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Virtual particules and causation principle

  1. Aug 17, 2010 #1

    Is it true that virtual particules pop into existence uncaused?

    thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2010 #2


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    Gold Member

    Let's put it this way: they do not violate causality, because causality has a limited domain. Causation is a probabilistic affair, and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle makes sure that there is always room for fluctuations without violating the laws of physics. Even more so: much of what we deem causation is directly due to the appearance and disappearance of virtual particles, since a number of forces are carried by them. (In any case, virtual particles popping into existence will usually pop out of existence quickly enough, although there are instances in which a virtual particle can become real.)
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