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I CMB and the reference point for vacuum energy

  1. Dec 7, 2017 at 12:52 AM #1
    From the basic definition of vacuum energy as being tied in with the Uncertainty principle, I would expect this not to include the Cosmic Background Radiation. Right? On the other hand, in figuring out
    (a) the Casimir effect, one attributes the force to the field between the plates carrying less energy than the vacuum... but the CMB is always there as well, so one would imagine that this would contribute to the pressure on the plates
    (b) why the observable universe is nearly spatially flat and how inflation smooths it down, it is not clear whether this takes the CMB into consideration or not.
    Thanks for any attempts to clear up my confusion.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2017 at 2:54 AM #2

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    The CMB can easily be blocked by anything that blocks microwave radiation, so this isn't a problem.

    Yes, the models take the CMB into account. Well, not for inflation, since the CMB didn't exist at the time of inflation, but the flatness of the universe has to include the energy density of the CMB and everything else. As far as I know at least.
     
  4. Dec 7, 2017 at 5:32 AM #3
    Thanks very much, Drakkith. So, when one refers to the negative energy between the plates, that is in reference only to the vacuum energy. This brings me to ask whether, then, since space is very nearly flat with the CMB and gravity and dark energy and so forth included, then if only the vacuum energy but not the CMB , matter, dark energy, etc. were present (if this condition makes sense), space would then be slightly curved (in the opposite way to its curvature in the presence of other mass-energy)?
     
  5. Dec 7, 2017 at 6:09 AM #4

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    I confess I don't know. The details of the shape of space are a bit beyond me.
     
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