The Sciences

Categorically Not! - Apocalypse!

Cosmic VarianceBy cjohnsonSep 13, 2006 9:47 PM

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The next Categorically Not! is Sunday 24th September. You may recall my post on the Categorically Not! series of events held at the Santa Monica Art Studios. They're fantastic, and I strongly encourage you to come to them. Have a look at the last two descriptions here and here, and the description of the recent special one on Uncertainty that was held at the USC campus is here. Here is K.C. Cole's teaser:

The End is near! Or is it? It's an irresistible question, one that has preoccupied science, religion and art for centuries. Of course, we know the world will end sometime within the next 5 billion years, when the sun is expected to puff up into a massive red giant star and swallow the Earth whole. But the end of our familiar human world will come far sooner. Will the cause be god's wrath? A stray meteor? Or will we bring on the end ourselves through human arrogance and foolishness? Our September 24th Categorically Not! will not answer these questions, but will explore them through the lenses of cosmology, the Book of Revelation, and the novelistic imagination. Marc Kamionkowski, a cosmologist at Caltech, usually thinks about the birth of the Universe, but this evening will speculate about how it may end. The particulars of its demise will depend on such exotica as dark matter, vacuum energy, and some of the most elusive particles known (and unknown). Jonathan Kirsch, author of six books on the history of religion and the workings of the religious imagination, will explain whyâ€"contrary to biblical prophecyâ€"the world refuses to end on time. His most recent bookâ€"A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilizationâ€"delves into the history of the book of Revelation and how it has been used and abused over the last twenty centuries. The writer Carolyn See, whose dad left a couple of weeks after the first atom bomb was dropped, has always confused personal and public Armageddons. The end is (always) nigh, and how do we live with that? In Golden Days and in her newest novel, There Will Never Be Another You, she addresses the question.

As usual, it is held at the Santa Monica Art Studios, come at 6:00pm for drinks, cookies and a look around the space, and there's a 6:30 start, and we'll ask for a small donation. Please contact Sherry Frumkin to tell us if you're coming. Call 310-397-7449 or email sherry [at] santamonicaartstudios.com. If you don't get around to letting us know, do come anyway! For more information, visit the Categorically Not! website. Hope to see some of you there! I hope to report on it on Asymptotia after the event, and you can come and chat about it in the comment thread of the post I do about it. -cvj

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