The second law isn’t just slowly killing you in PChem, but slowly killing the universe…

Black-holeThe second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of the universe is increasing. Black holes contribute to the entropy of the universe by breaking down matter into more disordered states. Previous studies on a black hole’s effect on the entropy of the galaxy have only been done on smaller black holes. Recently, Australian scientists have looked into the effects of supermassive black holes on entropy. They discovered that the previously predicted value for the effects of the supermassive black holes to be much less then what they really are. When entropy in the universe is maximized heat flow would no longer exist.

“in the case of the universe, Egan says, ‘we’d like to know [when and] if the entropy will eventuallyreach a maximum value, marking the end of all dissipative processes, including life.’ Physicists have dubbed that maximum entropy ‘heat death.’”

While the universe is closer to ‘heat death’ than previously estimated it still far from reaching its maximum entropy. Others note that if entropy is concentrated in these supermassive black holes, then the remainder of the universe should be at a lower entropy and further away from ‘heat death.’

[via usnews & world report]

Comments (3) Add yours ↓
  1. cdillon

    God, just imagine what the universe will be like once all the stars go dark!

    21 October 2009
  2. skassel

    I think we still have a couple of weeks… Although that would be quite the show and likely worth seeing!

    21 October 2009
  3. tsafko

    My favorite upcoming astronomical disaster is the switching of Earth’s magnetic polarity. It’s due to happen anytime in the next 100-2000 years.

    Apparently as it switches, we lose the protection of the magnetic field causing us to get hit with close to 100% of solar radiation. We’ll lose global electricity, and all satellites will cease working along with communication.

    At least we’ll all get a tan.

    22 October 2009

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