A region of space devoid of any fluid molecules resulting in a zero pressure in ideal cases. In practice, even space has a small but finite number of molecules. In QFT, it signifies the ground state devoid of excitations/particles.

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12
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4answers
2k views

Do virtual particles actually physically exist?

I have heard virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time, most notable being the pairs that pop out beside black holes and while one gets pulled away. But wouldn't this actually violate ...
69
votes
7answers
16k views

What is the speed of sound in space?

Given that space is not a perfect vacuum, what is the speed of sound therein? Google was not very helpful in this regard, as the only answer I found was 300 km/s, from Astronomy Cafe, which is not a ...
11
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5answers
2k views

What would actually happen to a person jettisoned into space?

Alright, so we have all seen the movies where someone gets blasted out of the airlock on their starship, or their suit decompresses while on a space walk. The poor schmoe usually either decompresses ...
10
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1answer
602 views

How do instantons cause vacuum decay?

From what I read about on instantons (Zee, QFT in a Nutshell, pg 309-310), an instanton is a vacuum solution that maps $S^3 \rightarrow S^3$ (the boundary of Euclideanized spacetime), which comes from ...
83
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7answers
14k views

How can a black hole produce sound?

I was reading this article from NASA -- it's NASA -- and literally found myself perplexed. The article describes the discovery that black holes emit a "note" that has physical ramifications on the ...
20
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2answers
5k views

How does space affect the human body (no space suit, no space craft)

How does "outer space" affect the human body? Some movies show it as the body exploding, imploding or even freezing solid. I know space is essentially a vacuum with 0 pressure and the dispersion of ...
15
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7answers
2k views

Can energy be taken out of the QFT vacuum?

There have been recent questions about the vacuum. In my simplified knowledge the vacuum is like a ground state energy level, and also that there might even exist other lower energy levels than the ...
11
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3answers
594 views

What is the difference between $|0\rangle $ and $0$?

What is the difference between $|0\rangle $ and $0$ in the context of $$a_- |0\rangle =0~?$$
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3answers
1k views

Anti-laser: How sure we are that energy is transported?

Reading this PE question can-we-transport-energy-over-infinite-distances-through-vacuum-using-light, a related question arises naturally: Is energy transported (by light)? -- (I did believed in this ...
12
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3answers
394 views

Are vacuum fluctuations really happening all the time?

In popular physics articles and even some physics classes I've been to, the vacuum of space is described as being constantly full of quantum fluctuations. Supposedly, all sorts of particle-...
10
votes
7answers
6k views

Does anything exist in the intergalactic space?

I am a part time physics enthusiast and I seldom wonder about the intergalactic space. First, it is my perception that all(almost all) the objects in the universe are organized in the forms of ...
15
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3answers
4k views

What are the calculations for Vacuum Energy?

In wiki the Vacuum Energy in a cubic meter of free space ranges from $10^{-9}$ from the cosmological constant to $10^{113}$ due to calculations in Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Stochastic ...
6
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6answers
11k views

Does vacuum (empty space) exist? [closed]

Added: 5 times down vote for now! Down voter is this religion or physics, please try to explain your decision. I'm confused about this. In physics we know for a vacuum, but I think that there is a ...
5
votes
5answers
10k views

How is a vacuum able to propagate light?

We say that sound waves need a medium to propagate and we know that light doesn't need such a thing. But is that really how that works? There's no such thing as "nothing" according to Quantum ...
4
votes
4answers
361 views

Virtual Particles real? Virtual particles create a universe?

I am reading the book of Lawrence Krauss "A universe out of nothing", where he explained that the vacuum is not empty. It is a boiling brew of virtual particles that come out of their existence. And ...
17
votes
7answers
1k views

Do all massive bodies emit Hawking radiation?

It is known that any accelerated observer is subject to a heat bath due to Unruh radiation. The principle of equivalence suggests that any stationary observer on the surface of a massive body should ...
26
votes
4answers
6k views

Is space “real”, or is it some sort of accepted postulate?

What is space? It seems to be everywhere in the equations of physics, as some sort of postulate or hidden hypothesis. We also have a direct experience of it, but is it "real"? The fact that we ...
12
votes
3answers
964 views

What really goes on in a vacuum?

I've been told that a vacuum isn't actually empty space, rather that it consists of antiparticle pairs spontaneously materialising then quickly annihilating, which leads me to a few questions. ...
2
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3answers
3k views

Why is it impossible to have a perfect vacuum?

In another question someone mentioned that it couldn't happen. Why not? For example I asked about the speed an object would have to move at sea level to create a vacuum behind it; in the comments ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Does time exist in a vacuum?

Imagine a perfect vacuum devoid of all matter and radiation. Irrespective of whether such a space can even exist, my intuition tells me that time would not exist within such a space. What this thought ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why cannot fermions have non-zero vacuum expectation value?

In quantum field theory, scalar can take non-zero vacuum expectation value (vev). And this way they break symmetry of the Lagrangian. Now my question is what will happen if the fermions in the theory ...
3
votes
3answers
761 views

The virtual particles are only a fictive tool in equations? DO they exist or DON'T? And if they exist, why do we call them VIRTUAL?

There is no "action at a distance" in nature. Attraction of a piece of iron by a magnet, attraction between distant electric charges of opposite sign, have to be mediated by something. The virtual ...
3
votes
2answers
896 views

Beryllium Vacuum Sphere Boat/Aircraft

Is it possible to make a solid rigid evacuated "balloon" out of Beryllium or other elements or alloys? The critical buckling pressure at which an evacuated sphere is given as $$ P_1=\frac{2E\cdot\...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Measured Higgs mass and vacuum stability

There is such a thing, called "stability bound" on mass of the Higgs boson. The basic idea (as I understand it) is that we take Higgs self-coupling, and calculate its renormalization running. And it ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

Have we managed to make a perfect vacuum?

Have we managed to make a device without any atom inside it on earth? I was reading about vacuum here, and I found in the examples part here that even on the best man made vacuum devices, there are ...
5
votes
2answers
18k views

What exists in the Space between quarks

Apologies to all if this has been asked before, I searched but was unable to find one similar. This is a question that has been bugging me for a while that i haven't really been able to find a ...
4
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5answers
4k views

Nothing vs. empty space

This question quotes Hawking saying: [...] you enter a world where conjuring something out of nothing is possible (at least, for a short while). That's because at this scale particles, such as ...
2
votes
3answers
219 views

What is the physical meaning of $a_{\vec{p}} \! \mid \! 0 \rangle$

$a^\dagger_{\vec{p}} \! \mid \! 0 \rangle = \mid \! p \rangle$ is interpreted as a creation of a particle with momentum $p$ from the vacuum. $a_{\vec{p}} \! \mid \! p \rangle = \mid \! 0 \rangle$ is ...
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votes
1answer
79 views

Why are there e.m. vacuüm fluctuations?

According to the rules of qft there are virtual photons in the vacuüm. But how can this be if for the production of photons you need an electric charge?
31
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5answers
5k views

What physical evidence is there that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?

What physical evidence shows that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?
9
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1answer
1k views

The vacuum in quantum field theories: what is it?

In Section 10.1 of his textbook Quantum Field Theory for Mathematicians, Ticciati writes Assuming that the background field or classical source $j(x)$ is zero at space-time infinity, the presence ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Vacuum and repulsive gravity

How can one show from General Relativity that gravity is attractive force, and under which conditions it becomes repulsive, also why positive energy vacuum drives repulsive gravity?
12
votes
4answers
14k views

Why is space a vacuum? [duplicate]

Why is space a vacuum ? Why is space free from air molecules ? I heard that even space has a small but finite number of molecules. If so, won't there be a drag in space?
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Water in vacuum (or space) and temperature in space

So, water in vacuum will boil first and then freeze. I don't know how the freeze happens. As pressure lowers to zero, what happened to freezing point? (I know heat taken by vapor, and the water cool ...
9
votes
4answers
532 views

Direct exposure to the vacuum of space

I was watching a few sci-fi movies and was wondering the real science explaining what would happen if you were to be subject to the conditions of outerspace. I read the wikipedia article on space ...
7
votes
1answer
400 views

Spontaneous symmetry breaking: How can the vacuum be infinitly degenerate?

In classical field theories, it is with no difficulty to imagine a system to have a continuum of ground states, but how can this be in the quantum case? Suppose a continuous symmetry with charge $Q$ ...
5
votes
1answer
492 views

After using annihilation operator on vacuum state, why it is $0$ instead of vacuum?

For bosonic systems, why $a|0\rangle=0$ and not $a|0\rangle=|0\rangle$?
4
votes
3answers
974 views

Creation of particle anti-particle pairs

I was reading some QFT notes and there is one point that I don't understand, they are justifying why we need QFT saying that the number of particles is not preserved once we consider special ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What causes the permittivity and permeability of vacuum?

When light travels through a material, it gets "slowed down" (at least its net speed decreases). The atoms in the material "disturb" the light in some way which causes it to make stops on its path. ...
2
votes
2answers
879 views

Speed of light in a vacuum

I see many references to the speed of light in a vacuum implying that it is only truly a constant measurement in a vacuum. I can live with that, but what kind of vacuum? Are we still talking about ...
1
vote
2answers
975 views

Does spacetime have a “mass” value? or What is “Spacetime” made out of?

When measuring the MASS within the Universe, does "space" or "spacetime" have a value? I only ask, because when speaking of expansion, space is expanding. Could it be possible, to reverse the process,...
4
votes
1answer
772 views

What exactly happens to an exposed human body in space?

I know that space is a vacuum, has no air, and is very, very cold. From what I have seen in movies and TV shows when a space suit is exposed the oxygen will escape like a visible gas and the person ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does Hauksbee's electrostatic machine produce light?

I'm reading on the history of the discovery of electricity and the electron, and I've went from reading about Rutherford's gold leaf experiment all the way back to Francis Hauksbee's spinning glass ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How electromagnetic fields travel through vacuum?

How electromagnetic fields travel through vacuum is it right to say that they propagate or travel? do they alternately form each other by charged particles?
1
vote
1answer
100 views

Why metals fused in vacuum? [duplicate]

On Earth when two pieces of metal comes into direct contact with each other, nothing amazing happens. In a complete vacuum condition the two metals fused permanently, how and why?
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there an intuitive description of vacuum entanglement?

People often refer to the fact that the vacuum is an entangled state (It's even described as a maximally entangled state). I was trying to get a feeling for what that really means. The problem is ...
15
votes
2answers
517 views

An explanation of Hawking Radiation

Could someone please provide an explanation for the origin of Hawking Radiation? (Ideally someone who I have been speaking with on the h-bar) Any advanced maths beyond basic calculus will most ...
11
votes
5answers
272 views

How is the ground state chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process?

This question is about how the ground state is chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process. Say we have a Mexican Hat potential (e.g. the one for the Higgs field) and are sitting at the unstable ...
12
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
640 views

masslessness of Goldstone boson, Effective action, and functional-integral measure

I have difficulty in understanding the path-integral formalism of SSB, and that of Effective Action. Let's say a complex scalar field theory has the global $U(1)$ SSB, $$L(\phi)=(\partial^\mu \phi)^2-...