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Space as not empty, non-locality, conceptual implications?

  1. Mar 16, 2013 #1
    Hi there!

    I understand the tendancy of physicists to stick to the math, and the logic itself, and to often avoid attempting to conceptualize a process or law, but that's kinda the opposite of what I'd like to do here.

    I dont mind at all if you refer to the theory, math or logic, and id quite like that, but I am attempting here to conceptually comprehend the stuff. I am a little math freindly, and very concept, logic and word freindly.

    I don't understand quantum physics well, I admit. I certainly don't follow the math. But conceptually I understand some of it.

    What confuses me conceptually, are things like entanglement, virtual particles, quantum foam & zero point energy.

    First, the foamy stuff. Space, apparently, is not empty. Its full of virtual particle pairs popping in and out of existance, apparently due to, or justified mathmatically by HUP. Additionally, even at the lowest energy state, energy is still popping out of the "vacuum", in the form of ZPE, or the ZP feild. But that still to me, does not explain, causally what actually creates these phenomena. Why does the virtual particle pair pop up? Why does the ZPE pop up? Where or what does it come from?

    If all effects have causes, what causes these, and what causes those causes?.....could we follow that truck back up the line a bit, in a way that someone not very physics math saavy can understand?

    It seems to me, in this case, conceptually, a little like if particles or energy, are coming into existance, then they must be being created by something. And that something should be an actual something, not an equation, or an expression of "random". Especially because some of this quantum foam actually apparently causes the higgs boson, and that gives things mass via its feild, and other virtual particles do other important stuff. This "stuff from nowhere" seems to sit at the heart of how everything works. Which at least atm, doesnt make any conceptual sense, unless it does actually come from "somewhere" and we just dont know where that "where" is, or cant yet measure it.

    Please bear with me if I have got something wrong, or if I am expressing this in a conceptual way, even an inaccurate conceptual way. I want to understand it, in a true mental fashion.


    And then entanglement. This is also confusing. I here physicists often say that this is explained by the seperated particles having the same identity.

    But if thats true, doesn't that pervert our concept of space/identity/locality and have huge implications? If one thing, can exist in two places, even vastly different places, then conceptually that would seem to imply that space is not merely curved, but folds over on itself, or even that space or locality is not strictly real?

    (So far as I know, quantum theory does not itself propose a curved spacetime)

    Perhaps not everyone interprets particles pairs like this, and if not id like to hear any other conceptions.

    As a total layman (I have read a few books on physics), it would seem logical to imagine that we should abandon completely any newtonian conception of space or matter, and perhaps adopt something with a non-local basis, where there are connections between "spaces", or perhaps even a hidden variable type concept where there are other "spaces" or energies that we cannot currently measure. This "other"/unmeasured could explain particle pairs, light particle wave duality, quantum uncertainty, virtual particles, zero point energy and so forth, at least conceptually, so that the mind could hold it as a concept retaining a logical sense of causality.

    I know this may seem grossly wrong or primitive, but I cant really logically, spacially or causation wise understand these phenomena well with what little explaination or conception they are usually given.

    I would quite like to have another conceptual model that fits with the standard model, if anybody has any metaphors or concepts that I can acheive this with?!

    Any suggestions, models or ideas would be great. Thanks!
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2013 #2
    QM might help us resolve this as it hints at -
    Not all causes needing to have causes.

    If we assume space-time to be finite then "causes needing causes" chain comes to a full stop at the "edge/start" of space time.

    It's very hard for us to visualise beyond space-time. However relativity tells us that space-time is malleable.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  4. Mar 16, 2013 #3
    Could we perhaps view "beyond space time" by what it is not? Such as non-local, non-causative, non-temporal...indefinate in all ways, similar to an uncollapsed quantum feild, but in a broader sense...?

    If it puts a full stop, is it the "cause" originating from outside of space-time?

    Do any effects really require causes then, or do they just generally tend to have them? (ie its not a rule, just a common occurance)

    Do you think the standard model really has a full conceptual model of its workings, or is it more of a, this stuff happens, heres the math, bugger me if I can figure it out yet?

    Perhaps I am just asking the sort of questions that the standard theory doesn't really have a veiw on.
  5. Mar 17, 2013 #4
    i guess so. this beyond our current knowledge and, as well as, scope of this forum....we are at the edge of knowledge vs speculation....

    while we are talking about the edge of space-time, we are also skirting at the edge of the forum moderators' (..;)..) decision to put an end to this discussion....
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  6. Mar 17, 2013 #5
    I am only trying to make sense of what standard model QM actually means, particularly with quantum foam, virtual particles, ZPE, entanglement in a way that at least a bright persons brain can actually contain (as opposed to causing a sci-fi like break down, where smoke pours out of your ears if you think about it too much)

    I mean great that we can make technology, predictions etc from math, but if we don't really understand what it means, conceptually, they its leading to much more questions than answers. If so, its not my fault thats already lead to yet unanswered questions, as it would be an essential quality of the theory itself.

    If its true that standard model QM, is inherently incomprehensible conceptually or even logically, rather than just having not heard it explained right, then thats something people should be upfront about too...

    At least then people like me wouldn't ask how to understand it!
  7. Mar 17, 2013 #6
    Its true that all science fields at different times in history started finding answers to things to only find out they were left with more questions. Thats science! There may be an infinite or finite amount of these unanswered questions , either way science will keep moving forward. You seem to understand whats going on at the QM level and its great that you are asking these questions because you can be sure that millions of scientists are asking the same ones and testing the world to see what they come up with. Be patient and hopefully we can live long enough to see what else science reveals
  8. Mar 17, 2013 #7


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    Staff: Mentor

    I would say rather, that the mathematical machinery of QM simply does not address certain questions that many people want answers to. For example, in the (in)famous double-slit experiment, "which slit does the electron really go through?"

    People make up stories (called "interpretations of QM") about what goes on "behind the scenes" so to speak, but all the valid ones reduce ultimately to the same mathematical machinery, so they make the same predictions for experiments that we can conceive of.
  9. Mar 17, 2013 #8
    The old QM model is dieing out to make room for the new QM. Text books will be re-written.
  10. Mar 17, 2013 #9
    Thank you all for your honest answers recently.

    So I suppose any of the interpretations that fit observation are valid, although I suppose thats arguable too, as I know some studies people claim the standard model has failed in.

    I guess science is a work in progress, but the lack of real answers as to the implications is a little frustrating. At least people are asking the questions and making progress :)

    What kind of new QM?
  11. Mar 17, 2013 #10


    Staff: Mentor

    What are you talking about? Please provide a mainstream scientific reference to justify this comment.
  12. Mar 17, 2013 #11


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    Staff: Mentor

    Such as?
  13. Mar 17, 2013 #12
    Well one example is the ashfar experiment. Of course lots of people object to that, but I am not sure if their objections are valid or not - I haven't looked into it.

    Seems like people would object regardless because the standard model is currently popular (cultural legacy bias and all that).
  14. Mar 25, 2013 #13
    Circular Argument

    This a circular argument. With all due respect, you are asking for a "mainstream argument" to support a question that deals with knowledge that is outside the "mainstream" of conventional qm thought. Seems all great physics "greats" stopped in their tracks when the "double-slit" indicated that further breakthroughs will have to include the consciousness of the observer. Only addressing ths "spooky science" [Einstein] head on will lead to the big breakthrough about the nature and power of human thought. Sorry, but I can't provide a mainstream argument as the mainstream does not acknowledge yet such a possibility. Neither did the "flat worlders" or "earth-centric" ivory tower occupants of astronomy not that long ago. Mainstream physicists had better start looking outside the box shortly before some young doctorate candidate discovers it first....perhaps start with entanglement...
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