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Matter and Antimatter

  1. Mar 23, 2013 #1
    If virtual particles are popping into and out of existence all the time, why aren'twe? Why aren't the particles that make up everything popping in and out of existence and why is the amount of matter in the universe disproportionate to the amount of antimatter?
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2013 #2


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    Short answer: they aren't.

    This is another one of those fairy tales that the popular science media likes to repeat, because, I guess, they find it too difficult to explain a little bit about quantum mechanics to the public, or maybe because they don't understand it themselves.

    Let's play the shell game. A pea is hidden under one of three cups. Now... would you say the pea is rapidly shifting back and forth between the cups? Of course not, nothing at all is changing. It's just that there's a certain probability that the pea is under each one.

    It's the same with the vacuum. It's a steady state - nothing at all is changing. The vacuum does not "boil" with virtual particles. It's just that there's a certain probability that a number of virtual particles are present.

    Furthermore, energy is conserved, even in quantum mechanics, and for this reason too you can't have virtual particles appearing out of nowhere and disappearing again, even if they do it very quickly!
    That's a different issue. No one knows the answer to that one.
  4. Mar 23, 2013 #3
    Thanks, thats really helped. I've only recently started to become interested in quantum physics, and as of my last question, I see now it was a very question indeed.
  5. Mar 24, 2013 #4
    I think there is a probability of spontaneous emergence of particle-antiparticle pair , but simultaneous occurrence for ALL particles of out body is overwhelmingly small. It's looks like a question of entropy.
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