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Vacuum Genesis

  1. Feb 11, 2006 #1
    Have just watched an old documentary called "The creation of The Universe"
    by Timothy Ferris, dating back to 1985. Towards the end it mentions a theory called "vacuum genesis" which is composed of familiar elements but that I had never heard in such a framework. It explains the cause of the big bang as a breakdown of the initial symmetry presents at unification temperatures and seems rather ellegant to me.
    Surprisingly, a google of the therm braught back very little, hence this post.
    Has this been discarded ? Is it part of the current theoretical framework without its original apellation of " vacuum genesis" ?

    I have found the text itself rather elegant. Here's a transcript:

    Any thoughts on this from our more knowledgable members ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2008 #2
    That is so weird! I just was watching that and I heard it and tried to google it also and only got your post...I had to make a username and password just to get on here and tell you that you aren't the only one who has seen it! I thought I'd be the only one...it's a really good special I think. Does it cover everything pretty well to the best of your knowledge or is it outdated?

    Anyways...Maybe Timothy just made it up? I don't know if it exists...but its interesting nonetheless...

  4. Nov 24, 2008 #3
    so in a nutshell.... in the begining there was nothing... then there was something.

    Brilliant !
  5. Nov 24, 2008 #4


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    Is vacuum genesis really saying this? Here is another source:

    This description seems to require a pre-existing notion of energy, which doesn’t seem to align to an absolute definition of nothing, more of something we don’t really understand or even have a good theory to fully describe, as yet. However, somebody else might be able to clarify whether this vacuum energy is compatible with ideas about zero point energy or another quantum theory.

    Purely out of interest, is there any scientific definition of `nothing`?
    e.g. nothing is nothing, meaning no space, no time, no energy, no concept of spacetime geometry, gravitational fields or scalar fields etc, simply nothing.
  6. Nov 24, 2008 #5
    how do you do the multi quote?

    Anyway, mysearch,
    I don't know if there is a scientific definition of 'nothing' but you put it pretty well, the absence of everything. 'Nothing' as a concept akin to 'non-existence'. Maybe that would be a good definition. "the absence of volume" or perhaps "the absence of any dimension" ?

    In vacuum genesis, I get the impresssion that we are saying that there is a preexisting three dimensional volume of pure vacuum in which there are no virtual particles or anything else. And suddenl through some unknown process a single particle came into existence and began expanding?

    Or did everything suddenly exist where before there was nothing. In fact, in that case you can't even use the word 'before' because you can't have a 'before' without time already existing.

    That brings up an interesting question. does time exist in a pure vacuum in which there is no matter or energy and even no quantum processes, no virtual particles, no time consuming processes, nothing but pure spacial dimension?

    on creating virtual particle / antiparticle pairs, I have a question. In that quote, about creating them out of the vacuum by applying enough energy. It leaves me with the impression that the energy is left over after the particles are created. But isn't it true that the energy becomes the particles? not that the particles are created out of nothing and the energy is still left over zipping around as a thing sepparate from the particles? isnt it that the energy itself sort of becomes the particles and when they anihilate then they turn back into energy?

    So in the vacuum genesis, wouldn't a single matter particle have to be produced? if it was a particle / anti-particle pair would they not simply anihilate and not expand into a universe?

    The only case I can think of where a virtual particle becomes real is in Hawking radiation.
  7. Nov 24, 2008 #6


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    Before you click the "quote" button, go thru and press the multiquote for each post that you want, so it lights up on each desired post. Then press "quote".

    Multiquote is boolean so if you change your mind and don't want a post quoted you can click a second time and the light will turn off.
  8. Nov 24, 2008 #7


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    Something from nothing? Is 'nothing' merely 'something' in disguise? You can hide 'something' behind layers of 'something else' for awhile, but eventually the point must be conceded. Either 'something' has always existed, or 'something' came from 'nothing'. Neither solution is more logical than the other, in my mind. I prefer 'in the beginning'. What came before that is unknowable. I find that strangely comforting.
  9. Nov 25, 2008 #8


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    Yes, it can be quite difficult to be precise about absolute nothing:smile: However, in terms of cosmology, I believe the relevance of the issue is whether we really have any science that can support a physical process being created out of absolute nothing, i.e. this includes no energy. If not, maybe it suggests an extended cosmology model infinite in time, although, as you point out, the concept of time may be a subject of debate. Anyway, while this is an interesting line of thought, it is possibly just Aristotle’s idea of a `primer mover` in disguise.
    I cannot talk with any authority on these issues, but here are some thoughts. As I understand it, the annihilation and creation of particles, even in the quantum world, involves energy. At one level, this energy seems to be an attribute of the vacuum. However, I am not really sure how a vacuum can store energy without the definition of some structure, i.e. the inference being that energy is not a substance in itself, but rather something we associated with a process. For example, the units of energy are mass (kg) * distance (m^2) over time (s^2) and it is not obvious to me how a vacuum is said to support these concepts. Of course, mass itself is energy by virtue of E=mc^2, so this idea of energy is a little recursive in those terms. Therefore, we might wish to switch to Planck’s equation E=hf and infer some equivalence between mass and frequency, but even so, it would seem that energy cannot be stored in `nothing`, therefore does this imply that a vacuum has to be `something`? This is a logical premise, but not necessarily an authoritative one:smile:

    More by way of a footnote, there does seem to be a notion of negative energy in the form of potential energy. In concept, if you expand a system to infinity, it has a maximum negative potential of zero. If this system is then allowed to collapse under gravity, it increases in negative potential energy and positive kinetic energy in equal amounts, i.e. the system has net zero energy, ignoring the rest mass. Of course, you might still be left wondering how and why it expanded in the first place, so this might not be of much help:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  10. Nov 26, 2008 #9
    Thanks for the interesting transcript, Mean-hippy. Here's a quote that's very relevant now that there's a financial mess everywhere:

    One can only speculate about the Beginning (if indeed there was one). But lots of cosmological folk seem to accept that 'beginning physics' involved an instant of exponentially accelerating expansion called 'inflation', before regular expansion set in.

    Few seem to appreciate the difficulty that physics might have had in operating in any remotely familiar way during inflation. This is because the kind of exponential expansion envisaged for inflationary would generate truly stupendous tidal forces on even the smallest quantum entities one can imagine. Such expansion would also red-shift radiant energy by stupendous Z factors as it were transmitted across even tiny spacetime intervals.

    So perhaps nothing at all can happen during this instant and the inflating universe is indeed as symmetric as Timothy Ferris suggested. But how would we ever confirm via observation whether this is nonsense or not?
  11. Jul 22, 2009 #10
    The Heart Sutra states...

    "Emptiness is form."
    "Form is emptiness."
    Long before scientist even considered this.
    Hawkins has already proven there was no "big bang."
  12. Jul 23, 2009 #11


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    I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but it is definitely a fact that no one named Hawkins has ever proven there was no big bang.
  13. Jul 25, 2009 #12
    The theory of the "big bang" is a logical fallacy whereby a premise is true only because it has not been proven false. This is a moment...never began, never will end.
    Something cannot arise from nothing. Steven Hawkins admits there was no "big bang".
    400 years ago it was postulated that the form we experience is the same thing as emptiness and the lack of form or emptiness is the same thing as the form.

    Einstein showed that energy and matter were the same. 400 years later.
  14. Jul 26, 2009 #13


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    Even if Stephen Hawking admitted there was no big bang, which he hasn't, it wouldn't change the fact that all the empirical evidence favors the big bang model (Hubble's law, Existence of CMB, Prediction of light element abundances, Successful theory of structure formation, etc.). And please drop the Buddhist mumbo-jumbo; it's not at all relevant to modern science.
  15. Jul 26, 2009 #14


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    Who proved the universe must kneel before the edifice of human logic? If we have learned anything from quantum physics, it is that logic is optional.
  16. Jul 26, 2009 #15
    And how about string theory. Multiple "big bangs" in an endless universe.

    Human kind is not advanced enough with their science (the new religion) to conceive

    the true nature of the universe let alone fathom how it started which it didn't.
  17. Jul 26, 2009 #16
    But what is something and what is nothing - is not everything a distortion of spacetime
  18. Jul 27, 2009 #17


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    If we live in a broken symmetry, it of course makes sense to suggest we sprang from a state of perfect symmetry or infinite symmetry. But then as several posters say, you have to go to the next step and ask what kind of "thing" is this perfect symmetry?

    If it is a kind of nothingness, and also an everythingness, it is what the ancient Greeks called a pure state of potential. And what modern philosophers have called a "vagueness".

    Now this might seem a re-naming of a mystery but vagueness is actually a technically distinctive idea. It has useful features that cannot be found in the more familiar ontic choices of "nothingness" and "everythingness".

    I've gathered some resources on vagueness in this thread.... https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=301514

    Having said all that, I have to add that the vagueness approach does not support the "one little particle fluctuating into existence" idea here. Because it is not the first "atom", the first scrap of substance, that is the problem when getting a universe started, but the emergence of dimensionality itself.

    So the story would go that the perfect symmetry would have to be an infinity of dimensionality (a plenitude). And for some reason this gets broken down so that only a very few (three spatial, or perhaps a few more with strings) get expressed. The rest are as a consequence firmly suppressed.

    To me, this is very reminiscent of dissipative structure theory in open system thermodynamics. Order emerges by the "dissipation" of degrees of freedom.

    To illustrate this, take a very simple example like water going down your plughole. At first the water molecules are disorganised even as they all head down the drain. Their motions are vague in the sense they are going in every direction and no direction in particular.

    Then the symmetry (of this infinite or rather unconstrained directionality) gets broken. A vortex forms. Direction is constrained to the motions of an accelerating spiral. The degrees of freedom are greatly reduced. A vast number of tangental actions are suppressed. However the ones that remain are now very definite, large scale and enduring. So the few grow stronger at the expense of the many - the essential asymmetry that breaks the equipotential, the symmetry, of the original disorder.

    There are a few name cosmologists like Charlie Lineweaver getting into dissipative structure based theories (check his maximum entropy production papers). And a lot of inflation cosmology uses phase transition ideas (although in a closed systems way rather than open). So this systems-based view is dancing around on the periphery of cosmology.
  19. Jul 30, 2009 #18
    Is mean hippy referring to the idea of the Yang- Mills field interaction? Thus is where particles are created out of vacuum. There should be no absolute rest in a vacuum which we all know will violate the uncertainty principle( both momentum and position zero). In suct case, there is what is called the ground state fluctuation which creates energy. Now we know that with energy, particle-antiparticle pairs are created which in turn give rise to matter. This is a fair theory which should explain a lot of how even the particles of thee big bang came from.
  20. Jan 28, 2010 #19
    "Something unknown is doing we don't know what."
    Sir Arthur Eddington, comment on the Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics, 1927
    English astronomer (1882 - 1944)
  21. Jan 29, 2010 #20


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    Prior BB's is evasive. You must either subscribe to a 'beginning' or something that resembles the steady state universe advocated by Hoyle. A 'beginning' does not demand assumptions, steady state does. What assumptions are necessary to support the hypothesis?
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