978-0-7382-0358-4 / 9780738203584

Countdown To Apocalypse: A Scientific Exploration Of The End Of The World


Publisher:Basic Books



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About the book:

Get ready now. Everything ends eventually, and life as we know it must thus sooner or later wind down. Physicist Paul Halpern pursues eschatology from the merely global to the truly universal in Countdown to Apocalypse: A Scientific Exploration of the End of the World. In this surprisingly lively and engaging book, Halpern examines the history of the end of the world (including the first wave of millennialism in the 10th century), potential doomsdays from nuclear war to global warming and finally the inevitable collapse or dispersal of the universe itself. His explanations of the relevant physics are sparkling; intriguingly, he is equally conversant in the important psychological factors motivating our interest and occasional strange behaviour regarding the end. Tales of Heaven's Gate and Jonestown believers, and others more fortunate but no less deluded, pepper the all-too-real depiction of asteroid collisions, ozone holes and the death of our sun. While it would be easy to wallow in despair, Halpern's consistently charming prose and optimistic turns keep the reader going eagerly from one awful scenario to the next. Sure, the end is near, but with a bit of luck and foresight, we should still have millions of years to worry about it. --Rob Lightner

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