Physicist suggests 'quantum foam' may explain away huge cosmic energy

foam
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Steven Carlip, a physicist at the University of California, has come up with a theory to explain why empty space seems to be filled with a huge amount of energy—it may be hidden by effects that are canceling it out at the Planck scale. He has published a paper describing his new theory in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Conventional theory suggests that should be filled with a huge amount of energy—perhaps as much as 10120 more than seemingly exists. Over the years, many theorists have suggested ideas on why this may be—most have tried the obvious approach, trying to figure out a way to make the energy go away. But none have been successful. In this new effort, Carlip suggests that maybe all that energy really is there, but it does not have any ties to the expansion of the universe because its effects are being canceled out by something at the Planck scale.

The new by Carlip is based very heavily on work done by John Wheeler back in the 1950s—he suggested that at the smallest possible scale, space and time turn into something he called "spacetime foam." He argued that at such a small scale, defining time, length and energy would be subject to the uncertainty principle. Since then, others have taken a serious look at spacetime foam—and some have suggested that if a vacuum were filled with spacetime foam, there would be a lot of energy involved. Others argue that such a scenario would behave like the cosmological constant.

Thus, to explain their ideas, they have sought to find ways to cancel out the energy as a way to make it go away. Carlip suggests instead that in a spacetime foam scenario, would exist everywhere in a vacuum—but if you took a much closer look, you would find Planck-sized areas that have an equal likelihood of expanding or contracting. And under such a scenario, the patchwork of tiny areas would appear the same as larger areas in the —and they would not expand or contract, which means they would have a zero cosmic constant. He notes that under such a scenario, time would have no intrinsic direction.


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Physicists propose test of quantum gravity using current technology

More information: S. Carlip. Hiding the Cosmological Constant, Physical Review Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.131302 . On Arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.08277
Journal information: Physical Review Letters , arXiv

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Oct 01, 2019
Interesting conjecture. We'll see how this works out.

Oct 01, 2019
Interesting conjecture. We'll see how this works out.
Ditto.

Because apparently driving everything far from equilibrium can tap into the energy -- still waiting to see some kind of verification in the lab regarding the "quantum vacuum plasma" mentioned in this patent: Electromagnetic field generator and method to generate an electromagnetic field

It's suggested therein using the energy to deflect asteroids. The effects shouldn't be hard to reproduce in a lab, if true...

Oct 01, 2019
Errrr, what patent?

This looks a lot like renormalization. Which may well have been what Wheeler was originally suggesting.

Oct 01, 2019
Free Energy Researchers have claimed for almost a century that this quantum noise can be rectified or channeled for power & propulsion ect

Oct 01, 2019
Errrr, what patent?
the text after "...this patent:" is live; it links to a patent (riddled with all kinds of crank material).

Oct 01, 2019
Free Energy Researchers have claimed for almost a century that this quantum noise can be rectified or channeled for power & propulsion ect


knowphiself - NASA Eagleworks is working on just that. Look up Dr Sonny White.

Oct 01, 2019
Is there actually some observation which would actually confirm or reject this "theory"? Or is it one more string like pseudotheory which cannot be ever falsified, because it actually does not predict anything specific?

Oct 01, 2019
"Spacetime Foam" - ROFLOL LMAO
And the pseudoscientists in this site are always ready to take a bite into this crank science and think it is the next big discovery. Wooists United. All that's needed now is for rrwillsj to come in and gush all over it too.
LOL

Oct 01, 2019
Interesting conjecture. We'll see how this works out.

Thanks Da Schitebo, for that nugget of insight. I'll be ponderin' that for about a second as I explain away my Guinness foam.

Oct 01, 2019
I miss Oliver

Oct 01, 2019
Interesting conjecture. We'll see how this works out.

Whispers DaSchitebo, the knob gobbler, as he bends over.
LMAO.

/can't believe I missed that one, earlier.

Oct 01, 2019
Errrr, what patent?
the text after "...this patent:" is live; it links to a patent (riddled with all kinds of crank material).
I thought we weren't supposed to do that here. As a result I don't hover over things looking for links.

You're right of course; and the "patent" is for something that won't work.

And if the poster is looking for vacuum energy, it's been demonstrated long ago. Look up "Casimir effect."

Oct 02, 2019
Can we get back to the subject of the article now, which is about the difference between vacuum energy estimates from dark energy and vacuum energy estimates from quantum physics? This is infinitely more interesting than the whining of the titch of brolls infesting this site.

Oct 02, 2019
NASA Eagleworks is working on just that. Look up Dr Sonny White.
Ah, thanks for the tip. The patent mentions a team of research engineers at NASA JSC are working on it and states, "Their research involves the use of high Radio frequency/Microwave driven resonant cavity Q-thruster technology within the context of Quantum Vacuum Plasma physics."

A lecture given by Dr. White was uploaded to youtube in 2014 -- here's a link: https://www.youtu...n7crjBbA

Oct 02, 2019
This article made me think of a new idea about the Doppler shift and the expanding universe. If the Galaxy is spinning and we're part of the Galaxy, then the Doppler shift that we see could be due to that spin in our galaxy not the expansion of space

Oct 02, 2019
And if the poster is looking for vacuum energy, it's been demonstrated long ago. Look up "Casimir effect."
Yes, thanks, the patent also mentions, "The Casimir Effect, the Lamb Shift, and Spontaneous Emission, are specific confirmations of the existence of QVP."

Can we get back to the subject of the article now, which is about the difference between vacuum energy estimates from dark energy and vacuum energy estimates from quantum physics?
Right, it would be nice to be able to interact with it and perform some measurements, which is what it looks like the NASA research engineers are doing (check out White's lecture if you have time).

a patent (riddled with all kinds of crank material)
Can you give some examples of what you found unscientific or otherwise objectionable?

Oct 02, 2019
I will ask again: is there anyone who cares to discuss the discrepancy between the cosmological dark energy predicted value of vacuum energy, and the quantum mechanical prediction? Or are we going to discuss trolls and their maunderings instead of reality?

Oct 02, 2019
There is a possibility of Truth in what he is saying. See it's on a Quantum level, this is so fundamentally small smaller than anything that we were taught in school, I believe that the truth is in quantum physics and that he's onto something. Don't be naive and gullible just because you were told something in school. I refute the case with this argument, "is a table a table because you know it's a table, or is it a table because you were told it's a table." Therefore we must lend some credibility to what is being said. If there is truth to the whole space-time foam idea then the Big Bang is a load of b/s.,

Oct 02, 2019
I will ask again: is there anyone who cares to discuss the discrepancy between the cosmological dark energy predicted value of vacuum energy, and the quantum mechanical prediction?
Sure, did you have something specific about it that you wanted to address? It's a huge discrepancy, you know something's wrong somewhere ...

RNP
Oct 02, 2019
@Da Schneib, Protoplasmix

The are several great videos on YouTube by Nima Arkani-Hamed that discuss this issue in great detail.

Oct 02, 2019
@Da Schneib, Protoplasmix

The are several great videos on YouTube by Nima Arkani-Hamed that discuss this issue in great detail.
Cool, thanks RNP. Youtube's algorithm has been recommending his videos while i've been watching Leonard Susskind's series of lectures (from Stanford) on string theory and on general relativity, will watch them as time permits.

Oct 03, 2019
This interesting article has an explanation for the discrepancy. The abstract of the paper says exactly that (I haven't looked for an accessible version of it yet). So what do you think of this idea?


Oct 03, 2019
The paper looks pretty good. There are some further pieces of theory to be worked out (by which I mean relativistic math, which is quite difficult and will take a while to do) but as far as Carlip goes, he seems on the track of something no one else I know of has tried. If it turns out he is correct, this could be a pretty big deal.

Wheeler was an awfully good relativist. This wouldn't be the first idea of his that turned out correct; for example, his original delayed choice thought experiment has turned out to be directly demonstrable in quantum optics, in the delayed choice quantum eraser.

Oct 03, 2019
This interesting article has an explanation for the discrepancy. The abstract of the paper says exactly that (I haven't looked for an accessible version of it yet). So what do you think of this idea?
It would seem to be true, everything averages out at that scale. In one of Hamed's lectures he pointed out that probing interactions at smaller length scales requires more and more energy, and there's a point reached where that much energy just collapses into black hole.

What i'd like to know, if it's so foamy, is why does a photon follow a geodesic from one region to adjacent regions? What accounts for the continuity of the curvature from region to region at macroscopic length scales?

Oct 04, 2019
@Da Schneib, Protoplasmix

The are several great videos on YouTube by Nima Arkani-Hamed that discuss this issue in great detail.
Here's a link to the Messenger series of lectures he gave at Cornell: https://www.corne...pacetime

Learned a new word in the first lecture, i hope someday to be part of the cognoscenti.

In the second lecture ("Standard models of particle physics") he mentions the HIggs field, refers to it as a "condensate that's everywhere in the universe" and interacts with the top quarks, W, Z bosons, etc., on length scales of 10^-17 cm, but does not look like the ether (hearty laughs from the audience). He's also pointed out that at the scale of the Planck length (10^-33 cm) all the fundamental forces are pretty much equal. Good lectures, next one in the series is "Space-time is doomed" -- should be pretty good, thanks again RNP :)

Oct 04, 2019

Learned a new word in the first lecture, i hope someday to be part of the cognoscenti.


Would you like an invite? :)

Oct 06, 2019
I agree, this is interesting, Carlip's glueing construction of time-less manifolds is an advance.

However, the idea introduce more problems than it solves. It removes the arrow of time, it rely on ad hoc non-quantum field quantum gravity theory to regulate singularities, it cannot predict the observed LCDM flat space, and in the line of what Protoplasmix asks it cannot - I think - reproduce the homogeneous geodesics which we know from supernova observations we have.

Re the so called inventions that break physical laws of energy or momentum conservation - the so called "NASA" inventions that NASA emphatically has declared they do not work on (but some crackpot employees on their free time) - spare me. Read the critics instead of bringing it here.

If there is truth to the whole space-time foam idea then the Big Bang is a load of b/s.


Read the paper: Carlip does the work to support modern Big Bang - LCDM - cosmology with its cosmological constant (the "L") further.

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