According to general and special relativity on which the standard model is based is space absolute empty void or something and I do Not mean the popular notion of space but the last possible reduced out of all possible matter space. Imagine high vacuum chamber one cubic meter. Now imagine you have so powerful suction mechanism able to extract out all particles including Quarks Gluons and of course the last thing that it could be left the virtual particles that pop into existence from empty space. What is now left in the chamber. Just pretend for a moment that the walls are so strong that they did not collapse while squeezing the chamber out of all matter, for the sake of learning. What is the GR and SR take on that. On one side SR explains how EM waves/light can propagate in empty space, on the other Einstein talks about bending space, inflation of space. Empty space cannot bend/inflate. Does he refer to the quantum fields extending throughout empty space which are responsible for the physical properties manifested by space like bending. In actuality does the quantum fields of the particles bend and do all the fancy stuff space does or the space itself stripped off every possible quantum field incl. virtual does on its own even after totally emptied out. I hope I did not answer my question my self at the end :). I look forward your expert answers. Please it is very important for me to know the exact situation not just hypothesis. For this reason I kindly recommend you answer to this question only if you have absolutely certain answer. I am not expert myself and I dont wish to get confused in 20 different contradicting opinions. One is saying it is something one is saying it is nothing. I already have this situation every time I visit forum and view replies on similar topics.I have read already all popular articles with fancy headlines: " Empty space is not empty" and than they describe the situation that I already know: it turns out it is not empty because there are phantom particles are poping in and out. This still does not answer my question what is left when we get rid of the phantom particles as well. Again I am not asking for personal opinions please respect that. I also have personal opinions on space that may differ from what I know so far is the standard model. This question is to figure out what is the main stream accepted formula about space learned in the universities and other official institutions as reference. Thank you for understanding

Edit: Here is what the linked post says "The General Relativity Vacuum is a space-time model region without matter'' "vacuum" and "empty space" is always the same thing Quantum field theory implies that the vacuum is full of virtual particles that emerge and quickly disappear However. None of those answers my questions whats left after we remove also quantum fluctuations/virtual particles

The only think that I might consider final answer would be:(citation from same post which presumably answers my question too)

"quantum mechanics implies that the vacuum corresponds to a very particular "state" - a vector on the Hilbert space - called |0⟩|0⟩. It is completely unique and as empty as you can get In particular, it is the eigenstate of the energy operator with the minimum allowed energy - essentially zero.

Ok so my last question is based on what you just read: Is this the correct answer: If we remove all quantum fluctuations/virtual particles we are left with this essentially zero nothingness state completely empty space. It says "it is empty as you can get" Is this the answer I am looking for. This would mean that empty space actually exist around the popping in and out of existence virtual particles? I still have no absolute confirmation that this is the exact situation we end up. Someone to clarify. Sending me to read other posts is not final confirmation since there is contradicting opinions there. Half people say no empty space the rest say indeed absolute nothingness is left. What is the truth? This is very fundamental question and I will not give up before I find 100 percent sure answer according to the standard model, not personal opinions. There must me accepted truth and reference about that in the world scientific community right? It is this exact reference I want o know not bunch of contradicting personal opinions. Important edit: Steve asked me: So let me recapitulate my point: no theory in physics today treats space as an empty void. Space can be emptied of matter, but it cannot be emptied of it's fields and waves, and it cannot be emptied of itself (i.e. leaving a volume of mere nothingness).Has that answered your question? I totally understand the quantum fields are irreducible as this if impossible attempts have been made and it is impossible in the real world. I proposed hypothetical removal of all quantum fields as an learning exercise only. If we remove all quantum fields we are left than with space which is obviously irreducible. I did not say I want to reduce space itself. I said imagine we clear space from all possible quantum fields representing fluctuations/ VP and everything. We now have only space. Is this now the nothingness scientists refer to when they say particles/universe/ fluctuations emerge out of nothing. If space itself is something and not nothing than why serious PhD write books and publications claiming that there is fundamental nothing, empty volume a nonexistence from which everything arises. I can post links to all scientific legitimate sources. Are they all wrong than and you and me we are right saying fundamental space is SOMETHING not nothing. If this is so how come everybody else say it is nothing.This question have to be resolved once and for all. I still wait for someone who can explain why scientific papers and books and people here in this forum in the same time try to convince me, no space is not empty is fundamentally something, its continuum of something and not nothing. In this case you force me to believe space is something while teachers in oxford say no problem particles are created out of nothing. Who is wrong They or me. I say space is something. What do you say. What everybody says. In my eyes everybody says space is something and when I turn my back everybody say no space is nothing. Just like the paradox of the double slit experiment where you get two different results by applying control and observation. I am here now with you and I am asking you, I am the conscious observer please give me this ultimate answer: Is space(underlying the quantum fields) infinite something or is it infinite nothing and if you thing space is finite because the universe is finite than is the finite space something or nothing. If quantum fields/VP dont emerge from nothingness empty space as claimed from WHAT do they emerge?


What physicists actually agree upon, are the methods of calculation, prediction, and measurement. There's something there, you need numbers to describe it, you can use other numbers to predict it.

However, physics does not give us a definitive answer to questions like: What is the true nature of numbers, space, existence, and consciousness? What is the relationship between them? To even get a possible answer to such questions, you need philosophy, ontology, metaphysics.

Most physicists do not have a systematic metaphysical framework in their heads. They have ways of speaking, ways of visualizing, a few striking concepts, a few opinions. The creators are different - Einstein and Bohr both wrote philosophical essays about their physics - but the nature of mathematical formulas is such, that someone can take their formulas and disagree with their philosophy.

In your remarks, I see two issues that you want resolved. If we emptied space of quantum fields, would it be nothing or something? And, what about someone like Lawrence Krauss who says the universe came from nothing?

Regarding Krauss, he doesn't say "empty space is nothing". He says there was "an absence of space itself".

In the quantum method of calculation known as a path integral, to calculate the probability of going from state A to state B, you consider all possible "histories" that begin with A and end with B, calculate a complex number for each individual history, and then combine those complex numbers to get the final probability.

If you applied this method to the universe, then state A would be three-dimensional space, filled with particles doing one thing, and state B would be three-dimensional space again, filled with particles doing another thing. And the individual histories appearing in the path integral would be, geometrically, four-dimensional - three space dimensions plus time.

Hartle and Hawking introduced a new type of path integral. State B is still three-dimensional space containing some distribution of matter. It's one boundary of the four-dimensional history in the path integral. But they consider a four-dimensional geometry which is smooth at the other end. It's a higher-dimensional analogue of a hollow sphere cut in half. If you have half a ping-pong ball, it has one "boundary", the circle where you cut it, and then the surface stretches back to a smooth pole.

In the Hartle-Hawking path integral, state B is defined on the single three-dimensional boundary of a four-dimensional analogue of the half ping-pong ball. The path integral is a sum over "half ping-pong balls that end in state B".

Krauss has decided to interpret this as "state A is nothingness". You can argue about the legitimacy of that interpretation - I would. I would say, you shouldn't make nothingness into a thing; there just is no state A. But one thing he is not saying, is that "empty space is nothingness". In this path integral, space itself does not stretch as far as state A, and that's why he speaks of "an absence of space itself".

Maybe this already answers your real question. But you also asked, what if we consider space minus the quantum fields? Well, that is already outside physics because that is not a physically possible action. So you could be saying, what if there were no quantum fields? Or you could be saying, ignore the quantum fields for a moment, even though in reality they are always joined with space, and just think about space by itself - is that nothing?

I think most physicists, if they went along with these questions, would say, no, pure space is not nothing. It still has geometry, it has dimensionality, I can say something about it, therefore it is not nothing. The people who would reject your scenario might be those, like the followers of Ernst Mach, who believe that space only exists as a relation between material objects, so space without matter is nothing, because space without matter cannot exist. But these are philosophical opinions rather than physical knowledge.

  • $\begingroup$ Krauss, He says "an absence of space itself". Exactly. There exist absence of space? Where exist absence of space itself. This is what I am talking about. Claiming absence of space itself exist must be proved. Where exists absence of space. This is impossible. $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 20 '18 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ 'ignore the quantum fields for a moment' That is exactly what I said in the description to do it as learning exercise. Mitchell I totally agree with you. I, you, and Steven easily figure out that space beyond the QF is something and absence of space is absolutely impossible. The problem is when asked directly(in the presence of aware observer) people here give the correct answers. Space is something and impossible to be reduced to zero size. But when I am not watching(no aware observer and control) They write particles emerge spontaneously from EMPTY space from NON existence into Existence $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 20 '18 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ Mitchel you say space beyond quantum field is something and you define it as geometry. Geometry means it have shape, size, what is the shape and size manifestation of space without the QF . You say dimensions. Do you refer to the 3 dimensions Only? Another person would consider the question answered but I am deep explorer of the truth as it is. The question remains? If space is independent existence and entity alone why we do not apply correction to main stream theory and PhD `s stop writing that particles pop in EXISTENCE from non existence/nothing? $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 20 '18 at 10:53
  • $\begingroup$ Why it is easy to consensus with you guys here while I am applying controlled observation. Are we doing real science now and main stream is wrong and have to experience aware control to change its postulations. Who is dealing with the pseudoscience. We cant be both parties correct at the same time. You and me we say. Particles pop into existence from pre-existent state of something-space itself(we have causal continuum), VS, spread-out mainstream: Particles pop into existence from nothing non existence into existence from empty space/absence of space(no causal loop)something from nothing $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 20 '18 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ @LusiferSofia, the problem is that many physicists believe that QM is not causal - they reject determinism, and insist that the appearance of determinism in every other scientific field is merely a false impression. "Something from nothing" is not a concept that jars with them, because they hold fundamentally (and contrary to all other science, and even a great deal of physics) that this is how things are. $\endgroup$ – Steve Feb 20 '18 at 12:19

In relativity, "particles" do not really form an essential part of the theory. Space is treated as a medium in which waves account for all the phenomena described by it. It may often be talked about as "empty space" - but what this means is space devoid of matter.

Your trick of emptying the vacuum chamber with a pump, merely pumps out matter - it does not pump out space itself, or the residual electromagnetic and gravitational fields within it. And what is pumped out, still remains on the outer surface of the structure of the chamber - this external matter (as well as the structure of the chamber itself) still interacts with the space inside it.

If you understand that, even in a vacuum, space remains in that void (and space is something that cannot be pumped), then it is not troublesome to understand why "empty space" can still be curved or convey EM radiation. Because space is the medium, and it remains.

Quantum mechanics is equivocal on the subject, but in practice all massive "particles" also manifest wave-like behaviour in QM - so-called "matter waves". In fact, the term "particle" in QM bears little relation to the familiar Newtonian conception of a particle - which is a piece of solid, static, substance that has hard edges, and with space as a true void consisting of nothing.

So really, the state of the art in physics today, is that Newtonian particles do not exist - they have been falsified. Indeed, even in classical physics, once "fields" were introduced to account for electromagnetism, that was the death knell of conceiving empty space as a void. Instead, to explain fields and the apparent ability for EM to propagate through "nothing", they tried to conceive space as consisting of a "luminiferous aether" of little tiny particles which conveyed the electromagnetic interaction - a theory which itself has been falsified.

Now, you refer to "phantom particles popping in and out of existence". But are you thinking about these "phatom particles" in the Newtonian sense? Or are you thinking about them as something akin to a wave-like perturbation in the space-medium? Because the former is false, and the latter is closer to the truth as we know it.

So let me recapitulate my point: no theory in physics today treats space as an empty void. Space can be emptied of matter, but it cannot be emptied of it's fields and waves, and it cannot be emptied of itself (i.e. leaving a volume of mere nothingness).

Has that answered your question?

  • $\begingroup$ Of course I mean not Newtonian particles. For this reason I say the quantum fields of the particles. Ok imagine a cubic volume of space on the very small scale. Now imagine the quantum fluctuations generating electron positron field regions. They exist for just short amount of time. You say the virtual electron field is popping in the space-medium but space medium implies non empty medium or do you say "ripple" on the empty space medium. This is the ultimate answer I am looking for. $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 19 '18 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ All publications says : virtual particles indeed pop out of empty nothingness. Is this the space medium you refer to. Ok even more clearly: Do the quantum fields of the individual virtual particle touch or are they separated between them by the nothingness empty space medium. $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 19 '18 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ If you observe very small volume of space are you going to see spontaneous appearance and disappearance of small clouds which are the virtual particles surrounded by black empty space. I mean the nothingness or the space medium must be there all the time and only the virtual clouds appear and disappear some of them touching and some of them not. Is that the correct setting. As you see answer is not so simple and I do not understand why so many people say my question is answered when I did not find definite answer yet which is not in some contradiction with other aspects. $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 19 '18 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ " No theory in physics treats space as an empty void. Space cannot be emptied of it's fields and waves, and it cannot be emptied of itself (i.e. leaving a volume of mere nothingness). Has that answered your question? In this case why everywhere they say virtual particles appear from empty space and dont say VP are generated from space which is something and it have own physical properties. In this case no VP can come from nothingness and yet that is exactly what standard model say not like you say space itself is soemething a irreducible field this is not nothing. $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 19 '18 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is logical and very close to my own take. But this not main stream opinion. See different examples " Lawrence K. Universe from nothing". "we have presented a mathematical proof that the universe can be created spontaneously from nothing. " "On the the Plank scale spacetime isn’t flat at all. Empty space itself vibrates and curves, spontaneously creating pairs of particles-and-antiparticles for very brief amounts of time out of complete nothingness." Ok it is obvious to me that all those people does not refer to pairs pop-up from something underlying field as you say $\endgroup$ – Lusifer Sofia Feb 19 '18 at 19:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.