02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Realization That the Universe May End

In a bravura passage, Darwin also considers Herschel’s disturbing suggestion that the entire cosmos may eventually wither back into ‘one dark centre’. This implies that the universe not only had a beginning, but will have a physically destructive end, a ‘Big Crunch’. There are hints here too of Milton’s vision of the falling rebel angels dropping out of the firmament in Book I of Herschel’s favourite, Paradise Lost. This itself had possible political overtones for a reader in th...
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The historical realization that the Universe might die in a "crunch" was followed by the idea that it might rise again like a phoenix.