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Virtual particle creation in black holes

  1. Feb 4, 2013 #1

    As I understand virtual particle pairs can be created outside of the event horizon of a black hole.
    I understand that they result from Vacuum Fluctuations. What creates these vacuum fluctuations?

    ***A side note: I hope i'm not violating any rules of the physics forums by creating two consecutive threads
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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  4. Feb 4, 2013 #3


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    "vacuum fluctuations / quantum foam" seems to be a bit of a contentious subject. There is some argument as to how "physical" vs how "mathematical" they actually are.

    Hawking himself has said the using "virtual particles" to describe Hawking radiation is actually misleading and is only a pedagogical device that does a somewhat clumsy job of translating the math describing what happens into English language.
  5. Feb 4, 2013 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    Yah - it's a model used to help figure out the probability of detecting something in what we would classically be thinking of as nothing (and suchlike). After that it can get very philosophical.

    I don't think we can do justice to the ideas at a pop-science level.
    At some point you just have to do the math.
  6. Feb 4, 2013 #5
    Thanks for the responses.
    Most of the confusion was cleared up.
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