Get ready now. Everything ends eventually, and life as we know it must sooner or later wind down. Physicist Paul Halpern pursues eschatology from the merely global to the truly universal in Countdown to Apocalypse: A Scientific Exploration of the End of the World
. In this surprisingly lively, engaging book, Halpern examines the history of the end of the world (including the first wave of millennialism in the 10th century), potential doomsdays from nuclear war to global warming, and finally the inevitable collapse or dispersal of the universe itself. His explanations of the relevant physics are sparkling. Intriguingly, he is equally conversant in the important psychological factors motivating our interest and occasional strange behavior regarding the end. Tales of Heaven's Gate and Jonestown believers, and others more fortunate but no less deluded, pepper the all-too-real depictions of asteroid collisions, ozone holes, and the death of our sun. While it would be easy to wallow in despair, Halpern's consistently charming prose and optimistic turns keep the reader going eagerly from one awful scenario to the next. Sure, the end is near, but with a bit of luck and foresight, we should still have millions of years left to worry about it. --Rob Lightner
About the Author
Paul Halpern is Professor of Physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and the author of many trade science books, including The Cyclical Serpent, Countdown to the Apocalypse, and The Pursuit of Destiny. He lives in Philadelphia.