I am not a science student or neither I am any expertise in this subject but I am always curious to understand science because it is the tool that helps us to dissect the secrets of this universe.
Topics for discussion :
- Vacuum state.
- Zero Point Energy.
- Virtual Particles.
- Casimir Effect.
- How these virtual particles form and their death.
- Hawking Radiation
These are advanced topics but I will try to keep them as simple as I can. I might be wrong while explaining these topics with easy examples but I would love it if you can correct me.
So let’s start with Space, Do we really understand what actually space is?
Whatever we see around us is just the reflection of light or else the whole universe is dark empty. Even people are more of empty space than they are actual matter. Everything around us including ‘us’ is just 99% empty space and if we remove the space and intact with the actual matter then each one of us would be smaller than the speck of dust. The entire ‘us‘ would be fit into a cube of ice.
Death is a kind of nothingness too but isn’t all there was? and isn’t where the big bang came from?
In science, we call it Singularity.
One day this guy came he said – let’s believe that this Nothing is Actually Something. Now the question is how to define this Nothing as Something?
He gave an analogy of theatres – All characters on the stage are nothing but atoms and molecules or matter vibrating with energy. if we take every atom and molecule from the stage, what remains is the stage SPACE or the vacuum state. Now space is defined and characteristics of space are given by string theory and that guy was Einstein.
Space is void, vacuum, or Nothing. Its empty space between atoms and molecules.
Zero Point Energy :
For better understanding let’s take an example of a ladder :
Imagine a ladder with energy levels. Each rung of the ladder represents the existence of one particle in that quantum state. So the bottom of the ladder which doesn’t have any rung means it doesn’t have any energy, meaning there are no particles & this state known as vacuum state.
Because it’s a Vaccum, the most likely state is Zero Energy but there is, Sometimes the quantum field gently vibrates and produces enough energy to form particles out of seemingly nothing and those particles are called Virtual Particles.
In a nutshell, the particles rising out of the fluctuations of the quantum state is called virtual particles.
These particles are created in particle and anti-particle pairs. They live for a shorter period of time until they destroy each other popping in and out of existence. The higher the energy of the particle, the lesser time it can exist.
Experimentally, the zero-point energy of the vacuum leads directly to the Casimir effect and is directly observable in nanoscale devices.
So don’t think of space as just empty space, it holds mysteries underneath the empty space 😉
Casimir effect :
In physics, there is something called the Casimir effect. In this experiment, two conducting plates are brought parallel to each other with an electromagnetic field held between them. The cavity between the plates cannot sustain all frequency modes of the electromagnetic field, particularly wavelengths comparable to the plate separation. This creates a zero-point pressure on the outside of the plates, trying to push the plates together, much like how radiation pressure from the sun pushes a comet’s tail away from its nucleus. The resulting effect is called the Casmir force, and it increases in strength the closer the plates get but vanishes once the plates make actual physical contact — or when the plates are so close together that zero-point wavelengths no longer see a perfectly conducting surface.
Vacuum Energy Outside > Vacuum Energy Inside
Okay, Virtual particles exist but so what?
Virtual particles didn’t just shape our universe’s beginning. They continue to alter the universe by affecting even the mighty black holes.
When a virtual particle pops into existence, the particle and its antiparticle exist for a moment and annihilate each other. But when this occurs near a black hole’s event horizon, one particle may fall into the black hole where the other goes into space. This escaping particle causes the black hole to evaporate. This evaporation process is known as Hawking Radiation.
At the smallest level, the behaviour of the world is strange and uncertain. Fluctuations give rise to particles and universes. Yet as wild as the quantum reality is, it’s the quantum realm that has defined everything around us. As far as we know, the universe began tinier than an atom, meaning that our world — which we think of as full of matter and pleasant predictability — is nothing but the messy, empty world of quantum mechanics scaled up into Earths and Milky Ways and superclusters. Matter and life aren’t the default state of nature; they are the anomalies. The rare bursts of light in an otherwise enormous nothing.
Every scientist who deeply look into the universe and every mystic who looks deeply within the self, eventually come face to face at the same thing.
Thank you for reading 🙂