You may, possibly, have heard rumors that, according to the Mayan—or perhaps the Egyptian or Babylonian—calendar, the world was to have ended a couple of years ago. You may also have concluded that these claims, predictions, or whatever-you-want-to-call-them were probably false. After all, the supply of beer hasn’t given out, interests rates have stayed low, and the internet is still as full of lies as ever.
So it may come as a surprise to you (as it did to us) that astrophysicists at the University of Upper Bohemia and the University of Northern East Lambeth have discovered that the world actually did end. Two Tuesdays ago, at exactly noon (UTC).
Sara Herrmann of Northern East Lambeth, who led the team which made these discoveries, explains how the findings came about:
When we began observations three nights ago, we weren’t exactly looking for evidence that the end of the world had occurred. However, while observing gamma-ray activity, we happened to notice that, whenever we dropped a doughnut, it simply disappeared. I don’t mean that somebody ate it: I mean that the doughnut ceased to exist before we had a chance to eat it. This, you may be sure, was pretty surprising, and it took us several days to figure out a possible cause. Finally, with the aid of some theoretical physicists, we calculated that M-theory could explain the phenomenon we had observed, but only if the universe had ended a few days before. While this conclusion is surprising, it seems to be the only valid way to account for the facts.
So far, the scientific community has received this report with a certain amount of skepticism. Timothy A. Ezell, Nuclear Physicist at the State University of Northern South Dakota, states that:
The sheer improbability of the universe having already ended makes it much more likely that everyone involved in observations that night was suffering the effects of chemically induced hallucinations. I mean, if the world has ended, what are we still doing here arguing about it?
Herrmann, however, categorically denies the possibility of such a shared hallucination. “Haters gonna hate,” she says. “I realize that our conclusions are surprising, but new science is always a surprise. After all, everyone was shocked when Columbus didn’t fall off the edge of the world.”
So far, other scientists have failed to confirm the observations of Herrmann et al.
“Artist’s impression of supernova 1993J,” by NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI), CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons