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Does space have mass?

  1. Jun 15, 2011 #1
    I've heard that virtual particles can come out of the nothingness of space. Since e=mc^2 does space have mass in essence? Or is the mass simply go in and out of existence as the virtual particles do?

    I know I probably got something wrong over here so forgive my ignorance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2011 #2
    maybe we are allowed to borrow....

    we don't fully understand dark enery, anti-matter....

    maybe the below equation works....;)

    s = ec^2

    where s = space
    maybe its a cube

    maybe one day some scientist, like you, will tie all this together...
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  4. Jun 15, 2011 #3
    I wouldn't call it space, but the vacuum state of a quantum field (which corresponds to the absence of particles) in general can have nonzero energy. This is the origin of the so-called Casimir effect. Virtual particles are just a misleading description of this.
  5. Jun 16, 2011 #4
  6. Jun 16, 2011 #5
    I don't really understand the concept of a quantum field much. I'm only in classical mechanics thus far. =/

    Wow, so there are no virtual particles? If so then curse the media. :grumpy:

    Thank you, it was an interesting read.
  7. Jun 17, 2011 #6
    A quantum field is an entity which spans all space. It can be excited at each point, and we call such an excited state a particle. The absence of excited states is called the vacuum. This vacuum can have energy, that's what is sometimes called zero-point energy in this context.

    Virtual particles only show up mathematically, there is no reason to assume that they actually exist in the form of measurable physical objects.
  8. Jun 17, 2011 #7
    Wow, its interesting that the vacuum of space can have energy. I can't wait till I learn of quantum field theory, I don't think I can just sit here and have an intellectual conversation/reasoning simply with the English language. I need mathematics behind it.

    Thanks for your time.
  9. Jun 18, 2011 #8
    I think you just realized something very important. Seriously discussing physical problems only makes sense if you have the theoretical background, everything else can only be regarded as unguided speculation (as often encountered in a broad range of topics, for example "reality of virtual particles","black holes" and so on). People need to learn to admit when they have no clue regarding a certain subject.
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