourth—we can just think of the past and the future as distant points on the same fabric, stretching across the cosmos from its infancy to its end. To someone sitting at a different point on this fabric, an event that is part of the future to us might be the distant past to them. And the light (or any information) from an event that we won’t see for millennia is already streaming across spacetime toward us “now.” Is that event in the future, or the past, or, perhaps, both? It all depends on perspective.”
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