What is Heat Death of the universe? And Isaac Asimov's The Last Question

It might be better to think of the so called heat death of the universe as "entropy death" or "equilibrium death" rather than heat death. All cold spots and hot spots in the universe will become uniform (no more macroscopic cold or hot spots). Everything will be in equilibrium (except for the fact that many different kinds of particles may exist, i.e. the periodic table of elements.. so it is not completely uniform!).

"Heat death" as a phrase, is confusing because it implies everything will be hot, but what are you comparing hot to? Everything will be uniform temperature, so it is neither cold nor hot, it is just uniform.

Can we reverse the heat death of the universe? An optimist will say "possibly".. whereas a pessimist will say "the second law of thermodynamics will not be broken, therefore it is not possible".

When the universe reaches equilibrium and there is no more hot or cold spots left, only one thing can happen: equilibrium can fluctuate into temporary nonequilibrium... due to tiny violations of the second law (the second law is statistical). These tiny violations will not be enough to produce life or anything interesting, they will be similar to random blips of a gas where sometimes occasionally a gas will be hotter in one spot than another, and colder in another spot - but it is so microscopic that it is virtually irrelevant. It will continue to go back to equilibrium right after it temporarily violates the second law for a nano second.

The only way to stop heat death of the universe is to invent technology as proposed in "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.. How can entropy be reversed? It is unlikely this technology is even possible, but it might be possible.

As an optimist one has to consider how much organized information there is on the internet: is this information more organized than the sunlight that comes down (photons) that power earth? As earth is an open system, the only way for entropy to decrease on earth is for sunlight to turn into other forms of information... If there is any information available on earth on how to break the second law and this violation actually succeeds (unlikely) then evolution has naturally violated the second law by using some machine to cool the universe without giving off heat. Again very unlikely, but possible.

Circular reasoning like "the second law is true therefore it is not possible" is not how science works. If the second law is not falsifiable then it isn't science. However breaking the second law is like trying to find a loophole in an extremely secure encryption... it's difficult, if not virtually impossible.

Microscopic violations of the second law occur all the time, but macroscopic ones are considered impossible. Can the large organized internet or artificial intelligence, find a way to fight entropy and slow it down for a long long time, or even reverse it and decrease entropy (violation)... Slowing entropy down is not a problem (the internet (ordered database) and life is low entropy, slowing down total entropy of universe), but decreasing entropy into complete reversal is a deep violation of the 2nd law.

If quantum mechanics had hidden variables and the random number generator behind QM was encrypted and cracked, we may be able to predict a system and violate the second law. It is unlikely we would crack the encryption algorithm behind the random number generator of the universe (if there even is one). This strangely sounds like and is related to The Simulation Argument (see also Isaac Asimov Debate and fastfoward to comments from James Gates, although I wonder if he is connecting dots where dots should not be connected, and pulling adinkras out of a hat to make it seem like they mean something, when they don't)

Interestingly, the thought experiments on olsonb.com and falsifiable predictions in the PDF files and brownian motion interference designs, don't seem to require cracking of the encryption behind random number generators.. "Container information theory" seems to be a novel area of research. How much information do we actually have when it comes to brownian motion, more than we think? I propose that it's not super random and only semi random, since particles don't randomly teleport anywhere, they are limited to a constricted movements (not super constricted, but still constricted).

Isaac Asimov had the guts to propose in his story "The Last Question" that a computer might be able to figure out how to reverse entropy... But it was science fiction. Some science fiction becomes true later on.. but maybe not this one? Pessimist or optimist?

If second law violations are not possible to stop the heat death of the universe, then one other solution is to steal energy from the multiverse or another uninteresting universe and use it as energy to decrease the entropy of our universe (make the universe an open system, or find out that the universe can be an open system somehow by stealing energy from elsewhere outside of our universe). This is because you can decrease entropy by adding energy to the system. Another option is for us to continually transport ourselves to other universes that are not close to their heat death. This is not treating the disease though, it's just running away from the problem. To really treat the disease one would have to break the second law, which is not likely possible, but... possible.

© 2012-15 Larry Olson http://olsonb.com    Email: mail at olsonb dot com