Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is Space Quantized?

  1. Aug 6, 2010 #1
    As I have not even taken an undergraduate course in quantum physics please overlook my ignorance. I am curious about the nature of the electromagnetic fields and quantization. In the class I just took on electromagnetism we learned Maxwell's equations. If I take the Helmholtz wave equation solution at face value I can use any frequency I like. I can pick a value for omega to infinite precision.

    If I can move a charge in space-time with infinite precision I can create a wave of infinite information. This can't be true. Therefore I must not be able to create a wave of infinite precision. Is this because the energy I am using to create the wave is quantized, because space-time is quantized, or because the electromagnetic field itself is quantized?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2010 #2
    Energy is only quantized in bound states and it's still an open question whether spacetime is quantized. The quantization of does lead to some constraints on exactly what and how much information can be recovered from it. However, I expect that the biggest constraints on what you're trying to consider come from the wave properties of matter. To wit, it isn't possible to control a charged object with infinite precision. This is not because of the quantization of spacetime, but because of the uncertainty principle.
  4. Aug 7, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    To understand more about quantization you have to study quuantum mechanics and quantum field theory (which contains the quantization of the electromagnetic field)
  5. Nov 24, 2010 #4
    If you are interested, a retired professor in the Georgia Tech physics department, Professor David Finkelstein, is attempting to work out a quantum theory which includes quantized space-time. He would characterize the current quantum theories as semi-classical. :)
  6. Nov 25, 2010 #5
    I have concocted a rather simple description that (surprising to me, at least) describes two wholly unconnected (I think), yet very topical, and novel quantum models. I know the level of expertise here is such that the two answers will come quickly, but it's a little more fun to throw this open let the discussion go its own way. (The question I have is, simply, WHY does one description so well describe both. Is it just coincidence?) As a layperson, I will leave that to you experts. But I really would like to know the answer.

    Now here's the description applying to 2 quantum processes:


    (Why I brought this up in this thread is because I thought the answer just might have some connection to the issues of space and quantization ---the very big and the very small. But, again, I know little. I apologize if it's been placed wrongly.)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook