Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Thermodynamics and the Universe
Name: Unknown
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993


Question:
If the universe does eventually reverse its expansion and begin to collapse, will the Second Law of Thermodynamics then be reversed so that energy will be required to make any closed system more disordered?



Replies:
At least not for a long time after it starts to collapse. The second law simply indicates that there are a large number of states available for systems to occupy beyond the initial states and that it is overwhelmingly probable that the system will evolve to occupy these other states. Events far away will not change this.

Sam Bowen


Steven Hawking's "Brief History of Time" provides a good summary of the best guesses on this. The evidence seems to be that the Second Law of Thermodynamics will hold forever, and that the final state of the universe, even if it collapses back on itself, will be much more disordered than the initial state.

Arthur Smith



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory