How to destroy The Universe: Part 1

I don’t have a part 2 ready yet; it’s just so that at some point down the road I can reuse the title and not feel shame for my lack of creativity 🙂

How can we use science and video games to destroy the Universe? Simple.. we just need that big mouth of yours! 😛

You can destroy the universe if you’re the Dovahkiin. That voice of his, which isn’t as fantastic as Fred Kennedy’s dreamy voice, is all you’d need to destroy the world.. and the Universe.. all within a few microseconds. However, first we need a history lesson. Back in a different article of awesomeness called The Biggest Boom we learned about pressure waves, explosive force, and supernovae. Well, that’s a form of energy, and energy is what your voice is producing. A pressure wave is how we hear things. This is the reason why “no one can hear you scream in space” because there’s no pressure wave travelling to beat the eardrum which we is how we hear. If you’re out in space without a space helmet however, you have other things to worry about.. but you’ll probably be screaming anyway 😛

So, what is it about shouting that causes damage? Well, like any pressure wave, be it from a shout, or an explosion, when it hits something, the energy is either bounced off (an echo) or it tears it apart and goes through it (an explosive wave). That’s a lot of energy required to destroy a building per se, but could you shout loud enough to destroy a wall? No. The problem is that you’re made of gooey bits that don’t like being put through explosive waves. If a bomb went off, and the initial fire didn’t make you have a really bad day, then the wave expanding outwards at the speed of sound (~340 metres per second at sea level) will permeate your skin, and make jello of your internal organs, and then go out the back side. On the outside, you’ll look like nothing happened, but on the inside, it looks like you were put in a comically oversized paint can shaker for a few hours. Back in World War 2, there were casualties caused from bombing runs where doctors wouldn’t even see a drop of blood on the corpses, and they had no idea how they died. Later, after autopsy, it was found out that that was the reason as to what happened. This is also why most weapons are detonated above ground level, so the pressure wave can clear out debris and cause substantially more damage. Physics isn’t always awesome unfortunately 🙁

So, back on topic, you’re Dovahkiin now suddenly.. which is awesome.. and you shout: Fus Ro Dah. What’s the first thing that happens? Well, inside your body where the vocal cords are, are shred instantly. The resulting pressure wave travels outwards in a spherical pattern, hitting your heart and lungs, collapsing them. You have an instant heart attack and can’t gasp for air. Sorry, you’re dead before your target even hears the Dah. Oh, wait, you’re invincible, right? Well, the pressure wave as it leaves your mouth is so great that a trail of fire and plasma follows behind it. It’s moving so fast, faster than the speed of sound, that the vacuum forming behind each individual wave, is also causing a larger wave to radiate off of it. This is causing substantial damage to things like the ground you’re standing on, and the air around you. It’s being moved out of the way so fast that the air itself is separating. Nitrogen is being forcibly flowed in where oxygen is being displaced out. So now you’re suffocating things within 340 metres. As soon as that pressure wave hits the person you’re shouting at, they will go flying (hey, like what happens in Skyrim!). You don’t care about that though, you started reading this article because you’re an evil mastermind in a secret volcano lair that wants to destroy the Universe.. right? Right!

Sound is measured in decibels, named after our boy Alexander Graham Bell. To put things into perspective, a mosquito buzzing about a metre away from your ear is about zero decibels. A normal conversation between two people outside is about 65 decibels. That idiot with a stupidly loud stereo booming down the street is about 100 decibels. A noise at 145 decibels can vibrate the fluid in your eye socket, 165 will cause your ears to rupture, and anything beyond 195 is no longer a sound wave, but a pressure wave (Fus. Ro. Dah.). The volcano Krakatoa erupted in 1883 at 181 decibels, and anyone within 25km ruptured their ear drums. It was said to be heard over 3000 km away! With those fun facts in mind, know that in order to destroy the entire universe, we’re going to have get louder.. much louder.

The energy required to create a shockwave large enough to engulf the entire universe (and we’re talking about beyond the observable universe bit here people..), is a measly 10 watts. With 98 more zeros tacked on to the end. I’m not about to tap that out on this keyboard here. That energy roughly converted is about 1100 decibels. That’s 478 Tsar Bomba‘s detonated at the same time, within 1/10th of a second delay between the first and last bomb. Oh I forgot.. there’s also 77 additional zeros at the end of that number (I’ll stop this soon lol).

NASA says that the total amount of energy in the entire Universe that we know about right now is 4 x 10^69 Joules of energy, and our shout just caused 1 x 10^97 Joules. That’s more than all of the energy in the Universe, so in doing that, you’d create a black hole. That black hole would be 165,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000km big. That’s 1.747 x 10^37 light years across. The observable universe is 93 billion light years across, our black hole is over 5 times the size of the observable universe!

Let’s further put this into perspective. The sun is 1,391,000,000 km in diameter (on average)., and if it collapsed into a black hole, it would only be about 3km in diameter. That’s a reduction of 4.64 x 10^8 reduction!

Jeff Wilton

Jeff is the founder and owner of Everyday Science Stuff. ESS is a one man operation, with the core belief that all education should be served without crippling debt tuition, without revenue generating ads and without any restrictions of any kind such as paywalls, forced login and account creations, geographical restrictions, and so on.

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18 Responses

  1. vladislav says:

    wow ! it was an exciting article , thx

  2. Kushal Agrawal says:

    Very interesting indeed.

  3. Will says:

    Do you understand the physics you’re talking about? How does the universe collapse to form a black hole larger than itself? It doesn’t. How do you produce more energy than is available to the universe in the form of mass? You don’t.

    • Jeff Wilton says:

      I’m all for being corrected, because we’re all humans and humans make mistakes, however if you’re going to call someone out on being wrong, and on top of that, insult their intelligence, then you need to provide citations for the corrections to be made, otherwise you’re just as wrong as you claim I am. However, a quick google of “1100 decibels” shows me thousands of results saying I’m right, one of which is NASA, and another is CERN, two of the highest authorities in science on and off Earth.

      If you’re smarter than NASA and CERN, then by all means, prove it. I’ll even help you submit it for peer review, on my dollar, give you 100% credit for your discovery, because you’re probably up for a Nobel prize very soon!

      • Melted butter says:

        These assumptions are made in hypothetical science as there can not be more energy than what’s in the universe so we could not use more than what is here. However if you play with the number and change the physics ever so slightly then yeah it could work but not here ever as energy is never created or destroyed this scenario is all play no real action. Just an FYI NASA and CERN play with hypothetical situations all the time bud.

        • Jeff Wilton says:

          Your first clue about this paper being a fun paper and not a serious paper should’ve been the title, and references to a video game where the protagonist uses his voice to summon dragons and breathe fire.

    • Shawn says:

      You’re not understand the principles at work in the article, which are purely theoretical. You don’t create more energy than there is in the universe because you can’t, but you can theorize and experiment with the idea.

      The article here states that -if you could create such a powerful pressure wave, it would destroy the universe-. That is to say that the pressure wave would be powerful enough to collapse matter down to such a scale that it would fall within the Shwarzwild radius; this also includes the idea that, for a black hole, energy and mass are interchangeable during its interaction. Consequently, the quantity of energy produced by a 1,100 dB sound carries such energy that a black hole would form instantly and encompass the universe due to the sheer power present.

      The universe doesn’t collapse as you’re interpreting it. More or less, the energy itself produces such a shockwave that the energy wave itself, due to the explosion, collapses. As it contains such an incredible amount of energy, the resulting black hole, as a result of the collapse, would reach the given size as given by the amount of energy (or information) it has consumed, which is quite a lot. As the energy is in excess of the quantity of energy present in the entire universe, you can imagine it would be quite unreasonably large (mathematically, however, the size would be quite reasonable). Due to the creation of such a massive black hole, it would of course expand outward at the speed of light due to the reaction which produces black holes, and would then begin devouring the universe one bit after another until it contained the mass of the universe and the rest of the energy’s mass. This is why it’s so large.

      For perspective, generally black holes are formed from explosions or implosions in the first place, so this theory is not at all even slightly unreasonable. It seems that your lack of proper understanding of physics is the culprit for the misunderstanding.

  4. Nate says:

    Blowing up the Universe.

    Step 1: obtain more energy than is available in said universe

  5. Kevin Reagan says:

    If the observable universe is 93 billion (93 x 10^9 or 9.3 x 10^10) light years across, and this theoretical (albeit theoretically impossible, due to it requiring more energy than exists in the entire universe) black hole would be 1.75 x 10^37 light years across, and spherical, to boot… where did the comparison arise that it’s “more than 5 times the size of the observable universe?”

    Yeah, it’s more than 5 times the size… it’s almost an octillion the size of the universe. It’s 1.88 x 10^26 times the size of the universe.

    Right? Am I missing something here?

    • Jeff Wilton says:

      Holy smokes, it seems I forgot to reply to your comment from way back when.. My apologies 🙁

      Remember that the Universe is infinite, so placing a “size” on it is not possible as a you can’t measure infinity. The observable universe is measurable, at closest estimate being about 93 billion light-years. The theoretical (and impossible) black hole would be over five times the size of our current estimate of the observable universe, not the entire universe itself.

  6. Asif says:

    We can create Tsar bombs. 478 is not impossible, it’ll be fun.

    • Aud says:

      478. With 77 zeros.
      47,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Tsar Bombas.

      Bit less possible 😛

  7. Adam Merrill says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but I thought the OBSERVABLE universe was 26 billion light years across. The universe came to be roughly 13 billion years ago, right? Wouldn’t that mean we can only see 13 billion light years in any direction, making the total size 26?

    • Jeff Wilton says:

      No sir.

      An excerpt from the Wikipedia page on The Observable Universe states:

      The best estimate of the age of the universe as of 2013 is 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years.[3] Due to the expansion of the universe humans are observing objects that were originally much closer but are now considerably farther away (as defined in terms of cosmological proper distance, which is equal to the comoving distance at the present time) than a static 13.8 billion light-years distance.[4] The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at about 28 billion parsecs (93 billion light-years),[5] putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47 billion light-years away.[6][7]

      I plan to write up a post on this in a few weeks, as it’s a common question that needs further explaining, so stay tuned 🙂

      • Shawn says:

        To reiterate, we can observe objects which are within the distance proposed by the age of the universe relative to our astrological location. This includes the velocity and trajectory of said objects (as well as our own), as well as their age at the time of observation; using that information, it is possible to determine the current position of those objects without direct observation with the assistance of mathematics. The results of these equations reveal a much larger universe than standard observation can. That’s my understanding of what you’ve said, which makes perfect sense.

  8. Raymond H. says:

    Aren’t hypothetical theories about destroying the universe( brought apon by a physics breaking game) the greatest. Especially when people don’t understand its theory not a fact, and a logical one at that. 😀

  9. How can we estimate the energy ammount at disposal in our universe? What is taken on account?

    Sorry for the poor english.

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