Is the world going to end in next 3.7 bn years?

Is the world going to end in next 3.7 bn years? Washington: The universe and everything in it could end in less than 3.7 billion years from now, a new study has claimed.

The universe, began in a Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, has been expanding at an ever accelerating rate ever since and according to standard cosmology models it is most likely to expand forever.

But, a team of physicists led by Raphael Bousso from the University of California, Berkeley, claimed that their calculations showed the universe would end most probably in the next 3.7 billion years, the Discovery News reported.

According to the team, there's a "measure problem" in the cosmological theory of eternal inflation -- the quantum cosmological model where inflationary bubbles can appear out of nothing.

Some of these bubbles, each being a universe, expand and go on forever while others collapse and disappear again. They pop in and out of existence like bubbles in boiling water, said the scientists.

In an eternally inflating universe, they said, every event that is possible will eventually occur -- not just once, but an infinite number of times. This makes predicting when each event will occur impossible, such as the probability that a universe like ours exists.

"If infinitely many observers throughout the universe win the lottery, on what grounds can one still claim that winning the lottery is unlikely?" they wrote in blog

Bousso's and his team have been trying to determine the number of bubbles that exist at any given time and the number of 'observers' in each bubble to come up with the relative frequency of observers that can live in one universe compared to the relative frequency of observers who can live in another universe.

But the "measure problem" makes calculating this value impossible. The only way to avoid this conundrum is to introduce a cut-off point, which then helps make sense again, they said.

By introducing this cut-off, they reached a conclusion that there is "a 50-50 chance of the universe ending in the next 3.7 billion years."

However, Charles Lineweaver from the Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory criticised Bousso's theory, saying the team is simply imposing a catastrophe for statistical reasons.

The need for a better statistical solution has led the researchers to a false conclusion about the end of the universe, Lineweaver said.

He said: "Because the problem won't go away in their calculations, they conclude the universe must really end.

"Bousso's average life of a universe is a set time, only because that's what happens when you introduce a cut off point to get a reasonable probability. It's a statistical technique being taken probably too seriously."