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Honorary Fellows Lecture - Cosmic extinction - the far future of our Universe

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Abstract:In the first part of this talk I will focus on the question of whether we are alone in the Universe. Planets, some similar to the Earth, have now been discovered beyond the Solar system but uncertain factors prevent a robust estimate of the probability that intelligent life has evolved outside our planet. In any case, if it persists, the human species (or its descendants) will have to find a new home in about a billion years from now when life (as we know it) will become impossible on Earth.

In the second part I will discuss the evolution of our entire universe, from a fraction of a second after the Big Bang to the present, reviewing the known processes that have given rise to the galaxies and stars around which life might exist. I will then discuss the long-term future of our Universe, be that infinite expansion, a 'big crunch' or a 'big rip'. I will end with a brief discussion of the possibility that there might be other universes besides our own.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Philosophical Society series.

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