Virtual Particles: Disproving Energy Conservation?

In summary, virtual particles are subatomic particles that exist for a very short amount of time and cannot be directly observed or measured. They do not violate the principle of energy conservation as the total energy of the system remains constant. These particles cannot be observed or detected, but their effects can be seen in the behavior of other particles. They do not disprove energy conservation, but instead support it by showing that energy can be created and destroyed within a very short amount of time. While they have a small impact on our daily lives, virtual particles are important in the field of particle physics and also contribute to the stability of atoms and molecules.
  • #1
sandstorm
16
0
Do virtual particles disprove the law of conservation of energy? Are they really created out of thin air or does something cause them?
 
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  • #2
Please read Post #5 of the FAQ thread in the General Physics forum.

Zz.
 
  • #3
Thanks. Should have looked there in the first place.
 

1. What are virtual particles?

Virtual particles are subatomic particles that exist for a very short amount of time, often for less than a billionth of a second, and then disappear. They are considered "virtual" because they cannot be directly observed or measured, but their effects can be seen in certain physical phenomena, such as the Casimir effect.

2. How do virtual particles relate to energy conservation?

Virtual particles do not violate the principle of energy conservation. They are constantly appearing and disappearing in a vacuum, and the total energy of the system remains constant. This is due to the fact that the energy of virtual particles is borrowed from the vacuum and must be repaid within a very short amount of time.

3. Can virtual particles be observed or detected?

No, virtual particles cannot be directly observed or detected. They are too short-lived and their effects are only seen in the behavior of other particles. However, scientists can indirectly study virtual particles through experiments and mathematical models.

4. How do virtual particles disprove energy conservation?

Virtual particles do not disprove energy conservation. In fact, they support the principle by showing that energy can be created and destroyed within a very short amount of time. Some theories suggest that virtual particles may even be responsible for the creation of our universe.

5. Are virtual particles important in our daily lives?

Virtual particles have a very small impact on our daily lives and are mostly studied in the field of particle physics. However, they do play a role in certain technologies, such as the functioning of semiconductors in electronic devices. They also contribute to the stability of atoms and molecules.

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