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Quantum Foam!!


Justin Gallagher

1,051 views

Yeah you heard that right. I just said Quantum Foam. And the best part, it is an actual science term.

It's time to blow up some minds.

Like I said In my "The imposible Conundrum" blogs, how things can be created from nothing, this is what happens down at the quantum level of this idea.

Quantum foam (also referred to as space-time foam) is a concept in quantum mechanics devised by John Wheeler in 1955. The foam is supposed to be conceptualized as the foundation of the fabric of the universe.

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Additionally, quantum foam can be used as a qualitative description of subatomic space-time turbulence at extremely small distances (on the order of the Planck length). At such small scales of time and space, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle allows energy to briefly decay into particles and antiparticles and then annihilate without violating physical conservation laws. As the scale of time and space being discussed shrinks, the energy of the virtual particles increases. According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, energy curves space-time. This suggests that—at sufficiently small scales—the energy of these fluctuations would be large enough to cause significant departures from the smooth space-time seen at larger scales, giving space-time a "foamy" character.

This relates to other theories in many ways. In the "The Impossible Conundrum" Blogs, the arising then annihilating cause "vacuum fluctuations" which affect the properties of the vacuum, giving it a nonzero energy known as vacuum energy, itself a type of zero-point energy. However, physicists are uncertain about the magnitude of this form of energy.

The Casimir effect can also be understood in terms of the behavior of virtual particles in the empty space between two parallel plates. Ordinarily, quantum field theory does not deal with virtual particles of sufficient energy to curve spacetime significantly, so quantum foam is a speculative extension of these concepts which imagines the consequences of such high-energy virtual particles at very short distances and times. Spin foam theory is a modern attempt to make Wheeler's idea quantitative.

Tune in next time as I talk about Spin Foam.

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