Categorically Not! – Apocalypse!

By cjohnson | September 13, 2006 5:47 pm

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 why—contrary to biblical prophecy—the world refuses to end on time. His most recent book—A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization—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] 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.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Arts, Entertainment, Science
  • Anshul

    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.

    Do we know that for sure? I mean of course the world will, so to say, end when the sun becomes a red giant but will it be by swallowing of the earth? Wont the loss of mass increase earth’s orbit? I remember reading somewhere that earth might just escape being engulfed by the sun due to its increased orbit.

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  • trident

    Apocalypse means uncovering. It will happen when the true nature of humanity is revealed and the relationship between perception and the origin of the material world is satifactorily resolved (by scientific means of course).

    What physical side-effects this might have are difficult to predict. It could induce a comet to crash into the Earth for example. Roger Penrose believes human consciousness is due to mysterious properties of gravitation (curvature in space-time and all that) thus an altered colective consciousness could trigger gravitational waves.
    Or if it is due to an overlap of alternative universes in the helical structures of DNA we could all have visions of Eternity or float into space as the gravity of Earth fails.


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