Yea!!! now we have data for both sides of the argument and the horrid science headline writing can commence. I’ll keep an eye out and see if I find good stuff on the explanation for this (note: the last set of equations explained a different fate than “heat death” for the universe).
Personally, I’m of the constantly recycling itself version of reality, with the sidenote that it’s not actually as big as we (currently) think it is (note: there’s a full chapter on this in my book, which I’m working on again. These discussions are difficult to have in short bursts as the very notions of “size” and “time” when talking about “everything” deserves their own treatment). This second point had some good evidence show up recently as more evidence is showing that some of the many billions and billions of stars in the sky are actually the same stars, just at very different points in time (lights tend to “weave” a bit when travelling for billions of light years).
UPDATE: Note: my initial impression of the thrust of the research was a bit off. This video covers it much better than the article.
The interesting part is near the end, where he says the ways they’ve modified relativity theory and the result sets limits on the size of fundamental particles *and is mathematically related to* the size and “length (time)” of the universe.
With their equation, if you have an infinitely large and long universe (i.e. open) then it forces the fundamental particles to be infinitely small.
This doesn’t make sense, as we know them to have some energy value.
The cool part (and he gets excited in the video) is that, when expressed over time, the equation “predicts” a universe that behaves much like ours has, up tot a point (which we are close to) where the curve breaks the other way.
From the way he described the elegance of the equations (well, generating the “corrections”), and the “natural logic” the factors they are using, it seems much more interesting.
One of the things I’ve always been interested in, at least in astrophysics is a concept I call “Big E”, i.e. the total energy in the Universe. What it sounds like is that they are trying to define boundaries (based on observations and mathematical speculation) on what that might be, and still have things work out.