The Science of How the Universe Will End, in a Poetic Animation
The lyrical symmetry of how the cosmos was born, how it will die, and what to make of the mystery in between.
By Maria Popova
“Death,” wrote Rilke in a beautiful 1923 letter, “is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” The beloved poet may well have been a secret astrophysicist, for his immortal words contain the poetics of the universe’s birth, its eventual death, and the enchanting mystery of the cosmic blink between the two.
Lest we forget, “thinking about death clarifies your life” — what is true on the scale of the personal seems at least as true on the scale of the cosmic.
Complement with Carl Sagan on how stars are born, live, and die, then see more excellent TED Ed animated primers on what makes a hero, how you know you exist, why playing music benefits your brain more than any other activity, how melancholy enhances creativity, why bees build perfect hexagons, and Plato’s parable for the nature of reality.
Published July 16, 2015