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Thread: Understanding nothing and something - quantum fluctuations

  1. #1 Understanding nothing and something - quantum fluctuations 
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    Hi everyone.

    I'm trying to understand how something (particularly the universe) can come out of nothing.

    I understand that current scientific theory states that

    - According to Heisenburgh's uncertainty principle energy can appear (or be) in an absolute vacuum.

    - Sometimes there is sufficient energy to produce two virtual particles - a particle and and anti-particle.

    - Usually these two collide soon after they have arisen, destroy each other, and turn back into energy.

    Some questions:-

    1) Is my summary correct?
    2) If a space has energy in it, can it really be said to contain nothing?
    3) How does energy turn into matter?
    4) I know that scientists use quantum fluctuations to explain what happened soon after the Big Bang, are quantum fluctuations also used to explain what caused the Big Bang.

    Any help most appreciated.


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  3. #2 Re: Understanding nothing and something - quantum fluctuatio 
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    Quote Originally Posted by nimzo256
    Hi everyone.

    I'm trying to understand how something (particularly the universe) can come out of nothing.

    I understand that current scientific theory states that

    - According to Heisenburgh's uncertainty principle energy can appear (or be) in an absolute vacuum.

    - Sometimes there is sufficient energy to produce two virtual particles - a particle and and anti-particle.

    - Usually these two collide soon after they have arisen, destroy each other, and turn back into energy.

    Some questions:-

    1) Is my summary correct?
    2) If a space has energy in it, can it really be said to contain nothing?
    3) How does energy turn into matter?
    4) I know that scientists use quantum fluctuations to explain what happened soon after the Big Bang, are quantum fluctuations also used to explain what caused the Big Bang.

    Any help most appreciated.
    1) More or less

    2) The quantum vacuum is not really "nothing" but it is as close as you can get to it.

    3) Energy and matter are the same thing. See "particle physics".

    4) No one has a clue what, if anything, caused the big bang or if "caused" has any meaning at all when applied to the big bang.


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  4. #3  
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    So would it be right to say that science doesn't link the 'something out of nothing' that happens in quantum fluctuations with the 'something out of nothing' which happened at the big bang?
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    Vacuum fluctuations do lead to virtual particle creation according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and, according to the principle they must annhilate after a certain period of time to repay the energy loan from the universe. This manifests itself macroscopically and has been well studied. Look up Casimir effect.

    As for vacuum fluctuations as they relate to the Big Bang, picture a potential well, shaped like a bowl in an energy graph. Now the lowest point would be the vacuum energy level and a marble dropped into it would fall to the bottom, the lowest energy level. But what if instead of a bowl it was shaped like a sombrero and the marble was balanced right on top of the hat part, ie there was a false vacuum energy right in the middle on top of the hat shape, This false vacuum level, although perfectly symmetrical, is very unstable. It may take time but eventually the smallest imbalance will lead to the marble rolling down the hat part into the brim. It is now in the actual lowest energy level and also note that it is no longer symmetric under a rotation. Look up gauge theories and symmetry breaking for more info.
    This difference in energy between the two vacuum levels can be used for all sorts of purposes, from the initial vacuum fluctuation to inflation. Look up inflation for more info.
    Now you may say what causes the false vacuum level, and various theories have been proposed. One involves a scalar field ( a vector field has a direction, a scalar field does not ) such as a Higgs field. There are even theories such as chaotic inflation ( Witten ) where multiple scalar fields break their symmetry and continuously create new universes even at the present time. Look up scalar field, Higgs field and Higgs boson, and Witten's chaotic inflation for more info.

    Say we were living in a universe which was in a false vacuum state, it could at any moment break symmetry, drop to its true vacuum state and start an exponential inflation which would in effect, destroy our universe. But these are just mathematically attractive theories and will not be proven true or untrue for a long time.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by nimzo256
    So would it be right to say that science doesn't link the 'something out of nothing' that happens in quantum fluctuations with the 'something out of nothing' which happened at the big bang?
    /

    Some people do, but it is pure spreculation. Existing theory is not capable of addressing anything before about t=10^-33 sec.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by nimzo256
    So would it be right to say that science doesn't link the 'something out of nothing' that happens in quantum fluctuations with the 'something out of nothing' which happened at the big bang?
    Some people do, but it is pure spreculation. Existing theory is not capable of addressing anything before about t=10^-33 sec.
    DrRocket is correct. One such speculation (which isn't entirely crazy) is described in John Gribbin's very informative "Inflation for Beginners" webpage:
    ...The idea that the Universe may have appeared out of nothing at all, and contains zero energy overall, was developed by Edward Tryon, of the City University in New York, who suggested in the 1970s, that it might have appeared out of nothing as a so-called vacuum fluctuation, allowed by quantum theory.

    Quantum uncertainty allows the temporary creation of bubbles of energy, or pairs of particles (such as electron-positron pairs) out of nothing, provided that they disappear in a short time. The less energy is involved, the longer the bubble can exist. Curiously, the energy in a gravitational field is negative, while the energy locked up in matter is positive. If the Universe is exactly flat , then as Tryon pointed out the two numbers cancel out, and the overall energy of the Universe is precisely zero. In that case, the quantum rules allow it to last forever...
    (ref. http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home...bbin/cosmo.htm )

    Chris
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    I guess the same question can be asked as to why nothing happened out of that something. That is say the origins of anti matter has I have seen it described.

    The origins of negative and positive are perhaps our best ponderings.

    By which I believe comes from electrical charge. All things in fact in its quantum state are the components of electrical charge or energy. I have risen the question in the chemistry forum as to the possibility of a mother chemical, that been the component that all other chemicals have evolved from because of the many variances in the electro magnetic field.

    This concept stems from the likelihood that all matter behaves differently due to the force imposed on it.

    I guess one could say that actual matter is a cluster or build-up of electrical charge. The components over time have changed and therefore create what would be inconsistencies or reactions rather than the flow associated with electricity.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    I guess the same question can be asked as to why nothing happened out of that something. That is say the origins of anti matter has I have seen it described.

    The origins of negative and positive are perhaps our best ponderings.

    By which I believe comes from electrical charge. All things in fact in its quantum state are the components of electrical charge or energy. I have risen the question in the chemistry forum as to the possibility of a mother chemical, that been the component that all other chemicals have evolved from because of the many variances in the electro magnetic field.

    This concept stems from the likelihood that all matter behaves differently due to the force imposed on it.

    I guess one could say that actual matter is a cluster or build-up of electrical charge. The components over time have changed and therefore create what would be inconsistencies or reactions rather than the flow associated with electricity.
    gibberish
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    Would I be correct in thinking that science currently tells us that space itself was created at the time of the Big Bang? If so then space is something. Therefore the particles that arise in quantum fluctuations arise from something rather than nothing.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by nimzo256
    Would I be correct in thinking that science currently tells us that space itself was created at the time of the Big Bang? If so then space is something. Therefore the particles that arise in quantum fluctuations arise from something rather than nothing.
    I think you're missing the point. BBT is a theory of the evolution of the universe from a time of about 10^-33 seconds to the present day.

    We can postulate a set of conditions at this very early period and, by applying the BBT, we can logically reproduce the universe we see today based on the laws of physics as we understand them.

    The BBT doesn't say what conditions or processes existed before this very early time because our undertanding of physics doesn't extend to the high energy and high density regimes prior to the inflationary epoch.

    As DrRocket points out, there are those who speculate about what conditions or processes might have existed at times earlier than about 10^-33 seconds, but these speculations are not part of BBT.

    Chris
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by nimzo256
    Would I be correct in thinking that science currently tells us that space itself was created at the time of the Big Bang? If so then space is something. Therefore the particles that arise in quantum fluctuations arise from something rather than nothing.
    Space is a void of energy... it may be so as a result of over consumption and thus 'burning out'. An implosion best suits the naming for the concept.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    I guess the same question can be asked as to why nothing happened out of that something. That is say the origins of anti matter has I have seen it described.

    The origins of negative and positive are perhaps our best ponderings.

    By which I believe comes from electrical charge. All things in fact in its quantum state are the components of electrical charge or energy. I have risen the question in the chemistry forum as to the possibility of a mother chemical, that been the component that all other chemicals have evolved from because of the many variances in the electro magnetic field.

    This concept stems from the likelihood that all matter behaves differently due to the force imposed on it.

    I guess one could say that actual matter is a cluster or build-up of electrical charge. The components over time have changed and therefore create what would be inconsistencies or reactions rather than the flow associated with electricity.
    gibberish
    Not gibberish, just a little unorganised.

    Anti matter in my reckoning is nothing other that a void of energy in a giving space.

    The origins of energy are what I should have refered to in my second point, that is to contemplate the idea of what gave rise to the friction or cause of energy formation.

    My final point on the issue of matter or 'chemical/element' formation requires further investigation on my behalf to further explain its understanding. But my hoping is that you can grasp it so much that you could further elaborate on it.

    You by the looks of it are the Dr or the Mr scientist of the operation... I am just the commander. 8)
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    I guess the same question can be asked as to why nothing happened out of that something. That is say the origins of anti matter has I have seen it described.

    The origins of negative and positive are perhaps our best ponderings.

    By which I believe comes from electrical charge. All things in fact in its quantum state are the components of electrical charge or energy. I have risen the question in the chemistry forum as to the possibility of a mother chemical, that been the component that all other chemicals have evolved from because of the many variances in the electro magnetic field.

    This concept stems from the likelihood that all matter behaves differently due to the force imposed on it.

    I guess one could say that actual matter is a cluster or build-up of electrical charge. The components over time have changed and therefore create what would be inconsistencies or reactions rather than the flow associated with electricity.
    gibberish
    Not gibberish, just a little unorganised.
    No. gibberish

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    Anti matter in my reckoning is nothing other that a void of energy in a giving space.
    Not even wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    The origins of energy are what I should have refered to in my second point, that is to contemplate the idea of what gave rise to the friction or cause of energy formation.
    More gibberish

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Cosmos
    My final point on the issue of matter or 'chemical/element' formation requires further investigation on my behalf to further explain its understanding. But my hoping is that you can grasp it so much that you could further elaborate on it.
    Nobody could possibly understand your "point". There is no factual starting point.

    You need to learn some basic physics before you start theorizing.
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    sigh.... :x
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  16. #15  
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    Point taken, nothing is more dangerous than someone who knows a little but think they know it all wouldnt you agree.

    On that note, back to drawing boards or text books as you have suggested. Please note that I have never pursued further academic study of any science field other than that learning in basic high school. However it is a subject I have recently found passion for and aim to understand. That does not prohibet me to speculate in my ponderings.

    Each idea whether correct or not, brings us one step closer to the truth.
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