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Cosmologist Alex Vilenkin gave a lecture at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan earlier this year called “The Universe and Beyond.” I attended the talk, along with a few of my friends, and we all had the same reaction afterwards: “That was awesome! I didn’t understand a thing.” I understood even less of the lecture than the rest of my friends, which pretty much makes me the poster child for regression toward the mean, because Alex Vilenkin is my father.

There was one section of his talk that particularly intrigued me and that I regretted not understanding even more than the rest. It also happens to be the subject that has the biggest potential to harsh all of our eternal mellows: How will the universe end? So I asked my dad if he wouldn’t mind doing a Q&A with me regarding the end to end all ends, you know, kind of an End of the Universe for Dummies. Mostly because I am his daughter, he decided to oblige.

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