the Vacuum of Empty Space

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the Vacuum of Empty Space

Postby hyksos on June 30th, 2018, 5:43 pm 

The Vacuum of Empty Space

Let's do this.

One can, if one feels less adventurous, dip one's toes into the dark pond of Quantum Mechanics, and play with it but remain dry. Perhaps tell yourself that the weirdness and alien-ness of quantum mechanics only applies to things like photons in a laser, or maybe some aspects of neutrinos. Just put your toes in the water, realizing all the while there is a pond there, but you won't take off your clothes and jump in it all the way. Not today. You can go home and sleep like a baby tonight, swaddled in the comfort of delusions.

What does that comfortable world look like?

QM applies to small ephemeral things, photons, neutrinos, ultra-cold superconductors and such.. but not to the really-real reality I live in. There is always a safe place where I can retreat to where the universe is objective, concrete, masculine. Like a comfortable, reliable machine.


Now take off those clothes that you don't want to get wet and jump into the pond with me. The water is ice cold and this will take your breath away. What does that world look like? Quantum mechanics is not some silly thing having to do with the insides of atoms. Nay. QM at base is a statement about the nature of reality itself. It is a foundational claim about how reality itself proceeds from moment to moment. It is a statement about what is "real" at all.

Quantum mechanics demands that our universe , our reality, is not a "big machine" with its gears in certain places at certain time. It says that reality itself -- what is real -- what is factual -- is only probabilistic. Physical events will not will-happen ... they "may" happen, with some probability given by the theory.

It's not a machine. All is probability.

In your lingering doubts, (your desire to run back out of the cold water into a dry place )
But hyksos, if QM is a statement about reality, and it says that reality is only probabilistic, then empty space itself would not be empty. It would only be empty probabilistically and that's craz...

INDEED.

If any statement X, where referring not to individual phenomenon , but X itself is a statement about reality itself, then by deduction -- empty space itself would not be safe from its grasp!

The last bastion, the last "safe space" to run to , to escape from the probabilities. That nice empty, zero nothing place of the vacuum of empty space, where objectivity is safe from the ice-cold ontology of quantum mechanics. ( A good traditional place where men-are-men and women-are-women and none of that non-binary gender business to confuse and confound. )

If reality itself is probabilistic, then even empty space would never be "empty, period." It would be empty to some probability. 99.99% empty. But totally empty? Not possible. There are no totally's in this universe. Logic is logic.

Indeed. Quantum Field Theory makes this prediction, that space is not entirely ever completely empty. Ironically, it does indeed say that the vacuum is not entirely empty all the time. These predictions have experimental consequences, and those consequences have been both measured and named.

You may still be recoiling from the coldness of this water. But if you are becoming acclimated at all, then Welcome to the Universe.

In modern physics, the classical vacuum of tranquil nothingness has been replaced by a quantum vacuum with fluctuations of measurable consequence. In The Quantum Vacuum, Peter Milonni describes the concept of the vacuum in quantum physics with an emphasis on quantum electrodynamics. He elucidates in depth and detail the role of the vacuum electromagnetic field in spontaneous emission, the Lamb shift, van der Waals, and Casimir forces, and a variety of other phenomena, some of which are of technological as well as purely scientific importance.

( see : https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/308650.The_Quantum_Vacuum )


It is common knowledge that the van der Waals [1] and Casimir [2] forces act between closely spaced, uncharged material surfaces made of different materials (metallic, dielectric or semiconductor). These forces are caused by the zero-point and thermal fluctuations of the electromagnetic field whose spectrum is altered by the presence of boundaries. The van der Waals and Casimir forces are of pure quantum origin. There are no such forces in classical electrodynamics at zero temperature. Taking into account that they arise not due to action of electric or magnetic fields, which mean values are zero, but due to the field
dispersions, both forces are often called by a generic name of dispersion forces. In fact, there are no two different forces, van der Waals and Casimir. The van der Waals force is a subdivision of dispersion forces acting at very short separations up to a few nanometers, where the effect ofrelativistic retardation is very small and can be neglected. As to the Casimir force, it is a subdivision of dispersion forces which acts at larger separation distances, where the effect of relativistic retardation should be taken into account.


( see : https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1507/1507.02393.pdf )

More


https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/21/science/physicists-confirm-power-of-nothing-measuring-force-of-universal-flux.html

https://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.040401

https://physicsworld.com/a/gold-spheres-feel-the-casimir-force/
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Re: the Vacuum of Empty Space

Postby Dave_C on July 6th, 2018, 9:37 pm 

Hi Hyksos,
I enjoyed your beautiful, poetic rant. Really, it’s good. And I do respect your knowledge of these things. I would like to focus on one thing that I feel is at the heart of your post, something that’s near and dear to myself, and that is what separates our ‘classical’ world that we experience from the underlying QM world that we only hear about if we’re engineers or toy with only briefly in college using monochromatic lasers, slits and the sort. Here’s the part I pick out that I’d like to focus on:
hyksos » June 30th, 2018, 4:43 pm wrote:The Vacuum of Empty Space
... Perhaps tell yourself that the weirdness and alien-ness of quantum mechanics only applies to things like photons in a laser, or maybe some aspects of neutrinos. …

QM applies to small ephemeral things, photons, neutrinos, ultra-cold superconductors and such.. but not to the really-real reality I live in. There is always a safe place where I can retreat to where the universe is objective, concrete, masculine. Like a comfortable, reliable machine.


... Quantum mechanics is not some silly thing having to do with the insides of atoms. Nay. QM at base is a statement about the nature of reality itself. It is a foundational claim about how reality itself proceeds from moment to moment. It is a statement about what is "real" at all.

Quantum mechanics demands that our universe , our reality, is not a "big machine" with its gears in certain places at certain time. It says that reality itself -- what is real -- what is factual -- is only probabilistic. Physical events will not will-happen ... they "may" happen, with some probability given by the theory.

It's not a machine. All is probability.


In many ways I agree. Look down deep and we get this weirdness and alien-ness. The phenomena exhibited at this level are unfamiliar to us, perhaps because the level that we have access to without instruments is classical. There are things about the world up here in big land that seem to somehow do away with the strangeness of QM. I’d like to get your opinion on why that is. At least, it seems you would agree that there is a difference since you’re begging us to jump into this cold water.

Classical mechanics is separable. QM is nonseparable. That’s the difference I think people commonly miss, yet they intuitively understand what that means. Consider a digital computer for example. They are quite deterministic. Whatever is making them deterministic seems to have corralled the goofy strangeness of QM.

It seems that each digital transistor in each microchip has a single physical state that can represent it at this classical scale. That physical state is either the ON state or the OFF state. There are no other states. Yet if we look at the QM states, there are essentially an infinite (if not then a hugely enormous number) of QM states that can all be equal to either an ON state or an OFF state. The transistor does not make use of any of the special features of QM, would you agree?

I’m steeling those words from Christof Koch. He says, “Although brains obey quantum mechanics, they do not seem to exploit any of its special features.”

But there are many phenomena that “don’t exploit any of the special features of QM”. Being a mechanical engineer, I can say that I’d never be able to calculate anything if I had to understand and employ mathematical equations that took QM into consideration. That isn’t to say classical mechanics is accurate, only that it is deterministic (the equations are deterministic) and the phenomena those equations predict are only off by the amount those classical physical states are misrepresented. So for example, Rayleigh-Benard convection cells (a proverbial ‘chestnut’ for philosophers of science) can be predicted to a great degree of accuracy by employing the fundamental principles of classical mechanics, including separability. The phenomena of cells setting up between 2 parallel plates of different temperature with a liquid trapped between them, can be shown quite accurately using digital computers, yet there will always be some variation between the actual, physical set of plates with a liquid between, and the analytical arrangement that’s studied using computational fluid dynamics. Any difference is not due to the phenomena of Rayleigh-Benard convection exploiting any of the special features of QM. IMHO, it has only to do with the accuracy with which we can measure and predict the actual physical states of those plates with liquid between them.

I won’t argue that this separation exists. I won't be convinced it doesn't. But let me ask you, why? I’ve always assumed this is simply the result of the large averaging of some aggregate of particles/molecules. Why do some phenomena exhibit classical behavior while others exhibit QM behavior? Why don’t classical mechanical phenomena exploit any of the special features of QM? Is the correspondence limit a real phenomenon or is it a gray one that provides no physically definable distinction?
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Re: the Vacuum of Empty Space

Postby DragonFly on July 7th, 2018, 12:04 am 

Quantum fields all atop one another (covariant), especially the gravitational field per 'space', they weaving what we call 'space', 'time', events, and all else, through their interactions, with no emptiness possible ('nothing' can't be there as any kind of spacer having being); no infinite background called 'space' as some inert Newtonian backdrop fixture with its only quantity being volume.

I propose that the fundamental fields (or whatever is basic) are never still because there can be no further inputs, and so are always in their outputs jiggling, for this foundation must output randomly and thus probabilistically, given no design point, in likely a unitary way that has all the probabilities adding to 1 so that everything gets represented as equally likely and truly random.

Anton Zeilinger has shown randomness to be the bedrock of reality to the high quality degree of 3-sigma.

No refuge; no solace; no retreat; no certainty; all else is emergent. Worse: all is relative, due to no outside or before totality, with few or no intrinsics; the dance never ending and never having begun; ongoing forever and devoid of any purpose or information content put into it in the first place that never was.
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