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Vacuum Catastrophe

  1. Jun 27, 2010 #1
    "Vacuum Catastrophe"

    When looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_catastrophe I thought about my problem in understanding the question of virtual particles being real physical things or not. It appears to me that if the virtual particle pairs were actually real, always existing in high numbers before the next instant when they disappear and others create, there would be this great amount of mass in the universe affecting gravity. However, if the particles are not manifested as real in reality, the vacuum catastrophe is, in that way, explained.

    Does this resonate with you as a decent explanation for the discrepancy between the expected vacuum energy density if the quantum perturbations are not actually particles, but more of a fragment of spacetime and the uncertainty principle to you? The physical observations of the Casimir force etc. would then have to be described as field effects other than the virtual particles really being real. Perhaps these motions explained by virtual particles are just rather representations of forces and perturbation theory by which we cannot explain by any other imagined means for our theory at this time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2010 #2
    Re: "Vacuum Catastrophe"

    Not to me. It's more than just some mathematical bookkeeping, the effects of virtual particles are observable.
    The Casimir effect in particular involves restricting the energy modes between parallel plates, thus producing a force. It's not so simple as defining it as not real.
  4. Jun 27, 2010 #3
    Re: "Vacuum Catastrophe"

    Let me get back to the main topic of the proposed quantum vacuum particles which involve the "catastrophe". I was mostly questioning the type of virtual particles which are proposed to pop into existence in pairs which annihilate each other; this is what the quantum catastrophe concerns.

    The rest on this list explain the virtual bosons, which transfer forces, e.g. "virtual" gluons and "bosonic particles which exhibit rest mass when they are free and "real." These force carriers are manifested and have proof of being real, and I do not contest their reality.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  5. Jun 28, 2010 #4
    Re: "Vacuum Catastrophe"

    The vacuum energy density issue involves a lot more than just virtual particles. Even if we presume virtual particles are not real, and only quantized abstractions of force interaction fields, the vacuum catastrophe issue persist. It is the vacuum energy at issue, and it makes no difference whether you assume the associated fields have force carrying virtual particles or not, the fields remain demonstrably real, which should contribute to the total energy. Whether or not these are described in terms of virtual particles or not is immaterial to this energy density.
  6. Jul 14, 2010 #5
    Re: "Vacuum Catastrophe"

    Does anyone here have the answer to William Lane Craig's contention that this matter means that God had to have created Existence?
    I find that Quinten Smith's explanation that each part of the Unnverse causes the other parts so that in that sense the Univeres is self-caused.
  7. Jul 14, 2010 #6
    Re: "Vacuum Catastrophe"

    Both of these sound ridiculous to me to me, but I will humor you. I am slightly curious; go on and explain..
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