Experiment Creates Matter From Nothing

BAYLOR

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A paradox which isn't a paradox .:unsure:Fascinating.:(
 

Wayne Mack

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The odd thing was that minutes before I saw this article, I saw a comic strip referencing this phenomenon. I also posted the comic strip in the humor forum.
 

Parson

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Let's let Bob Dylan pontificate:

Too much of nothin' can make a man feel ill at ease
One man's temper might rise, while the other man's temper might freeze.
In the days of long confessions, we can not mock a soul
When there's too much of nothin', no one has control.

Say hello to Valerie, say hello to Marion,
Send them all my salary, on the waters of oblivion.

Too much of nothin' can make a man abuse a king
He can walk the streets and boast like most but he don't know a thing.
It's all been done before, it's all been written in the book.
But when it's too much of nothin', nobody should look.

Say hello to Valerie, say hello to Marion,
Send them all my salary, on the waters of oblivion.
Too much of nothin' can turn a man into a liar

It can cause some man to sleep on nails, another man to eat fire.
Everybody's doin' somethin', I heard it in a dream
But when it's too much of nothin', it just makes a fella mean.

Say hello to Valerie, say hello to Marion,
Send them all my salary, on the waters of oblivion.
 

Bren G

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But is this true exactly? In the first example, the new particles that are created out of 'nowhere' were the result of a collision of two particles (which is something in our physical world). In the second case, graphene is used to create an electric field. Graphene as I just googled :) is a carbon structure (also something, not nothing).

Maybe as George Harrison notes, there's, 'Something in the things she shows me'. That something isn't the empty space but the thing that brought something else out it.

Either way, very neat stuff!
 

Vertigo

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But is this true exactly? In the first example, the new particles that are created out of 'nowhere' were the result of a collision of two particles (which is something in our physical world). In the second case, graphene is used to create an electric field. Graphene as I just googled :) is a carbon structure (also something, not nothing).

Maybe as George Harrison notes, there's, 'Something in the things she shows me'. That something isn't the empty space but the thing that brought something else out it.

Either way, very neat stuff!
In both those cases there is now one or more new particles without change (reduction) of the existing matter. In the first one there is a collision but it is not a destructive one; the two original particles still exist along with another that didn't exist before. In the second one the particle is not created out of the graphene it was spontaneously created in the space between the graphene plates. No graphene was lost so it is not created from the graphene any more than it was created from the walls of the container enclosing the vacuum.

So, yes, I'd say the statement is true. Accept possibly we need to reconsider our definition of nothing!
 
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Biskit

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In both those cases there is now one or more new particles with change (reduction) of the existing matter. In the first one there is a collision but it is not a destructive one; the two original particles still exist along with another that didn't exist before. In the second one the particle is not created out of the graphene it was spontaneously created in the space between the graphene plates. No graphene was lost so it is not created from the graphene any more than it was created from the walls of the container enclosing the vacuum.

So, yes, I'd say the statement is true. Accept possibly we need to reconsider our definition of nothing!

This is all about experimental demonstration of the Schwinger effect which predicts the spontaneous creation of pairs of particles in a strong electric field, but not out of "nothing" as the mass created results in a corresponding reduction of the energy of the electric field, and the two particles in the pair have equal+opposite charges, spins, momentum etc, so all the requirements for conservation of energy, charge, spin etc are met.

This case is an analogue in graphene where it's possible to create fields large enough. The practical problem with the pure Schwinger effects is the size of electric field needed is not currently possible. (Or not if you want survivors to report the experiment:rolleyes:.)

But yes, we do have to reconsider our definition of nothing because the whole point of the Schwinger effect is that it relates to the quantum field fluctuations in a vacuum. Nothing is a very busy place. :LOL:
 

Venusian Broon

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In both those cases there is now one or more new particles with change (reduction) of the existing matter. In the first one there is a collision but it is not a destructive one; the two original particles still exist along with another that didn't exist before. In the second one the particle is not created out of the graphene it was spontaneously created in the space between the graphene plates. No graphene was lost so it is not created from the graphene any more than it was created from the walls of the container enclosing the vacuum.

So, yes, I'd say the statement is true. Accept possibly we need to reconsider our definition of nothing!

The physicists view of 'nothing' hasn't changed. However, it refers to the vacuum state with no matter and no other fields. In real life that's somewhat possible by removing all matter and shielding for EM fields, but gravity is currently impossible to shield, as the article discusses.

But the vacuum state, even if one could shield for gravity would still, on quantum scales should have structure and allow for the spontaneous creation of matter via energy fluctuations.

Which is how the above experiments create out of 'nothing' - energy is still required to be converted into matter in the vacuum state. It's the same sort of process when a gamma-ray photon, say...an electromagnetic wave with an energy of about 0.51MeV, can change into an electron-positron pair. (Just think about it for a second, isn't it weird that an EM wave can change into something 'solid' like an electron!)

We're used to fundamentally destroying matter, via fission processes, which liberates energy. This is just the opposite process - using energy to create matter.

"True nothing" would have no properties at all.

TLDR; when a physicist talks about 'nothing' they usually mean 'something'. And that something has properties that can lead to spontaneous creation of matter, given the right conditions.
 

Vertigo

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Yes my point was that it is not being created out of the graphene or out of the two colliding particles. But, of course, the conservation of energy and stuff is still maintained as you both explain. Which comes back to the definition of 'nothing' and physicists and laymen having rather different definitions!
 

Venusian Broon

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Yes my point was that it is not being created out of the graphene or out of the two colliding particles. But, of course, the conservation of energy and stuff is still maintained as you both explain. Which comes back to the definition of 'nothing' and physicists and laymen having rather different definitions!
To be fair, it feels like some, even biggest physicists/cosmologists easily confuse "physical nothing" (which is something) with "philosophical nothing" (which is nothing) - or at least can be interpreted thusly by us plebs listening to them. :LOL:

The big question, of course, is "Why is there something rather than nothing?". However I think I'll go with Bertrand Russell's answer: "Because there is." It's not a satisfactory answer, but it's better than trying to prove an uncaused first cause.
 

Bren G

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Wonderful additions folks! You really taught me something about physics. Before that, I realize now, that I really knew nothing. (I mean... I knew something truly, but not a lot). :censored:
 

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