It seems that the more I study the "aether" issue, the less I know.
Consider this:

Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space 
throughout the entire Universe.
[I suppose this is the background energy from the Big Bang][citation needed] 
One contribution to the vacuum energy may be from virtual particles, 
which are thought to be particle pairs that blink into existence and then 
annihilate in a timespan too short to observe. 
They are expected to do this everywhere, throughout the Universe. Their 
behavior is codified in Heisenberg's energy-time 
uncertainty principle. Still, the exact effect of such fleeting bits of energy 
is difficult to quantify. 
The effects of vacuum energy can be experimentally observed in various 
phenomena such as spontaneous emission, 
the Casimir effect and the Lamb shift, and are thought to influence the 
behavior of the Universe on cosmological scales. 
Using the upper limit of the cosmological constant, the vacuum energy in a 
cubic meter of free space has been estimated to be 10-9 Joules.

[1] However, in both Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Stochastic 
Electrodynamics (SED), consistency with the 
principle of Lorentz covariance and with the magnitude of the Planck Constant 
requires it to have a much larger value of 10113 Joules per cubic meter.[2][3] 

Quantum field theory states that all fundamental fields, such as the 
electromagnetic field, must be quantized at each and every point in space. 
A field in physics may be envisioned as if space were filled with 
interconnected vibrating balls and springs, and the strength of the field were
 like the displacement of a ball from its rest position. The theory requires 
"vibrations" in, or more accurately changes in the strength of, such 
a field to propagate as per the appropriate wave equation for the particular 
field in question. The second quantization of quantum field theory 
requires that each such ball-spring combination be quantized, that is, that the 
strength of the field be quantized at each point in space. 

Canonically, if the field at 
each point in space is a simple harmonic oscillator, its quantization places a 
quantum harmonic oscillator at each point. Excitations of the field
 correspond to the elementary particles of particle physics. Thus, according to 
the theory, even the vacuum has a vastly complex structure and 
all calculations of quantum field theory must be made in relation to this model 
of the vacuum. 

The theory considers vacuum to implicitly have the same properties as a 
particle, such as spin or polarization in the case of 
light, energy, and so on. According to the theory, most of these properties 
cancel out on average leaving the vacuum empty 
in the literal sense of the word. One important exception, however, is the 
vacuum energy or the vacuum expectation value of the energy. 
The quantization of a simple harmonic oscillator requires the lowest possible 
energy, or zero-point energy of such an oscillator to be: 

E =h*nu/2

Summing over all possible oscillators at all points in space gives an infinite 
quantity. To remove this infinity, one may argue 
that only differences in energy are physically measurable, much as the concept 
of potential energy has been treated in classical mechanics for centuries. 
This argument is the underpinning of the theory of renormalization. In all 
practical calculations, this is how the infinity is handled. 
Vacuum energy can also be thought of in terms of virtual particles (also known 
as vacuum fluctuations) which are created and destroyed out of the vacuum. 
These particles are always created out of the vacuum in particle-antiparticle 
pairs, which in most cases shortly annihilate each other and disappear. 
However, these particles and antiparticles may interact with others before 
disappearing, a process which can be mapped using Feynman diagrams. 
Note that this method of computing vacuum energy is mathematically equivalent 
to having a quantum harmonic oscillator at each point and, 
therefore, suffers the same renormalization problems. 

Additional contributions to the vacuum energy come from spontaneous symmetry 
breaking in quantum field theory. 

[Roger Clough], [] 
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." - Woody Allen 
----- Receiving the following content ----- 

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to