Are Virtual Particles A New Layer of Reality? | Space Time

Let me tell you a story about virtual particles. It may or may not be true. You can further support us on Patreon at Get your …


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  1. So, is it like we don't really move ourselves as objects 'through' space, more that our particles interact with new areas exciting them into actuality out of a virtual field?

  2. If there's no chance of quantum fluctuations in the vacuum becoming real particles, then what are those hypotheses that say new big bangs might spring forth due to quantum fluctuations a very long time after the heat death of the universe based on? Or are none of those put forth by anyone who understands QFT better?

  3. So is Hawking Radiation something like…? The vacuum has latent potential expressed by the non-zero zero point. That potential would only (possibly?) be realized if something were to interact with the vacuum state. The event horizon interacts with the vacuum and in some cases particle anti-particle pairs produced from the vacuum are separated.

  4. What you said about pure modes reminded me of a Fourier transform, specifically when a complex wave is broken down into a sum of simpler pure waves that add and cancel to form the original. The simpler waves don't really exist either. Is this anywhere near?

  5. Can someone PLEASE answer this question. If virtual particles don’t exist, then how does the Casmir Effect work? And most importantly, most of our mass comes from the energy of virtual particles being created from the bonds of quarks (veritasium video). So how will that work if virtual particles don’t exist????

  6. Here's a filter for the Fermi Paradox: agriculture. It leads to ever evolving technology, increased population, more complex societies, and drives out hunter/gatherers since it clears wild lands and replaces them with farmland. We are the only species to develop agriculture and it did not spread to every population on the planet even. Until the age of Exploration, it was limited to Eurasia and some parts of Africa. The Polynesians had limited agriculture, but their island based existence limited them from growing to a large population since islands are very limited in land and clearing tropical and subtropical islands tends to destroy the ecosystem so badly that they become uninhabitable or can not support large populations by agriculture alone.

  7. I was gonna say… virtual particles sound like an extension of possibility space… which you can imagine existing as temporary parallel universes

  8. I think the main event in the development of modern humans was the invention of language. It lets us join efforts through social hierarchies and interactions. I believe musical and mathematical activities use exactly those same linguistic/symbolic adaptations.

  9. This was such a relief to me! I've always been suspicious of the existence of virtual particles. I mean if they were real, why call them "virtual"?

  10. Does Lattice Field theory still account for the Casimir effect? Can we have more on LFT please? BTW, my virtual particle has huge probilitities. "Oh you did not".

  11. Also, such a chain of soft or lesser filters, to be able to add up to a hard or great filter, must require all of them to be passed. If you have, say, twelve lesser filters on the way from "a star" to "a star system with a technological civilisation capable of interstellar-range signals" and they must all be met (which is the case if they are barriers in terms of star type, planetary makeup or evolutionary hurdles), and each is a one in ten chance, you get in total an expected one civilisation for each 10^12 stars – and us being alone in the milky way becomes rather expected.

    If, on the other hand, only one of those filters needs to be passed (as is probably the case with societal factors), the probably of passing at least one out of those twelve filters becomes 1-0.9^12=0.72.

  12. But why would there be virtual particles going "the wrong direction" on an electron-positron interaction, but not in an electron-electron interaction? In fact, why would the infinite possibilities of interaction between particles be different from one interaction to another? From my understanding, virtual particles are gonna hoop and loop and go 88mph on every interaction, regardless of the real particles. This feels to me like a Texas Sharpshooter fallacy where only the contributions that will end up giving the right result are added up.

  13. For not seeing other aliens it could be as simple that interstellar space travel isn't all that easy to do and not worth the effort whether you like that idea or not.

  14. Most of us who need food go to their local supermarket, Cavemen OTOH set out on a hunting party.
    And there are millions of other similar examples, of a higher technology doing stuff cavemen wouldn't do, because they couldn't even imagine it in the first place. And then there are the rules, don't kill, don't rape, don't steal…all perfectly expected behaviour when you are living a million years ago environment.
    Compared to the 'Aliens' we can't detect, we are truly backward and the difference is a lot more than few million years.
    We can't see them because 1 – They don't want to be discovered. and 2 – No one is allowed to break rule 1.

  15. yes! YEEESSS!!!! I've been waiting for en episode to explain virtual particles for literally the entire time I've been subbed to Space Time! (LITERALLY) Thank you!

  16. Aren't these "particles " simply the energy exchanged between colliding particles resulting from their sub particles relative position, spin etc. At the moment of collision?

  17. But I've seen YouTube videos and read that the mass of the nucleus of atoms (only with atomic weight above hydrogen?) is mostly the result of the myriad virtual particles exchanged by the nucleons. How can virtual particles, which you demonstrate here don't actually occur, contribute to the mass of an atomic nucleaus?

    Matt, did I miss yet another subtle point about QFT?

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