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Thread: Expansion of Space-Time and virtual (quantum?) particles

  1. #1 Expansion of Space-Time and virtual (quantum?) particles 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Can someone reassure me that this is a silly question?

    You know the way virtual particles are suposed to pop in and out of a (quantum?) vacuum ?

    Well my question is whether there could be any connection between this (pretty much accepted albeit bizarre) process and the fact that the fabric of Space-Time is in continual expansion? (can you see why I might think this?)

    As a non scientist I think I get a waiver from being embarassed at asking stupid questions ..

    So maybe someone who does know a bit of what they are talking about just tell me that there is no connection here....


    Last edited by geordief; February 15th, 2013 at 06:14 PM.
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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    My understanding (and I do only a know a bit about this) is that it is the other way round, if anything. In other words, the non-zero vacuum energy would provide extra gravitational force to stop the universe expanding (This is because bother energy and matter cause gravitational effects; mass and energy being equivalent: e=mc2.)

    One problem is that the measured energy of the vacuum is pretty tiny (not enough to significantly slow expansion) whereas theory predicts it should be huge (which might have stopped expansion a long time ago).

    Vacuum catastrophe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    p.s. not a stupid question!

    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    thanks.I am quite chuffed that you don't think it is a stupid question!

    However you might change you mind when I explain my take on the "connection".

    My thought was not that the virtual particles would accentuate (or counteract) the expansion in Space-Time (I can now see that ,once created they would indeed be likely to have that sort of an effect).

    It was more like that the expansion of Space -Time (in the way you would see if you tore a fabric like a (2d or 3d curtain,say) might cause "empty" Space-Time to be created in its "wake" -which might allow for the creation of these virtual particles.

    I am sure that is a far more outlandish "theory" than the one you mentioned (not calling what you mentioned a "theory" ) and perhaps that explains why I didn't expect it to be taken seriously (even though I was not trying to be too flippant I hope).
    Last edited by geordief; February 15th, 2013 at 10:59 AM.
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