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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82
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7answers
13k 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 ...
66
votes
7answers
15k 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 ...
57
votes
7answers
18k views

Does gravity exist in a vacuum?

My understanding has always been that it does from conventional science courses, but really thinking about it, I was wondering if this is really the case. To my limited understanding there is a ...
31
votes
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?
26
votes
2answers
733 views

Finding the vacuum which breaks a symmetry

I will start with an example. Consider a symmetry breaking pattern like $SU(4)\rightarrow Sp(4)$. We know that in $SU(4)$ there is the Standard Model (SM) symmetry $SU(2)_L\times U(1)_Y$ but depending ...
25
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 ...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

Can one obtain free energy from the vacuum?

It is known that from the vacuum of a quantum field theory, virtual particle pairs are created and destroyed; is it possible to capture these particles thus obtaining free energy from the vacuum?
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 ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Is speed of propeller-driven airplane limited by the speed of sound?

Mine line of thoughts goes like this: A propeller is effectively pushing itself away from molecules of air. The best any propeller can do is to create total vacuum in the front of itself. The ...
17
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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 ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Bell in a vacuum, where does the sound energy go?

I'm not educated in physics, but I learned that a bell struck in a small vacuum chamber will not be heard by people around it (in a school science lab). If it had been surrounded by air, there would ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I clean a part before installing it in a vacuum system?

What are proven procedures for preparing a part that comes fresh out of the workshop for ultra-high vacuum (UHV) and extremely-high vacuum (XUV)?
16
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
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2answers
464 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
523 views

What would happen to wet laundry in the vacuum of space?

Imagine for a second that I was in a college dorm room frustrated that all the dryers were broken or in use. I'm impatient and not a jerk so I don't wait or take out someone else's laundry, I shoot it ...
14
votes
2answers
933 views

Does string theory have a notion of vacuum?

Does string theory have a notion of vacuum? If yes, what is known about it?
14
votes
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How to interpret vacuum instability of Higgs potential

If the Higgs mass is in a certain range, the quartic self-coupling of the Higgs field becomes negative after renormalization group flow to a high energy scale, signalling an instability of the vacuum ...
13
votes
1answer
539 views

How is it possible the speed of light is not constant?

I was reading this article recently, which summarizes a couple of new studies into the speed of light. In one paper, Marcel Urban from the University of Paris-Sud, located in Orsay, France and his ...
12
votes
4answers
13k 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?
12
votes
7answers
4k views

Drying clothes with the sun's heat, without any air

Will my wet clothes dry if I hang them under the sun, and if there is no air around the clothes? In other words, do I need both air and heat to dry wet clothes, or is heat alone (in the imagined ...
12
votes
3answers
949 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. ...
12
votes
3answers
381 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 ...
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 ...
12
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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. ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is space a vacuum? Also, why doesn't air from the Earth escape into space? [duplicate]

Why is space a vacuum? Also, why isn't the air from the Earth escaping due to the vacuum in space? The ozone layer is only gas and a magnetic field, so why doesn't the air escape from Earth into ...
11
votes
3answers
581 views

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

What is the difference between $|0\rangle $ and $0$ in the context of $$a_- |0\rangle =0~?$$
11
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
20k views

What is meant by Vacuum?

What is the exact meaning of the word vacuum? Is it just a state of very low pressure or is it nothingness (as in there is nothing)? Also, when we say space is vacuum - it must be referring to ...
11
votes
5answers
252 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
249 views

How long will our artifacts last in moon & space?

Given all the different space probes and equipment that have been either launched into space or lying on the moon. How long will they last before they get decayed into dust or some unrecognizable ...
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

A cup of water in ZERO gravity

What will happen if I try to pour a cup of water in zero gravity, into another empty cup? Will the water come out of the cup? The adhesive force between the water molecules and the interior of the cup ...
9
votes
4answers
515 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
556 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
936 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
956 views

What is the difference between quantum fluctuations and thermal fluctuations?

Start with a simple scalar field Lagrangian $\mathcal{L}(\phi)$ at zero temperature $T = 0$, which has a hidden symmetry and spontaneously break it. By the standard procedure a field $\phi$ is ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Water in a vacuum sealed jar?

I recently purchased a Vacmaster VP215C chamber sealer, and have noticed that when I place a small container of water into the chamber, and pull a vacuum for just over 25 seconds, the water begins to ...
8
votes
2answers
240 views

Do siphons really require air pressure to function?

Can the siphon mechanism work in vacuums? There seems to have been experiments where exotic liquids (low vapor pressure) were used in siphons mounted in vacuum chambers. The idea is that the falling ...
8
votes
2answers
221 views

What are the current experimental limits on the polarizability of the vacuum?

Many (all?) materials are polarizable at some level; meaning that when we apply an electric field across the material, there is an induced dipole moment $$ \vec{p}=\alpha(\omega)\vec{E}, $$ where ...
8
votes
1answer
495 views

Is a venturi pump feasible at very low pressure?

I need assistance (or experience feedback) in estimating if a Venturi pump would work at low pressure. A boiler under vacuum (10% atmosphere) will produce steam (at a given speed depending on the ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Proving and demonstrating vacuum in container without breaking it

Let there be a hollow container made of glass or some other transparent material, roughly the size and shape of an apple. Let the walls be of sufficient thickness for the container to be safely ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What happens to a body, initially at 300K, kept in isolated space? Will it's temperature drop to 0k?

With regards to Thermal Radiation, given a stable body initially at 300 Kelvin placed in isolation, after continuous Thermal Radiation will it's temperature gradually reduce to 0 kelvin ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Do we breathe air by creating a vacuum?

How do we suck air into our lungs, are we generating a vacuum?
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Do all liquids boil in a vacuum?

Water boils at positive temperatures when put into a vacuum. Is this the case with all liquids, e.g. mercury?
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?