How the universe will end theory leads to ‘Big Rip’ in the universe

3 Jul 2015

With the general consensus among cosmologists being that our entire universe was created following the Big Bang, it is now believed that its demise will come with great violence during an event that is being called the ‘Big Rip’.

The backing of the Big Rip theory has been developed by Marcelo Disconzi, assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University, and his colleagues Thomas Kephart and Robert Scherrer, who say it is all down to the viscosity of the universe and its ability to handle light speed.

This viscosity is largely associated with the existence of dark matter, which to this day is still a largely unknown quantity in terms of space and is largely referred to as a placeholder concept for 70pc of the known universe of which it comprises.

For anyone existing during the Big Rip, it will inevitably lead to the ending of all life in the universe with matter being torn apart at an atomic level.

Thankfully, those of us here on Earth right now have nothing to fear due to the fact that it’s not expected to happen for another 22bn years, by which point the Earth will have been swallowed whole by the sun, an event which is expected to happen in 7.6bn years’ time.

Big Bang to Big Rip illustration

Illustration of the Big Rip scenario via Jeremy Teaford/Vanderbilt


Disconzi’s new mathematical theory is being described by his peers as offering a ‘simpler and more elegant formulation’ of previous Big Rip theories, all of which obey the laws of physics.

Compared with previous theories, Disconzi’s doesn’t follow the notion that the matter that exists as a fluid can travel faster than light, but marks one of the few theories to take the concept of cosmic viscosity into account.

“It is possible, but not very likely, that viscosity could account for all the acceleration that has been attributed to dark energy,” said Disconzi in an interview. “It is more likely that a significant fraction of the acceleration could be due to this more prosaic cause. As a result, viscosity may act as an important constraint on the properties of dark energy.”

The team of cosmologists that has published its paper on its findings online will now recruit the help of a supercomputer to run a much deeper analysis of the data it has obtained.

Big Rip in universe image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic