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24

There have actually been cases of (accidental!) exposure to near-vacuum conditions. Real life does not conform to what you see in the movies. (Well, it depends on the movie; Dave Bowman's exposure to vacuum in 2001 was pretty accurate.) Long-term exposure, of course, is deadly, but you could recover from an exposure of, say, 15-30 seconds. You don't ...


20

The energy is borrowed from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to create virtual particles and has to be paid back in a very short time. $\Delta{t} \geq \frac{\hbar}{2\Delta{E}}$ This is why virtual particles live for very short times (i.e pop in and out of existence). We cannot manipulate this energy.


20

You aren't creating a vacuum, but you are reducing the pressure in your lungs when you inhale. In effect your lungs are working as a diaphragm pump. When you pull your diaphragm down, and/or expand your chest, this increases the volume inside your lungs. Boyle's law tells us: $$ P_0V_0 = P_{\rm inhale}V_{\rm inhale} ,$$ where $P_0$ and $V_0$ are ambient ...


19

Yes. That is the operating principle of this device, among many others:


16

$|0\rangle$ is just a quantum state that happens to be labeled by the number 0. It's conventional to use that label to denote the ground state (or vacuum state), the one with the lowest energy. But the label you put on a quantum state is actually kind of arbitrary. You could choose a different convention in which you label the ground state with, say, 5, and ...


16

Albert Einstein rather famously said The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once. and John Wheeler added Space is what prevents everything from happening to me! Now, those quotes may sound silly and self-referential, but they are meant to draw you attention to something very, very basic. Things do happen at different ...


15

Strictly speaking vacuum is the state of lowest energy. That means no matter or radiation (photons or any other particles). Note that space is not a perfect vacuum. Also note that, technically, a gas of planets and comets etc. has a pressure (there is usually little reason to care about it though). There is also radiation pressure due to the photons. ...


14

$|0\rangle$ is a particular nonzero vector in the Hilbert space associated with this system. That vector is nonzero -- in fact, it's usually normalized to have magnitude 1. The 0 on the right refers to the zero vector in the Hilbert space. So they're quite different. For one thing, $|0\rangle$ is a possible state for a particle to be in. 0 isn't (since only ...


14

Whether you can extract energy from this or not (and I strongly suspect not) the Casimir effect is a consequence of vacuum fluctuations. Essentially when two metallic plates are very close to each other, the wavelengths of virtual particles that can be created between the plates is restricted and hence there are fewer particles between the plates and ...


11

1) Most materials you use in everyday life contain far more moisture than you might believe. This is a major reason materials meant to be exposed to space are specially designed and tested. In a general vacuum, most fabrics and many plastic will outgas - all of the absorbed moisture and oils will work their way to the surface and boil off - which is a major ...


11

First: Whether the metastable region is acceptable is somewhat debatable. I think that most experts would say No. Even if the tunneling may be very slow, one would have to explain why the Universe started in a configuration whose energy is very far from the minimum, in a metastable valley. There are other papers that already put the observed mass to the ...


11

As I recall from Susskind's course, there is no actual vacuum in string theory. There are some pieces of information, which can be helpful, like terminology developed for 2 decades. Please, note the dates. String theory is believed to have a huge number of vacua — the so-called string theory landscape. Terminology starting from almost nothing: "In ...


10

As others have said, it's almost empty, but not quite, as there are gas particles and so on floating around. As wikipedia states: Generally free of dust and debris, intergalactic space is very close to a total vacuum. The space between galaxy clusters, called the voids, is probably nearly empty. Some theories put the average density of the ...


10

Dear GJ, "vacuum" and "empty space" is always the same thing, but one must always be careful what these two synonymous terms mean. General relativity implies that the only "information" that the vacuum carries at each point is the so-called "metric tensor" - a set of numbers that allow one to calculate the distance between any two nearby points. This is ...


10

our lab has an ultra-high vacuum stm system (10-11 torr), and all parts that go in the vacuum system has to be extremely clean. Here is what we do: first i want to point out that the material you use for UHV is very important too. The commonly accepted material is 316 stainless steel and oxygen free pure copper. For other specialized material, you should ...


10

Let's consider the simplest case of a quantum harmonic oscillator, with creation and annihilation operators $a^{\dagger}$ and $a$ respectively. The ground state of our system is, $\lvert 0 \rangle$ which has energy, $$E_0 = \frac{1}{2}\hbar \omega$$ Every time a creation operator acts, the state $\lvert n \rangle \to \lvert n+1 \rangle$, modulo some ...


9

I take your question as Is there any substance with condensed (solid or liquid) equilibrium phase at zero pressure? No, because of statistical physics. Let's consider two things. (1) The potential energy of interaction between molecules. (2) The thermal energy distribution for molecules. The potential energy of interaction can generally be of any ...


9

I might add some further notes to the actual material things existing in intergalactic space. One might wonder but the notion that there is space is already stating that there is more than nothing. It implies that there is at least vacuum which is a pretty interesting thing on its own. Classical harmonic oscillator Maybe you know that the harmonic ...


8

Inflation is a rapid stretching which result in cosmic smoothness and uniformity on large scales; as such, inflation is a key component of almost all fundamental cosmological scenarios. Not only does inflation explain the overall uniformity of the universe, but quantum fluctuations during inflation plant the seeds that grow into galaxies and clusters of ...


8

You'd freeze to death faster in the Atlantic ocean. Space has essentially no thermal conductivity. All the heat you lose will be radiated away. According to the Stefan-Boltzman law, $W = \sigma T^4$, you would lose at most 500 watts per square meter of body surface area. By contrast, the convective heat transfer coefficient in water is about 12,500 ...


8

The running coupling $\lambda(\mu)$, as a function of renormalization scale $\mu$, does run negative for large $\mu$ in the SM if the Higgs is not too heavy. But "renormalization scales" are not particularly physical things to talk about. A more physical quantity is the renormalization-group improved effective Higgs potential, $V(H)$. For large values of ...


8

The big bang in relativity is not what you are imagining--- it isn't a localized explosion. You don't have stuff rushing out from a point, you have everything getting denser in the past in a homogenous way. This is complicated a little by the fact that a Newtonian big bang has things rushing out from a single point. But even in a Newtonian bang everything ...


8

I think the key conceptual hurdle is that the vacuum state is not nothing. Quantum field theory describes matter as excitations in quantum fields. These quantum fields are very strange things, and I don't know of any easy way to explain to a non-physicist what a quantum field is. The key thing is that the quantum fields fill all of spacetime. So a vacuum is ...


7

This creates a point of extremely focused energy at the middle point where the bubble collapses. In theory, this point focuses enough energy to trigger nuclear fusion. It is not currently accepted mainstream science to say that collapsing bubbles focus energy enough to cause nuclear fusion. Temperatures over 10,000K can be acheived, but are still well ...


7

I don't think the particle-anti-particle picture is a very good one to grasp what's going on. Essentially, it's a consequence of zero-point energy. In classical physics, the lowest energy state of a system, it's ground state, is zero. In quantum mechanics, its a non-zero (but very small) value. The easiest way to see how this zero point energy arises is ...


7

As zonk said, there is no perfect vacuum. Even the 'vacuum' of space contains a few atoms per cubic meter on average. In the lab, the lack of a high vacuum usually results from not having a pump that can effectively extract enough of the particles inside the chamber you're trying to evacuate. There are several different kinds of pumps used, depending on ...


7

The space between atoms depends very much on the medium you are talking about. In solids the typical distance between atoms is about the same as the size of the atoms themselves. In everyday gases at room temperature and pressure the distance between molecules is many times their size, and in deep space you can get densities as low as one proton per cubic ...


7

The Einstein field equations actually don't say anything at all about the nature of matter. Their structure is that they relate a certain measure of spacetime curvature G to the stress-energy tensor T: $G_{ab}=8\pi T_{ab}$. The stress-energy tensor describes any matter that is present; it's zero in a vacuum. Trivially, you can write down any equations you ...


7

The concept of vacuum in physics indeed comes from two different theories. The General Relativity Vacuum is a space-time model region without matter. In General Relativity all of space-time has a "curvature" which relates to the metric which can all have measurable effects, such as the bending of light rays (in the vacuum) near a massive object. One may ...


6

The vacuum energy for a free field is the ground state energy of each field oscillator, ${1\over 2} \omega$, summed over all the modes. For a cubic periodic box of side-length L, you get $$\sum_k {1\over 2} \sqrt{k^2+m^2}$$ Where the sum is all k's in an infinite size 3d cubic lattice where each k component is an integer multiple of $2\pi\over L$. When you ...



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