picture from www.physics.co.uk/
Although a universe ending in a state of almost null entropy has become an increasingly unlikely final scene for some time now, there has still been a bit of an ongoing argy bargy between that scenario and the so-called Big Crunch, in which we cycle forever between collapsing and expanding again.
Sort of huge-scale rebirth, no?
One of my countrymen,Neil Turok is responsible for refining this last hypothesis.
Now, physicists Lauris Baum and Paul Frampton at the University of North Carolina have proposed yet another set of circumstances under which we may be living.
Sometimes I wish they'd knock it off, mind you.
I don't think they've got around to giving it a snazzy name yet, but the theory goes something like this:
The dark matter responsible for the acceleration, or otherwise, of the universe grows in density (thus inherent energy) to a point where it becomes 'heavier' than the universe which contains it- at which point the Big Rip takes place, shredding us into billions of clumps of ravaged universe.
But wait, there's more!
Then, Baum and Frampton propose, the shards of universe scatter in all...err..directions, each a little universe, bearing very little entropy (which appears to be the way this universe began) and appearing as a result remarkably well-organised.
That fine-tuning the monotheists are always going on about.
So- grow, burst apart and scatter-repeat ad infinitum.