# Can consider space a medium ?

1. Nov 14, 2012

### big_bounce

Hello all .
Can we consider space as a medium that photons and other waves travel on that ?

2. Nov 14, 2012

### phinds

They don't travel "on" it, they travel "in" or "through" it. Saying that things travel "on" it would imply that it has substance, the way water does, as in "a boat travels on water".

3. Nov 14, 2012

### xAxis

No. EM waves don't need medium.

4. Nov 14, 2012

### big_bounce

We know space is not really empty and has lowest energy state .
If a EM waves travel through space is that mean they travel through a medium ?

5. Nov 14, 2012

### phinds

EM waves can travel through many mediums. Light travels through glass quite well, for example.

What is it you are trying to get at with your question? It seems that you just want someone to verify a personal theory that you have that says that space is some kind of quasi-solid "medium". That's not likely to happen.

6. Nov 14, 2012

### big_bounce

See , a 'medium' can be anything
The only thing that cannot be a medium is nothing but vacuum ( or space ) is not nothing there are virtual particle and minimum energy state in it .
SO with this describe can we consider vacuum ( or space ) a medium ?

7. Nov 14, 2012

### phinds

Again, you whole purpose in this thread seems to be to get someone to agree with your conception that space is a "medium". It is not generally considered to be such, but if it makes you happy to think of it that way, why go right ahead.

8. Nov 14, 2012

### xAxis

Sound waves also travel through space. But we don't say space is the medium.
I don't think lowest energy state has anything to do with medium.

9. Nov 14, 2012

### phinds

Really? So all those sci fic movies that have spaceships making whooshing sounds and so as they maneuver forth have it right?

10. Nov 14, 2012

### derek10

He maybe is referring to gas filled space, not vacuum, anyway there isn't aether nor aether-like medium. EM waves don't require it.

11. Nov 15, 2012

### JustinRyan

Space may not be empty, but even if it were (hypothetically) devoid of fluctuations, light would still be able to travel through it.

12. Nov 15, 2012

### Hetware

Better to think in terms of space-time. It's rather mind-bending, but it seems clear to me that the ponderomotive ether is space-time. Einstein, after dispatching the ether to the ash-bin of history, started mumbling about "e___r" in The Evolution of Physics.

"We shall say: our space has the physical property of transmitting waves, and so omit the use of the word we have decided to avoid." Page 176.

13. Nov 15, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

If that's true, then your question can have any answer anyone wants!

So I pick no.

14. Nov 15, 2012

### Neandethal00

Space is a medium.
Nothing can exist without a medium.

We just cant figure out yet what space is made of.

15. Nov 15, 2012

### chiro

Insteading of thinking about a physical analogue, you might want to consider how a disturbance of one thing carries on to others.

In wave mechanics, there are typically two types of waves: longitudinal and transverse waves and they each have an interpretation related to how the phenomena creates a particular kind of disturbance.

In terms of looking at it in terms of pure information, it needs no medium per se: the disturbances indicate how data and information flow and that corresponds to an underlying process whatever that process may be.

You can make an interpretation or an analogy to attempt to understand that within the linguistic context that is most familiar to you (whether that is using physical and abstract analogues that are you used to and comfortable with) but they do not change the invariant nature of the information approach.

These medium questions are ones that pre-constrain the structural characteristics of a system and if they are pre-constrained too much, then the overall detail of the system will be so diminished from its original definition, that it will not represent it in any proper capacity.

This is why its recommended to not have pre-constraints and to just focus on the information and this is the exact thing that is starting to happen with the advent and necessity of computational science.

16. Nov 15, 2012

### Drakkith

Staff Emeritus
There is no evidence for this and no reason to think this is true either. I could be correct, or it may not be.

17. Nov 16, 2012

### jetwaterluffy

Electromagnetic waves are waves in electromagnetic fields. Hence the name.

18. Nov 16, 2012

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
You are not free to redefine a physics description any way you like. You asked a question, it was answered.

Zz.

19. Nov 16, 2012

### jetwaterluffy

Actually, for really loud sounds such as the death star exploding aalderen I can't see why they shouldn't make a noise in space. Space isn't a perfect vacuum, after all, and when you have 10^38J or 10^32J whatever, even a small fraction of that is going to make a gigantic noise that even micropascals pressure might let through.

20. Nov 16, 2012

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
First of all, let's not get this thread off track.

Secondly, there is no "sound" here because "sound" requires a vibration of a medium. When one is no longer in the "viscous flow" regime, there is no longer a correlated motion of the medium. You may have a shower of particle, etc. moving, but this is not what you call "sound".

So be VERY careful in the terminology that you are using. Like I said, none of us here are free to redefine many of these terms.

Zz.