Scientists Discuss Mysteries of Vacuums

• darkchild
In summary, scientists use concepts like vacuums, frictionless planes, stretchless ropes, and massless pulleys as simplifications to make it easier to solve problems and draw conclusions about physical phenomena. These concepts do not exist in reality, but they help us make predictions and understand the world around us. In the case of vacuums, scientists must account for the lack of a perfect vacuum when making measurements and extrapolating data. Similarly, the speed of light only has a fixed value in a vacuum, so scientists must make adjustments when conducting experiments in the real world.
darkchild
Why do scientists say that certain conditions hold in a vacuum despite the fact that no vacuums exist or are known to have ever existed?

The same reason we talk about frictionless planes, stretchless ropes, massless pulleys...

The same reason we talk about frictionless planes, stretchless ropes, massless pulleys...

Interesting. I'd never thought about it that way before. I remember working on those introductory physics problems in which we were supposed to ignore things like rope mass and surface friction and thinking, 'oh, they're just leaving things out to make the problem easier for beginning physics students.'
When it came to statements about x or y being true in a vacuum, I thought, 'oh, this is just some random assumption.' Now I see that both reflections are true in both situations: both the ideas about phenomena in vacuums and the massless ropes etc. are simplifications, and the act of solving problems with those simplifications is based on the assumption that we can meaningfully and accurately solve problems involving physical conditions that we do not and cannot have experience with.

It's easier to create a hard (although not perfect) vacuum than it is to create a nearly massless rope or nearly frictionless mechanism.

There is something more.

Take for instance the speed of light.
By now we know it has a fixed value, but only in vacuum!

Whenever we do a measurement, we will find another value, since real vacuum does not exist.
To compensate, a number of measurements have to be made.
Then the lack of real vacuum has to be taken into consideration, meaning the measurements need to be extrapolated to the point where we would have a perfect vacuum.

1. What is a vacuum and how is it created?

A vacuum is a space that is completely devoid of matter, including air molecules. It is typically created by removing air from a sealed container or space using a vacuum pump. This process creates a low pressure environment, resulting in a vacuum.

2. What are some common uses of vacuums in science?

Vacuums have many important uses in science, including in experiments that involve gases, liquids, or solids. They are also used in technologies such as vacuum tubes and electron microscopes, as well as in space exploration to simulate the vacuum of space.

3. How do vacuums impact the behavior of matter?

In a vacuum, matter behaves differently than it does in normal atmospheric conditions. For example, liquids will boil at lower temperatures and gases will expand to fill the available space. This is because without air molecules, there is less pressure pushing on the matter.

4. Are there different levels of vacuum?

Yes, there are different levels of vacuum depending on the amount of air molecules present. The most commonly used scale to measure vacuum levels is called Torr, with a perfect vacuum being 0 Torr. There are also ultra-high vacuums used in specialized experiments that have even lower pressures.

5. What mysteries about vacuums are scientists currently discussing?

Some of the mysteries surrounding vacuums that scientists are currently discussing include the nature of dark energy and dark matter, which are believed to make up a significant portion of the universe but have not been directly observed. Scientists are also studying the potential effects of quantum mechanics on the behavior of matter in a vacuum.

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