4
votes
1answer
208 views

What interaction is responsible for the 21 cm Hydrogen line transition?

The 21 cm Hydrogen line is from the transition between the hyperfine levels of the ground state of the hydrogen atom. So, what interaction is coupling the hyperfine levels? I suspect that it is not ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

How many of which particles are in Hawking radiation?

My understanding is that a black hole radiates ~like an ideal black body, and that both photons and massive particles are emitted by Hawking radiation. So for a low temperature black hole, photons are ...
10
votes
1answer
770 views

With what probability does nuclear fusion occur at energies far below the Coulomb barrier?

Even at the core of the sun, the temperature of $\sim 10^7$ K only results in $kT\sim1$ keV, which is about a thousand times less than the electrical potential energy of $\sim1$ MeV needed in order to ...
3
votes
1answer
217 views

In Klein-Gordon, why should infinite downwards photon cascades be possible?

Here is a simple point about the standard interpretation of the Klein-Gordon equation that for the life of me I've never been able to understand: Why would the existence of true negative energy ...
1
vote
0answers
89 views

Does quantum Zeno effect play role in astrophysics?

For example, do two galaxies situated in proximity reduce the atom decay rate in each other? What happens with decay quanta escaped to infinity? Does the radius of apparent horizon effect the ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

Can the implications of dark energy be used to bridge the gap between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity?

Can the findings of the Physics Nobel Laureates of 2011, namely the overpowering existence of dark energy (vacuum energy) have any implications in the quest the combine Quantum Mechanics and General ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Are we living in a false vacuum? Is there any way to tell?

I was thinking of the noted 1980 paper by Sidney Coleman and Frank de Luccia--"Gravitational effects of and on vacuum decay"-- about metastable vacuum states that could tunnel to a lower energy "true ...