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Thread: Are virtual particles affected by gravity?

  1. #1 Are virtual particles affected by gravity? 
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Are virtual particles attracted by- and do they attract other particles by gravity? In vacuum polarization a matter-antimatter pair is created. Both of these would surely have a gravitational effect on normal particles? They are short lived, but I would think that an overall positive gravitation field would be created? And also, does vacuum polarization occure more frequently in certain situations?

    I am asking this , because I am interested about how this would effect the formation of large bodies like galaxies and planetary systems. Also what effct it has on existing galaxies and planetary systems. It makes sense to me that an overall effect would be created as a certain amount of virtual particles would exist in a volume of space at any one moment. Also, particles and anti-particles alike would have normal gravity as a result, so no opposing force would be present.

    At the risk of being irritating: I am wondering if virtual particles might be put (or have allready been) forward as a possible explanation for the “missing mass” problem that require the existence of dark matter. Either my question is too ridiculous to reply to, or no-one really knows?


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    What are virtual particles? Particles in cyber space? Or just imagined particles. I think I may have some info your looking for in my physics book.


    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    They are particles that, in the case of vacuum polarization, are matter-antimatter pairs that are spontaneously created and then soon after are annihilated. They are postulated, according to my understanding, to include the force carriers between particles. As I understand it, they do not violate the “energy can’t be created” law, as they soon disappear again-> no net imbalance. I was thinking that since at any one time a certain amount of virtual particle would exist, that a relatively constant gravitational field would exist. Maybe this might have some effect on the way galaxies behave in terms of rotation, as I presume the normal matter density would decrease the further you go from the centre, allowing for more virtual particles per volume of space? I am talking from a position of near total ignorance though, so I might be wholly mistaken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    They are particles that, in the case of vacuum polarization, are matter-antimatter pairs that are spontaneously created and then soon after are annihilated. They are postulated, according to my understanding, to include the force carriers between particles. As I understand it, they do not violate the “energy can’t be created” law, as they soon disappear again-> no net imbalance. I was thinking that since at any one time a certain amount of virtual particle would exist, that a relatively constant gravitational field would exist. Maybe this might have some effect on the way galaxies behave in terms of rotation, as I presume the normal matter density would decrease the further you go from the centre, allowing for more virtual particles per volume of space? I am talking from a position of near total ignorance though, so I might be wholly mistaken.
    Well I guess it has to be possible. There has to be some geometry between the matter and antimatter. I'm not fully aware of this kind of topic.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  6. #5 Re: Are virtual particles affected by gravity? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Are virtual particles attracted by- and do they attract other particles by gravity? In vacuum polarization a matter-antimatter pair is created. Both of these would surely have a gravitational effect on normal particles? They are short lived, but I would think that an overall positive gravitation field would be created? And also, does vacuum polarization occur more frequently in certain situations?
    Yes and no. This is quite tricky actually. The first thing to appreciate is that virtual particles aren't real. They are virtual. They don't actually exist. They are the "accounting units" for QED, and as such are a useful concept, but people seem to forget the "virtual" bit.

    The second thing to appreciate is that it's energy that causes gravity, not matter. In a way, gravity is the other side of the coin. A photon is energy, it isn't virtual, it's most definitely real, it is vacuum polarization incarnate travelling at c, and it does "cause" gravity. You simply can't have energy without gravity.

    People talk about a photon as a repeated transient virtual-particle-pair, but there would be no extra gravity resulting from this. The photon energy is what it is, it isn't flicking on and off.

    People also talk about empty space being a sea of virtual particles. If these caused gravity, you would expect the empty space to collapse under its own gravity. it doesn't. Instead, the universe expands, and the galaxies move apart. Like I said, it all gets a little tricky. But there is a simple way to look at it, though it isn't mainstream yet. Think of space as a "compressed ghostly elastic solid". There's nothing outside the universe holding it in, so it expands. Within the universe, some portions are more compressed. They are stressed or "under pressure", because the energy is "tied up" as matter, and this causes an opposing tension in the surrounding universe. The stress is energy, the tension is gravity, and this tends to pull stresses together. The thing to remember is that you just can't have stress without tension.
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    It is my understanding that in certain circumstances matter can be created and sustained from vacuum polarization? Also. I get your point about the overall gravity having a contracting effect if virtual particles occurred everywhere, but don’t they occur more in certain circumstances, like some electromagnetic fields?

    Ok, now to some more wackjob ideas: Concerning the elastic space fabric idea, I have often wondered if it is possible for a particle to be nothing more than a bundle of multidimentionaly folded space. All matter has a half life. So I often wondered if it would be possible that these bundles of folded space was slowly unfolding, creating expansion. It would be a way to explain the particle-wave duality of photons and other particles, as they would then actually be waves traveling in the fabric of space, interacting with each other according to the particular nature of the folded space the particle is made of.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Folded space inplies also it;s opposite, unfolded space.

    Unfolded space being associated to energy..........mmmmmm, sound very familiar.

    I am not allowed to promote my theory of that in this forum, but you may be on to something.

    Why do you wonder about the folding of space?

    Was it taught to you.

    Did it pop into your mind?

    Could you please explain where you have have aquired this idea from.

    I only ask these questions because it keeps me from me explaining my own version.
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    Quite a few years ago, I was simultaneously reading three non-fiction books dealing in varying degrees with string-theory/super-symmetry, Einstein’s geometric explanation of gravity, quantum mechanics and Hawking’s theories among other subjects. One of the books talked about extra dimensions possibly being packed inside sub-molecular particles. So my mind automatically tried to combine all this information and I came up with this idea. I do not however realistically expect validation for these “theories” and know they are mostly naïve attempts at understanding the subject matter. But I would just like someone to point out the mistakes so I can know for sure.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  10. #9  
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    K; Some of what your talking about seems to follow an old theory for space travel..Folding space. You might google the *Holtzman Effect* which most of this came from...
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    Wikipedia says it was first thought of in Dune, the series of novels by Frank Herbert. I don’t think I’ve read that.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    May you find all the answers you seek relevant to your questions on this subject. It's a tough one, worthy of much research.

    One of the weirdest theories I have heard on this subject is one of an alien abduction case, where the subject asked how a UFO craft was projected from point A to point B in space, and the alien occupant explained telepathically with images to the abductee that space can be "folded", and the craft basically projected itself by surrounding itself in a virtual wormhole (unfolded space) that was then able to "fold", as a mechanism of propulsion, from one point in space to another. As I said, "one of the weirdest theories I have heard on this s7ubject". Still, there are a lot of theories out there......."out there"........."out there".

    So as not to lose your mind or get off the beaten track with your research, stick to a theory that has a strong mathematical basis, equations that are widely regarded as factual, equations that match the space-time geometry it is using as a tool of descritpion in this otherwise unheralded dimension of space.
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    One of the weirdest theories I have heard on this subject is one of an alien abduction case,
    Did this person then write this theory down and try to present it on a science forum?

    Anyway, if anyone could just lay my mind to rest and either kill this "theory" or at least propose some glaring misconceptions or anything, I would be very grateful
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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    Kalster.

    No.

    The interesting thing about that X-FILE was that it happened WELL BEFORE any scientific ideas of "folded space" came into being............like in the 60's, man.

    Way back.

    Maybe before you were born......50's or 60's I think.

    It was interesting though.

    Do you know when ideas of folded space came into dorum-discussion in physics? It would be interesting if in the future some of those crazy claims can in fact be verified by science.

    I am unanware if this person presented the theory to a science forum, in fact I doubt it, because with abduction cases the accounts are fairly sketchy. But as I said, the interesting thing was that no one had any such ideas in science at that time, I think. NOt perfectly sure, but that was the stand-out feature.
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