Quantum Physics

23
Oct

Quantum Foam, Virtual Particles and Other Curiosities

Quantum physicists regularly ask you with a straight face to accept what seems to be complete nonsense. Particles are also waves; cats are alive and dead at the same time. But some of the most incredible creatures of the quantum realm get far less attention than Schrödinger’s famous cat. They’re called virtual particles, and they might be the reason the universe exists in the first place. In the pencast below, I’ll explain the basics of virtual particles. Then read on to learn more.

While the Big Bang theory explains how the universe has expanded and cooled since it began, it is quite silent on what “pulled the trigger,” so to speak. We simply don’t know what started the process. How there could be nothing at one moment and an entire baby universe the next?

It turns out that getting something from nothing is just business as usual for virtual particles. The most straightforward way to explain virtual particles is by an example. Consider a particle collision in which one electron hits another and the two scatter. In the classical view, the electric field from one electron interacts with the other and the two feel a repulsive force. However, this approach neglects Einstein’s Nobel Prize realization that light—and, by extension, every electromagnetic field—is quantized. So a quantum treatment of electron scattering needs to include not only the quantum nature of the electrons, but also the quantum nature of the photon. We now treat electron scattering as the two quantized electrons exchanging a quantized photon and, in the process, changing their directions.

So how do virtual particles enter in? Well, you can calculate the properties of the photon that must be emitted to scatter the electrons. Simple energy and momentum conservation considerations tell us what the energy and momentum of the photon must be. However, when you do the calculation, you find that the photon has a mass! Since photons are massless particles, this seems to invalidate the whole idea. It sure sounds like physicists are pulling your leg, just to see how long it will be before somebody is willing to say that the subatomic Emperor has no clothes.

As crazy as this seems, it is true. To see how, we need to invoke another hard-to-swallow axiom of quantum mechanics: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, named after its inventor, Werner Heisenberg. In classical physics, energy and momentum are always conserved. But Heisenberg spotted a loophole in this rule: in the quantum realm, energy and momentum don’t have to be conserved, as long as the non-conservation doesn’t persist for very long. It’s kind of like having a shady accountant. If you audit the books, the amount of money you send him has to agree exactly with the amount of money he uses to pay your bills. But, while he has your funds, he is free to temporarily lend or borrow money so that momentarily he will have the “wrong” amount of money. Further, the larger the amount of money loaned or borrowed, the shorter the period of time it will occur. Similarly, in the quantum realm, energy and momentum can briefly be “wrong,” but the larger discrepancy, the shorter the period of time for which it is allowed.

So in our example of electrons scattered by exchanging photons, the photon can briefly have the “wrong” amount of energy and momentum. Now, it is understandable if you find this a bit hard to take; perhaps an instance of physicists making stuff up to save their theories. And, truth be known, that would be my reaction if there were not an extensive list of experimental measurements that demonstrate that virtual particles exist. In fact, virtual particles play a critical role in most of the experiments performed at large particle physics laboratories like CERN, Fermilab and many other similar facilities.

While I’ve described the idea of a single virtual particle, the idea is actually much richer than that. Virtual particles also exist in association with real particles. For instance, suppose you have an ordinary, garden-variety, electron. A reasonable mental image of the electron would be a little subatomic marble, carrying electrical charge, mass and spin. Anyone with even a cursory understanding of quantum mechanics know that image is a bit dodgy, as electrons exhibit lots of crazy quantum behavior.

The life of an electron is much more complex than that, though. In addition to the usual quantum craziness, where an electron is both a particle and a wave and the position of the electron is generally indeterminate, electrons are surrounded by virtual particles. For instance, an electron can briefly emit a photon. That photon will be reabsorbed quickly in such a way that the energy and momentum conservation laws aren’t violated. But it gets crazier than that. The virtual photon can also turn into a virtual electron/positron pair. Thus, for a brief moment, what was once just an electron becomes an electron plus an additional electron and positron. As long as the virtual particles coalesce before the universe notices, it’s all within the rules. Indeed an electron never exists as a single “bare” electron. Rather, it is always enshrouded in an ephemeral cloud of virtual particles, flickering in and out of existence, and vastly complicating what an electron “really” is.

It might seem far-fetched, but experiments can actually detect the presence of this cloud. That is because every electron acts like a mini-magnet. We can calculate exactly how strong the magnet should be. But when we make very precise measurements of its strength, we find that the measured magnetic moment is about 0.1% off from the simple prediction. It turns out that when you take into account the virtual cloud around the electron, it exactly matches this small 0.1% discrepancy, showing that the cloud is definitely present. Further, the data and prediction exactly match to nine digits!

If your mind isn’t blown, wait…it gets crazier still. Empty space—that is, space that contains nothing—no energy, no charge, no matter, nothing—is filled with a writhing, active population of virtual particles that physicists call “the quantum foam,” with bubbles appearing and popping in wild abandon. At the subatomic level, space is never truly empty.

You’d think that if empty space were filled with a constant roiling boil of quantum activity, you’d see it. The fact that you don’t could give you yet more reason to disbelieve, yet the effects of the quantum foam have been directly observed.

The first observation of the quantum foam came from tiny disturbances in the energy levels of the electron in a hydrogen atom. A second effect was predicted in 1947 by Hendrik Casimir and Dirk Polder. If the quantum foam was real, they reasoned, then the particles should exist everywhere in space. Further, since particles also have a wave nature, there should be waves everywhere. So what they imagined was to have two parallel metal plates, placed near one another. The quantum foam would exist both between the plates and outside of them. But because the plates were placed near one another, only short waves could exist between the plates, while short and long wavelength waves could exist outside them. Because of this imbalance, the excess of waves outside the plates should overpower the smaller number of waves between them, pushing the two plates together. Thirty years after it was first predicted, this effect was observed qualitatively. It was measured accurately in 1997.

Quantum foam also has astrophysical implications. In 1974, Stephen Hawking was thinking about quantum mechanics and black holes. He realized that the quantum foam would exist near the event horizon of the black hole. If an electron/positron virtual pair popped into existence just outside the event horizon, one of the two particles might spiral down and get trapped in the black hole, while the other would escape. As it happens, more energy would escape than be captured, so the energy of the black hole would get slightly smaller. Over the eons, this “Hawking Radiation” would cause the black hole to evaporate until it totally disappeared.

Virtual particles and the quantum foam are one of the craziest of the quantum phenomena. They have no classical analog and they certainly seem like something that physicists dreamed up to save the counterintuitive world of quantum mechanics. Borrowing from the movie “The Maltese Falcon,” quantum mechanics is said to be the dreams that stuff is made of, but virtual particles are no dreams. They have been experimentally observed, and indeed it could be that a quantum fluctuation similar to virtual particles was the thing that pulled the trigger on the creation of the universe itself: a crazy start for a universe where, we’re learning, the bizarre is the norm and dreams are reality.

Go Deeper
Author’s picks for further reading

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics
Join Alice on an illustrated adventure in quantum mechanics. By physicist Robert Gilmore.

Of Particular Significance: Virtual Particles: What are they?
Theoretical physicist Matt Strassler presents an alternative explanation of virtual particles in this blog post.

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
Physicist Richard Feynman’s classic introduction to quantum electrodynamics offers a more advanced description of the field.

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dlincoln

Don Lincoln

    Don Lincoln is a senior experimental particle physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame. He splits his research time between Fermilab and the CERN laboratory, just outside Geneva, Switzerland. He has coauthored more than 500 scientific papers on subjects from microscopic black holes and extra dimensions to the elusive Higgs boson. When Don isn’t doing physics research, he spends his time sharing the fantastic world of science with anyone who will listen. He has given public lectures on three continents and has authored many magazine articles, YouTube videos and columns in the online periodical Fermilab Today. His book "The Quantum Frontier" tells the tale of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s preeminent particle accelerator, while his other book "Understanding the Universe" introduces the armchair scientist to particle physics and cosmology and tells how the two fields are intertwined.

    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unified-Vorticii-Theory-UVT-by-Anton-Kole/102745859787252 Anton Kole

      Interesting reading. Thankyou Don.

      I do believe though, that we often tend to overlook the simpler explanations, and invoke our own spookier ones.

      Virtual particles, and other quantum phenomena, can be simply explained via classical methods. Conceptual, visual models do exist, and can explain these concepts via classical methods. There is even a simple experiment proposed, which is required to be performed in earth orbit (ie: on the space station), which can either validate, or immediately disprove the classical explanation of virtual particles and other quantum phenomena. The full details can be read in the link below. Until then, we won’t really be sure. Just need to patiently wait :)

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unified-Vorticii-Theory-UVT-by-Anton-Kole/102745859787252

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.anderson.758737 John Anderson

      I like this treatment of a very complex topic. I also like the Livescribe tool.

      Virtual particles serve as intermediaries that allow even photon
      collisions. This was observed at SLAC in
      1995, I believe. Although this effect
      would turn our world into a white haze, the effect can even obscure central
      black holes in active galactic nuclei where photon densities and energies are, er, well, um, astronomical.

      I believe it is worth pointing out to readers that each
      Feynman diagram in the first line of the worksheet corresponds to an equation
      whose details involve advanced education in particle physics. (Griffiths’ Introduction to Elementary
      Particles). It’s not just the waving of
      hands.

    • Mark

      “Quantum physicists regularly ask you with a straight face to accept what seems to be complete nonsense”. A bullet travelling at a few hundred metres per second cannot be seen yet we are expected to accept that our eyes and brains can read trillions of microscopic photons of light travelling simultaneously at 300,000 kps; that is what I call complete nonsense.But because you have no other explanation you just accept nonsense as fact.

      There is no such thing as a higgs boson because mass is an illusion. Energy never changes from being mass-less to having mass because there is no such thing as mass.

      What causes objects to appear to have mass is the same as putting two opposing magnets together. To the magnets there is “mass” they cannot penetrate but to your fingers there is no mass.

      Matter is the same, it is just energy on a different “frequency”. Another universe identical to this can occupy the same space as ours, to us it has no mass, to us it does not exist, so the energy itself has no mass, its “mass” is only relative to other energy.

    • antonio carlos motta

      if consider other dimensions beyond of spacetime in 4-dimensions,with dimensions of space up 3 and dimensions of time in “two dimensions”,it is the splitted time curving the space,into of two torsions:left-right handed.then universe;topological geometrics fields has two inverse torsions.

    • Rick Kane

      I’m not nearly as smart as you folks are, but I am smart enough to know that I’ve got something you’re going to want to see.
      Morgan Freeman suggests my evidence may be ‘world changing’. He’s a subscriber to my channel on YouTube and believes in everything I’m doing.

      I know this is a heavy statement, but I have proven the ‘Quantum Theory’ to be a reality. The picture that opens all my YouTube videos is a tunnel of Orbs. Nothing I can say will make you believe me so you’ll want to check it out for yourself.

      This is repeatable evidence that consists of everything man has wondered about through the ages. I even incorporate myself into the scenes where clearly these creatures see me even though I can’t see them. I even have 3 pictures where they are actually DOING something to me. You can also see them casting shadows on me, which I find very fascinating.
      While most of my creatures are of the glowing variety I also have significant sized creatures that look there and touchable, including one that resembles a baby elephant leaping out of the water with another alien creature in its snout. Add a few surfers close by and it’s just a rediculously amazing picture.
      My evidence proves a creature like Bigfoot could exist. In fact, I feel very confident Bigfoot is a ‘Quantum Creature’!

      My first video is called ‘From Creature to Craft’, and something I call ‘L’volution’. If I told you what is was about, you wouldn’t believe me. But, check it out first so you can learn what’s going on.
      While the size of these creatures may be a question you have after viewing this video they are easily answered in following videos. The most recent being Parts 1 and 2 of ‘Every Aspect of the Paranormal World’, which shows you things I never thought I’d show because the last thing I want to do is scare people. ‘The Boardwalk Spy’ is one of them. It’s one of those ‘to-good-to-be-true photos that shows a craft about the size of a small car flying just 12′ above the boardwalk. The shape makes it very obvious it’s purpose is to spy on people.
      How about alien symbols on the bottom of a craft?
      I’ll stop there. If what I’ve said doesn’t drive you to want to check out my work nothing will.

      Thanks for listening.
      Rick

    • tigertony

      This is something you guys may want to take a look at.

      A whole new theory…

      http://truththeory.com/2012/08/22/solar-revolution-trailer/

    • Stephen A. Halkovic III

      Good day Don Lincoln,

      I’m Stephen A. Halkovic III and I left the field of astrophysics in the mid-eighties because of numerous erroneous and irrational theories and unethical scientific methods used by numerous Big Bang Theorists of that day. Last year I thought I would see if anything has changed. A couple of years earlier I was encouraged to get back to speed after reading and hearing a few reports by those that are willing to point out some of the gibberish physicists are coming up with to explain observations that are outside of the scope of the Big Bang Theory. The Virtual Particles are a clear example of how far off base the Big Bang Theory really is. This means that the ‘hawking radiation’ hypothesis is ludicrous.

      The idea of everything begin and ending in an all encompassing explosion breads only destruction and indicates a serious metal and emotional imbalance. Get some help if you believe in the Big Bang Theory! The reality of the virtual particles indicating a spacial reality beyond the idea of wave/particle theories. It confirms that there is an aether and indicates some of its properties. The easiest conception is to think of it as a membrane between this third spatial dimension and the forth spatial dimension.

      The world scientific community is still to inclined towards violence and destruction for me to share any hard fact based theory and math on the subject. I do have a blog page with several blogs outlining some of the ideas of the physics and math. I am not publicizing my blogs, I am encouraging the next generation of scientists to discredit the Big Bang Theory and those who are promoting it with great conviction! My blogs are intended to be insulting towards anyone who thinks the Big Bang Theory has any merit!

      Peace,

      Stephen

      • Anonymous

        Then Stephen you are either a coward/non-scientist or a liar. I call you a coward because if you truly believe you have the answer and it is testable, but do nothing besides sit on your rear and talk about others work, then you do not deserve to call yourself a scientist. Secondly, what a noob you are. You are telling me that you have the information that will win you a noble prize and help direct the course for humanity and our future, yet you do nothing. Smh.

        • Stephen A. Halkovic III

          Good day St0oPID_MoNkEy,

          I think your choose of user name indicates your inability to understand choice in not contributing my ideas in their completed forms. I don’t participate as a professional in the field for the same reason people do not give children dynamite and matches. After the atomic bomb was used to end World War II Oppenheimer denounced the idea of continuing research and development of the Hydrogen Bomb. It is up to the scientific community to use discretion. Discretion begins with understanding flawed logic and acknowledging such flaws. It is not until then that it is possible to make the moral chooses of what is socially responsible to develop and contribute to. It is the recognition of choice and civil responsibility that demonstrates courage. I use my real name where you are hiding. I do appreaciate that you acknowledge that your responce is “Stupdi” and animalistic i.e. devoid of rational logical thought and based on the instinct to eat or be eaten rather than the higher calling that some humans find themselves living their lives for the betterment of the world instead of their own selfish gains.

          God Bless,

          Stephen A. Halkovic III

          • Anonymous

            Oh…how original of you. Ha ha, yes stewpid monkey. It’s actually kind of funny that as a scientist u missed the play on words.

            Everything but the last part of your rant I will ignore. You talk about science being for the betterment of man kind yet, if it’s true, you have a hypothesis that would turn cosmology/physics on its head yet you don’t because people are evil? Thats like having a cure for cancer yet keeping it to yourself. Are we a bit bitter perhaps? Has your research already failed peer review? Idk you or your research bit i find your reasoning very limited sir. Who are you to judge the human race?

            As far as the atom bomb, as sad as the loss of life was and as grotesque you may think it was, it saved more lives than it costs. At that point in time is was a needed drastic measure. The real question is have we used it again?

            Things will happen. There are ppl who will always look to further their own agendas. They dont speak for everyone.

            But instead of being part of the solution, you’d rather sit back, not challenge the status quo and bitch in the intrim. You sir are a coward and your excuses are puny. So yes, keep making fun of my screen name if it makes you feel better. Way to go!

            Also, you’re a hypocite as well. I am probably not as learned as you are in these matters. You said god bless at the end of your posting. God gave you the ability to comprehend science and your field, yet you repay that gift by doing nothing to advance your own “kind”. I’d rather have an unthinking animal by my side. It has a reason for not doing anything; you don’t

            Nelson Hernandez
            Orlando, FL
            nelsonahern@gmail.com

            Any questions

            • Stephen A. Halkovic III

              Good day Nelson Hernandez,

              I’m sorry if you took offense at me drawing attention to your screen name. However it is a blind as such that you’re hiding behind isn’t it? It is the slander of people who do not think that has already ruined very well established Physicists who had suggested other view points over empirical data. I am currently far beyond harm by idiotic words such as those you have written about what is true. Some day you should really try talking with people you actually have their own thoughts and don’t cave into the BS of the day.

              You are as swine who trample on pearls as you try to rend those who posses them.

              None of my ideas need to be founded on any of the creationist cosmologies, nor any other. They are firmly based in how things are today.

              May God’s Peace be with you,

              Stephen A. Halkovic III

            • Anonymous

              Stephen, your comments are irrelevant. Preach all you want. Take the “you don’t understand and are close minded” road all you want. The fact of the matter is this. You make a claim with nothing to back it up. Not that you have nothing, but you have shown nothing. Your own words give an insight into your true motives. Sure jump through mental hoops to justify your position, but it does not matter. Stop talking out of your rear end and back up your assertion. I’ve even given you my email address. Send your work, let’s see if it’s up to par. I have no problem admitting error or keeping on open mind; when it’s deserved. You don’t even realize your own arrogance. You wanna say that I should be around people with their own thoughts! Great! Clinically insane have their own thoughts, doesn’t make them worth entertaining and right now, that is where your research is, not worth entertaining. You can spew all you wish about how correct your work is or as you put it, They are based on, not in btw, how things really are today. Yet you show no proof and all your writings are religious in nature. That by itself is not a big deal. Even I know scientists that have faith in a god. But what they don’t do is ridicule others work without being able to show their own. You show up and start blasting away, “The idea of everything begin and ending in an all encompassing explosion
              breads only destruction and indicates a serious metal and emotional
              imbalance. Get some help if you believe in the Big Bang Theory! The
              reality of the virtual particles indicating a spacial reality beyond the
              idea of wave/particle theories. It confirms that there is an aether
              and indicates some of its properties. The easiest conception is to
              think of it as a membrane between this third spatial dimension and the
              forth spatial dimension.” Is that all you can do? You still have done nothing to show that you are not either a coward or a liar. Now although, my opinion my not matter to you, realize that also, your nonsense does not matter to most if you CANNOT BACK IT UP. Stop talking out of your ass and put your research where you mouth is. Everyone wants to be a superstar yet they can’t handle the pressure. SMH and you are supposed to be that old? Enjoy your life and when you actually have something to contribute let us know. I excitedly wait for your research to turn the world on it’s head. Oh yeah and quoting scripture to an atheist really works. lmao. Swine is tasty. Being hispanic, I love a good picnic pork shoulder during the holidays. Yummm.

            • Stephen A. Halkovic III

              You still haven’t demonstrated anything but that you are a bully and a hater. This is the evidence you provided yourself that violence be gates violence however the universe is dynamically creative things tend to fall apart providing space and material for the new.

            • Anonymous

              It’s begets. No space.

              Who ever said the universe wasn’t dynamic?

            • Stephen A. Halkovic III

              It’s the type of dynamics, i.e. how is it dynamic?

            • Anonymous

              Think what you’ve written Stephen. You made a claim with nothing to back it up. Only saying that you will leave it for future generations. Yet you want to call those of us who deny your claim because you have not provided any proof.

              All you want to do is make a declaration on how the world is not ready. I can do that.

              So no, I am not close minded. Actually the whole point is that if you have information that the rest of us don’t, open minded people would jump at the chance to view it. test it. discuss it. But you’ve not given that chance. You made an assertion and HAVE NOT BACKED IT UP.

              Anything you say afterwards is simply irrelevant.

            • Stephen A. Halkovic III

              You found my blog and made up your mind not to read them. That’s your choose.

      • Anonymous

        Oh wait. Disregard my whole post. Your a Creationist aren’t you. Quote from your blog, “It is true that my ideas do come from scripture, but it is not that I am
        trying to validate my belief, I believe that there are some many
        different things outside of these realms of science that confirms my
        faith, and that is what it is my own, and anyone else’s opinion is only
        their opinion of their own faith. These things of faith are themselves
        singularly one’s own. What I do know is that my meditations on the
        first chapter of the First Book of Moses, Genesis, have led me to seeing
        far beyond the very limiting concepts and constrictions of the Big Bang
        Theory. If people want to believe in the Big Bang Cosmology that is
        their own choose, everyone is free to choose their own religion and
        theology regardless of the United Nations stance on such reality. I am a
        naturally born United States of America citizen and such things are
        self evident. When I speak of how I have come across these ideas is to
        encourage those to come to allow a higher wisdom to govern their
        thoughts because mankind is limited and subjective. I badger those who
        hold onto the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution as pointedly
        as possible because they have imposed a strangle hold on the World
        Scientific Community and have kept the best of science from helping the
        multitude.” Yep, including being a coward, you are just ridiculous. Until you have shown some proof of your work, let others review it. I will if you want me to as well. lol, I don’t believe you and your findings. Sorry. Just another creationist spewing nonsense with NOTHING to back it up. Leave the real science to the grown ups kiddie.

        • Stephen A. Halkovic III

          Good day StOoPiD MoNkEy,

          If you had actually read my blogs with any sort of presentation you wouldn’t have written the anti-Christian comment. Real science is not based on unsubstantial conjectures which I counter with simple examples that even a child can see. It is people like you who are so prideful that they can’t see that there are things going on beyond their own prejudges that stand in the way of peace. What I work on is helping people to see beyond the lies that you apparently subscribe to.

          The only thing that you have offered are a few unfounded slanderous words. If you were serious you would have mentioned on of your per ideas of science that I have already mentioned in my blog.

          May Peace be with you,

          Stephen A. Halkovic III

          http://gravity365.blogspot.com/.

        • Matthewcobb

          Hello. I am trying to simply see if I am up and running on this blog. I am Matthew Cobb. Hopefully this is feeding thru to my email. If you do want to review a treatise on gravitation, please let me know. I am working under the name of Discorsi Scientific and I am looking for competent peer reviewers under a new paradigm of peer review. Please reply. Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      The author says:

      “In fact, virtual particles play a critical role in most of the experiments performed at large particle physics laboratories like CERN, Fermilab and many other similar facilities.”

      But he does not state where and when these experiments were conducted, he does not give any links.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Don.Lincoln Don Lincoln

        To first approximation, every experiment at CERN and Fermilab involves virtual particles. Thus any paper coming out of those laboratories counts.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=virtual+particles&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&safe=active

        • MariusDejess

          I have this idea that virtual particles are just all in the mind of physical cosmologists, but they have not located any objects at all in the actual objective reality of existence outside their mental (in their mind) concepts-manipulation with mathematics.

          What do you think?

          You are conversant with mathematics, also I presume with the kind of mathematics physical cosmologists avail of, by which they have in their mind come to the existence(?) of virtual particles (all in their mind though only).

          Tell me and readers what is wrong or correct with their kind of mathematics.

          What exactly are perceived directly or indirectly through detecting instrumentation by humans, which perceived things whatever humans like physical cosmologists call virtual particles?

          Marius de Jess

          mdejess@gmail.com

          • http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Don.Lincoln Don Lincoln

            This is an easy one. Look up “Casimir Effect” and “anomalous magnetic moment” for both muons and electrons. Both of these measurements rely on virtual particles. And the magnetic moment measurements are accurate to parts per billion and even better.

    • Marius Dejess

      [ Copy of my message ]

      I have this idea that virtual particles are just all in the mind of physical cosmologists, but they have not located any objects at all in the actual objective reality of existence outside their mental (in their mind) concepts-manipulation with mathematics.

      What do you think?

      You are conversant with mathematics, also I presume with the kind of mathematics physical cosmologists avail of, by which they have in their mind come to the existence(?) of virtual particles (all in their mind though only).

      Tell me and readers what is wrong or correct with their kind of mathematics.

      What exactly are perceived directly or indirectly through detecting instrumentation by humans, which perceived things whatever humans like physical cosmologists call virtual particles?

      Marius de Jess

      mdejess@gmail.com

    • asd

      I am no scientist at all, but i like ocasionally stuff that hearts my brain :) i googled “emptiness physics” and found this quantum foam thing. I probably understand it wrong but if light can travel at 300.000km/s through it, then this quantum foam must have some properties that stops light from traveling instant? Light travels through glass at 200.000km/s but i guess it shortens the visible distance of light compared to quantum foam. Then i come back to conclusion that quantum foam shortens the distance of light that travels through it too. Otherwise we could see all the stars in the universe? If i think of glass as a carrier that absorbs and shares the light from one particle to another is the quantum foam a carrier as well?
      Maybe someone can clarify…

      • http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Don.Lincoln Don Lincoln

        People actually don’t know the answer to your question. It seems to be a property of space that light travels through it. It doesn’t seem that the quantum foam plays a role in light transport. However, this is still a topic for which we need to learn more.

        • asd

          Very Interesting. So from my understanding quantum foam is everything except anything that has mass or energy in the universe? But if mass grows in the universe, let’s say a tree on planet, does it mean that quantum foam becomes more dense in that area, and it’s density properties could affect surrounding matter or energy? Maybe that’s why the universe expands. I guess no studies are possible on it because that would require to have for example something that grows in mass or energy and diminishes at the unknown speed that would affect quantum foam’s density and it’s erratic behavior. But going back to quantum foam as a carrier. If we trap a bubble of air in water, does it mean that the air is now the carrier for quantum foam?

    • Donny V.

      I just want to say that this article was very easy to read and understand the concepts. I’m an avid fan of astronomy and physics and technology in general. So when I run across articles that open up a small corner of the physics world I get very excited.

      Thanks!

      • http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Don.Lincoln Don Lincoln

        You are welcome.