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How the Universe Works - The End of Space and Time - Space Discovery Documentary

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Streamed live on Mar 5, 2019

Infinity makes physicists uncomfortable. This makes sense if you think about one of the most fundamental “laws” of physics: the second law of thermodynamics, which states that in a closed system, the total entropy of a system will always increase.

Thermodynamics is what is called a stochastic theory, and as such gets into all kinds of details about state configurations and potential distributions, but at its core, the second law can be thought of as a way of saying that over time, other forms of energy get converted into heat (which is a form of light) and dissipates.

There are always local violations of this law — a star survives because hydrogen fusion produces more energy than it consumes, and life is arguably an example where order exists contrary to the general disorder of the universe, but each of these are snapshots. Stars, for instance, go into a red giant phase because enough helium (which needs more energy to fuse) has gathered to make helium fusion possible, which releases considerably more energy.

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