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How It Ends: From You to the Universe Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 19, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 19, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A scientific view of the apocalypse unfolds in this tour of terminations. An astronomer by trade, the author eventually addresses how the universe will chill down, but first he explains how you will chill down. Completing his discussion of death with a biological description of the inevitable, Impey tarries with commiserative commentary about its awful finality and with the ideas of technofuturists (or fantasists) for delaying or stopping the aging process. Also in peril of extinction is the entire human species, and Impey ambles through the ways that could happen (the march of natural selection; a close-by supernova explosion) before he proceeds to demolish hope in the endurance of terra firma. Because the sun’s bloat into a red giant star guarantees the earth’s demise, can’t humanity move its home to clement cosmic climes or take up residence on another planet? Theoretically possible, Impey replies, but ultimately futile in an eternally expanding universe in which every particle is fated to decay. Delivering bad news with a bemused touch, Impey entertains as he informs about the facts of life and death. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

A scientific view of the apocalypse unfolds in this tour of terminations. . . . Impey entertains as he informs about the facts of life and death. (Booklist)

Eminently readable. . . . Impey injects humor throughout. (Library Journal) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393069850
  • ASIN: B007SRW5CO
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,699,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor and Deputy Head of the Department, in charge of all academic programs. His research interests are observational cosmology, gravitational lensing, and the evolution and structure of galaxies. He has 170 refereed publications and 65 conference proceedings, and his work has been supported by $20 million in grants from NASA and the NSF. As a professor, he has won eleven teaching awards, and he has been heavily involved in curriculum and instructional technology development. Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society. He has also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and the Carnegie Council on Teaching's Arizona Professor of the Year. He was a co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group for the Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Impey has written over thirty popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology and co-authored two introductory textbooks. His first popular book "The Living Cosmos," was published in 2007 by Random House. His second and third, called "How It Ends" and "How it Began," both on the subject of cosmology" were published in 2010 and 2012 by Norton. His most recent popular book in 2013 covering iconic NASA missions is called "Dreams of Other Worlds" and a book will be released in 2014 on his work teaching cosmology to Buddhist monks in India called "Humble Before the Void." He recently published his first novel on Amazon Kindle, called "Shadow World."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wondered how life will end?

Chris Impey has and this book provides some interesting answers and reflection.

If you're an American or a citizen of another developed nation, your life will probably end as a result of cancer or heart disease. But don't be expecting to make it to 100 or more unless that's in your family history.

From the individual, Impey glides gently into our future as a species. Here is very helpfully guided by some great insight including from J. Richard Gott. Though Gott is a physicist, he's also a great thinker and in his book Time Travel in Einstein's Universe Gott came up with what he called the Copernican principle which says that if we're seeing something, odds are we're not in a very privileged position.

To be more clear, the Copernican principle posits that if we want to predict the future duration of a thing we assume that we are either observing that thing 2.5 percent into its life or more than 2.5 percent before it's demise. In this way, Gott predicts humanity will last at least another five thousand years and maybe as many as another 11 million years.

Of course, our fate is bound up with that of our planet and our biosphere. Here Impey draws on great insight from the likes of Peter Ward whose 2000 book Rare Earth shocked the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Community by suggesting that Earth, and intelligent life along with it, might not just be rare but maybe even close to one of a kind. In terms of the future, what that means is that all the things that frustrate the emergence of life elsewhere might contribute to the likelihood of its demise here.
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Format: Hardcover
Impey's book is full of, almost too much, information. I have read a great deal of popular cosmology, but have never encountered such a mass of ideas, prognoses, and (sometmes difficult) concepts.

It has to be said that focussed mental effort is needed to comprehend Impey, but also that the book is perhaps a uniquely informative account for non-experts of the state and history of our universe. Anyone who is (a) smart and (b) intellectually curious should certainly attempt it.

There is surely no more accessible and authoritative account for the lay person of how the universe came to be what it is. Some people may of course prefer the simpler story in Genesis.

INVICTUS
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great read, from the incredible prose woven by Impey, to the dramatic scale of endings. Impey brings together theories and studies from multiple disciplines to tell the story of endings. Loved it.
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Format: Paperback
Hard to believe a book about extinctions -- ours, the world's, the universe--could be such a page-turner! Impey is a terrific writer and approaches the topic of 'ending' with both sobriety and humor.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It's rather scary to think that everything we understand in reality will some day end. Chris Impey demonstrates how everything in the universe will eventually wind itself down and end with an intense examination of everything that matters. He essentially proposes that everything is born, grows to maturity, withers and dies. Everything from living things to inanimate objects, like space rocks, planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies, eventually pass away. In effect, the whole shebang will end.

Ironically, Chris Impey's How It Ends is really a quest to discover where we are going. Impey does this consistently by exploring the lives of larger structures such as the Fate of species, Beyond Natural Selection, The Web of Life, Threats to the Biosphere, Living in the Solar System, the Sun's Demise, Our Galactic Habitat and finally, How the Universe Ends.

We are immediately shaken by the reality that Impey bestows through his work. Yet, our eyes are opened to the vague concerns we all foster in the back of our minds. Of course, the amount of time involved for nature to carry out her demise is daunting to comprehend. But scientists are grappling with ever more unsettling ideas than things phasing out. Impey concludes that even though life may seem distressing, it's still great to know that we are alive.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book during a travel through Europe. I began to read it in London and finished it in Rome, a rainy day but -fortunately- not the last one. As Steve Reina concludes in a previous review, Chris Impey is a very good teacher and as a very good one he is not emphatic but persuasive and extremely inspirer.
What you get here is a perspective of our lives in relation with a life which is bigger, very much bigger than ours. Thus, the origin and the end of the universe is linked with our human existence so that you can experience both the tension and the extension of the rope. Therefore if everything takes part of the same source that vivificates the whole universe, then -anyway- everything is living and dying at different rates and without exceptions.
So as long as you leave behind the statistics in the first chapters about how we die today you are invited in the followings to see what is going to happen with our sun, our solar system, our galaxy and -last but not least- our universe.
In this particular moment you realize that this book was not a matter of comfort or solace, or a guide to a better living or a revelation about how to face the death penalty we all carry on our backs. It was not about that, it was about a possibility of looking the whole thing as a show. You are invited to see the big show of the very big ending, comfortably seated in London, Paris, Rome or wherever, before the telephone begin to ring or your kids begin to cry.
If you take a look at the table of contents you would say, what? "Beyond natural selection, The sun's demise, Aging of the Milky Way, How the universe ends..." among others.
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