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Scientists Discuss Chance of Rebirth At End of Universe

By Edward Josephson

"We see nothing that persists from everlasting to everlasting," Philip Morrison, professor of physics at MIT, said last night in a talk on the end of the universe sponsored by the Cambridge Forum.

Oceans, continents, and the chemical elements are all impermanent; and the universe itself will expand indefinitely as its suns fade into darkness, Morrison said.

George B. Field, Paine Professor of Practical Astronomy, who also spoke at the forum, said he believed the universe might not expand forever, but might begin to fall in on itself and contract to the size of an electron.

When asked whether the concept of the end of the universe could be understood intuitively, Field said "the theory is logically absurd," adding that even mathematics cannot yet account satisfactorily for the beginning and end of time.

Field said scientists put on "a special kind of glasses" which screen out metaphysical questions and only let through experimental data.

"There is no real connection between ethics and cosmology," Morrison added. Science leaves room for philosophy and even religion, but concerns itself only with data, he said.

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