... a pleasure. Mack’s style is personal and often funny as she guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery ... This might seem like the wrong time for a book peering billions of years into the future to examine the ultimate doom and destruction. We have doom and destruction of our own to worry about, arriving faster and faster. These days many people wake up wondering if we’ll make it past November. Plague is rampant. The Arctic Circle is on fire. Still, I found it helpful — not reassuring, certainly, but mind-expanding — to be reminded of our place in a vast cosmos.
... [a] thrilling tour of potential cosmic doomsdays ... Beyond her deep expertise, Ms. Mack’s infectious enthusiasm for communicating the finer points of cosmological doom elevates The End of Everything over any other book on the topic I have read. Merely exploring the various forms of astrophysical apocalypse with witty, conversational prose is not enough. She ensures the reader understands them too, deploying brilliant analogies to explain mind-blowing astrophysical exotica. Most importantly, Ms. Mack is unafraid to grapple with what the end of all things, in its various possible forms, might mean for us here and now, and those wistful uncertainties powerfully resonate throughout the book.
... far from being depressing, Mack’s account mixes a sense of reverence for the wonders of physics with an irreverent sense of humor and a disarming dose of candor ... Already known for her engaging Twitter personality, public lectures and popular science writing, Mack has well-honed scientific communication chops. Her evocative writing about some of the most violent processes in the universe, mixed with her obvious glee at the unfathomable grandness of it all, should both satisfy longtime physics fans and inspire younger generations of physicists ... Reading Mack’s prose feels like learning physics from a brilliant, quirky friend. The book is sprinkled with plenty of informal quips ... Readers will find themselves good-naturedly rolling their eyes at some of the goofy footnotes and nerdy pop-culture references. At the same time, the book delves deep into gritty physics details, thoroughly explaining important concepts like the cosmic microwave background — the oldest light in the universe — and tackling esoteric topics in theoretical physics. Throughout, Mack does an excellent job of recognizing where points of confusion might trip up a reader and offers clarity instead ... Mack continues a long-standing tradition of playfulness among physicists. That’s how we got stuck with somewhat cheesy names for certain fundamental particles, such as 'charm' and 'strange' quarks, for example. But she also brings an emotional openness that is uncommon among scientists. Sometimes this is conveyed by declarations in all caps about how amazing the universe is. But other times, it comes when Mack makes herself vulnerable by leveling with the reader about how unnerving this topic is ... Yes, this is a dark subject. Yes, the universe will end, and everything that has ever happened, from the tiniest of human kindnesses to the grandest of cosmic explosions, will one day be erased from the record. Mack struggles with what the inevitable demise of everything means for humankind. By contemplating the end times, we can refine our understanding of the universe, but we can’t change its fate.
Mack explains each possible ending with plenty of detail but also in very clear language and plenty of comparisons and metaphors to make it as understandable and digestible as possible. I can honestly say my mind was blown at one point by an apparent paradox that Mack elucidated brilliantly. Plus, once you understand Vacuum Decay, you also get to know that our universe could wink out of existence at any moment. At only two hundred and forty pages, this book is a great stocking stuffer!
For a book on a seemingly grim subject, it made me chuckle on many occasions, particularly the footnotes, which read like a director making snarky asides about her own film. The main text is more like an animated discussion with your favourite quirky and brilliant professor. Its references range from William Shakespeare and Nicolaus Copernicus to Friedrich Nietzsche and modern science fiction ... What stands out most is Mack’s pure enjoyment of physics, and it is contagious ... As I spend a lot of my time reading about cosmology and speaking to cosmologists about these issues, I didn’t expect to learn too many new facts and concepts. I was pleasantly surprised. I learned a great deal ... Mack’s explanations range from the colossal (galaxies colliding) to the seemingly humdrum (why air conditioners are bad for the environment), and she seems to have unending curiosity and enthusiasm for all of it ... Like any physics book, there are areas that are somewhat confusing...But overall, the clarity was refreshing ... It is also refreshing, the state of the world being what it is right now, to read about something larger ... If you need a moment to be distracted from everyday life and journey to the deep cosmic future, I highly recommend The End of Everything.
These varying apocalyptic endings sound terrifying, but Mack tackles them with humor and authority. She uses scientific jargon that could be straight out of a science fiction movie, such as 'particle horizon,' 'cosmic inflation' and 'dark matter,' and defines these phrases in layman’s terms for those of us who are more physics-challenged. She also makes complicated theories more accessible by comparing them to relatable scenarios ... Ultimately, Mack takes an otherworldly subject—the death of the universe—and brings it down to earth. She explains her fascination with the topic, which goes back to her childhood, and even references Star Trek episodes to imbue heavy topics and terminology with understanding and connectivity. As a result, The End of Everything will delight both casual science readers and those looking for more in-depth analysis of theoretical astrophysics.
... smart, surprisingly funny ... an accessible and engaging work of pop science, one that finds a way to strike a balance between the intricate physics and mathematics that go into these explorations and an easy narrative tonality that allows even those without PhDs to wrap their heads around these big-by-definition ideas. Consider this a crash course in cosmic eschatology, a sort of End Of It All 101. It is informative and entertaining in the way that only the very best science writing can be ... Mack is so unwaveringly passionate about her subject that the reader can’t help but be pulled in by the sheer gravity of her enthusiasm ... All of this is elevated by the fact that Mack is genuinely funny – even her groaners (of which there are a few) will elicit a chuckle, reluctant though it might be. She has found ways to make room for that humor even as she’s offering up real insight into complicated physical and mathematical phenomena, doing so in such a way as to ensure that it all fits together without ever feeling forced. Cosmology and astrophysics, yes, but also stuff like quantum mechanics and string theory and a whole assortment of other areas of high-level thought. Anyone who has ever read this kind of mainstream academic nonfiction knows just how hard that is to pull off, yet Mack manages it with seeming ease ... science writing for the masses in the best possible way, a book that simplifies some staggeringly complex ideas without ever condescending to its audience. Its casual tone and charming good humor allow us to fully engage with the intricacies – both large and small – of this fascinating subject.
... a fascinating tour of the cosmic forces—quantum vacuums, dark matter, dark energy, entropy, and gravitation among them—that may conspire to end the universe. Excelling at providing just enough scientific detail, Mack sets the scene with an exceptionally lucid history of the universe from the big bang to the present ... Despite the seemingly frightening topic, Mack’s endlessly entertaining survey is infused with a palpable love of her subject, and will transmit to readers the same joy she finds in exploring the wide and fascinating universe.
Mack uses humor, metaphor, and personal experience to offset her often technical descriptions, creating a delightfully unsettling narrative that explains big ideas in modern physics and cosmology through the lens of end times ... accessible yet precise language ... Drawing on the wisdom of a variety of pioneering physicists, the author delivers a sleek narrative of discovery ... Mack's pleasing writing style makes speculating about the death of the universe unexpectedly entertaining.