Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What remains of an atom is ripped apart?

  1. Apr 25, 2010 #1

    "With dark energy, the fate of the universe might go well beyond the Big Chill. In the strangest and most speculative scenario, as the universe expands ever faster, all of gravity's work will be undone. Clusters of galaxies will disband and separate. Then galaxies themselves will be torn apart. The solar system, stars, planets, and even molecules and atoms could be shredded by the ever-faster expansion. The universe that was born in a violent expansion could end with an even more violent expansion called the Big Rip."

    And then what? Does the universe recycle itself? Is there something after nothing?

    What remains of an atom is ripped apart?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Hrm. I'm pretty sure bound systems, such as the solar system, a galaxy (?), or atoms do not get "ripped apart" by the dark energy expansion.

    But at any rate, after all this happens there is pretty much nothing. Matter dilutes and dilutes until there is hardly anything left. One can imagine a scenario in which every single particle is completely isolated and in its separate universe from all other particles. Not a very exciting time to live in.

    Some will say that due to the fact that quantum mechanics allows for some pretty strange things to happen, although with exceedingly low probability, that eventually there will be a fluctuation which in essence "creates a new universe" and in this pocket of spacetime it all repeats again. I'd rather not take such notions too seriously, but it is a bit intriguing.
  4. Apr 26, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I had a long winded answer, but, nabeshin worded it better.
  5. Apr 26, 2010 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You're obviously talking about the "Big Rip" scenario.
    There, the density of Dark Energy increases without bound, ripping everything apart. You end up whíth a state quite similar to the inflationary epoch at the beginning of the universe, so the universe might start all over again.
    However, this model is at odds with some of our most basic assumptions about physics and reality.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook