Zero-energy universe

  • #1
nomadreid
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Summary:

The "zero energy universe" hypothesis and the corresponding "negative energy" are described in Wikipedia, but given the fact that these two pages contain descriptions which others in this forum have called (in other contexts) sloppy, I would like to know whether this hypothesis and the concept of negative energy in this context are valid, and if there is a link to a better explanation still on a level which is not too technical. Thank you.

Main Question or Discussion Point

In https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-energy_universe and in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_energy, the idea of a negative energy balancing out the positive energy in the universe is advanced. However, these two sites use descriptions of "quantum fluctuations", "virtual particles", typing them together with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, etc., in a way that has been described in Physics Forums (specifically, some excellent Insight articles by Arnold Neumaier) as sloppy. Therefore, I would like a more reliable source (but not too technical) as to this hypothesis, but my Internet search turned up similar articles. I am of course familiar with the possibility of labeling potential energy as negative, the negative energy solutions to Einstein's equations that are usually discarded, and a few other variations, but it seems to me that Wiki is talking about something else, although I could be mistaken. Any indications would be appreciated, thanks.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
489
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Summary:: The "zero energy universe" hypothesis and the corresponding "negative energy" are described in Wikipedia, but given the fact that these two pages contain descriptions which others in this forum have called (in other contexts) sloppy, I would like to know whether this hypothesis and the concept of negative energy in this context are valid, and if there is a link to a better explanation still on a level which is not too technical. Thank you.

In https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-energy_universe and in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_energy, the idea of a negative energy balancing out the positive energy in the universe is advanced. However, these two sites use descriptions of "quantum fluctuations", "virtual particles", typing them together with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, etc., in a way that has been described in Physics Forums (specifically, some excellent Insight articles by Arnold Neumaier) as sloppy. Therefore, I would like a more reliable source (but not too technical) as to this hypothesis, but my Internet search turned up similar articles. I am of course familiar with the possibility of labeling potential energy as negative, the negative energy solutions to Einstein's equations that are usually discarded, and a few other variations, but it seems to me that Wiki is talking about something else, although I could be mistaken. Any indications would be appreciated, thanks.
The topic is close to pseudo-science now. The concept of "zero-energy universe" was formed in era when stationary cosmological solutions were popular. This is no longer mainstream nowadays.
 
  • #3
PeterDonis
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The concept of "zero-energy universe" was formed in era when stationary cosmological solutions were popular.
I'm not sure what you're referring to here. Plenty of "zero energy universe" concepts that have been proposed by physicists are perfectly compatible with an expanding universe.
 
  • #4
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I'm not sure what you're referring to here. Plenty of "zero energy universe" concepts that have been proposed by physicists are perfectly compatible with an expanding universe.
Then you should cite. "Plenty" is not a useful reference.
 
  • #5
PeterDonis
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Then you should cite. "Plenty" is not a useful reference.
The Wikipedia articles linked to in the OP already give references. You should read them.
 
  • #6
PeterDonis
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would like a more reliable source (but not too technical) as to this hypothesis
A number of the references in the WIkipedia articles are reasonably good but not too technical presentations.
 
  • #7
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A number of the references in the WIkipedia articles are reasonably good but not too technical presentations.
Abstract of Ref. 5 (by the way, 47 years old) from wikipedia page "zero-energy universe" cites:
The author proposes a big bang model in which our Universe is a fluctuation of the vacuum, in the sense of quantum field theory. The model predicts a Universe which is homogeneous, isotropic and closed, and consists equally of matter and anti-matter. All these predictions are supported by, or consistent with, present observations.

Modern mainstream model is open universe without significant amount of antimatter.
 
  • #8
PeterDonis
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Abstract of Ref. 5 (by the way, 47 years old) from wikipedia page "zero-energy universe" cites...
Yes, that's one reference. There are others. Not all of them support your "pseudo-science" claim. And if you have nothing else to add to the discussion than that claim, then please do not post again; this is not your thread and the OP is asking for useful references, not negative opinions.
 

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