Ok, I have got the song “Kids” by MGMT stuck in my head and therefore have been listening to it for the whole day and it’s really making me think about when you were younger how lots of things didn’t or did matter so much more than today. I don’t even know why, but it really made me want to…
Under just the right conditions it could be possible to create something out of nothing.
The University of Michigan scientists and engineers have developed new equations that show how a high-energy electron beam combined with an intense laser pulse could rip apart a vacuum into its fundamental matter and antimatter components, and set off a cascade of events that generates additional several hundred pairs of particles and antiparticles. A process that happens in nature near pulsars and neutron stars.
At the heart of this work is the idea that a vacuum is not exactly nothing, but rather the combination of matter and antimatter — particles and antiparticles. Their density is tremendous, but we cannot perceive any of them because their observable effects entirely destroy each other when they come into contact under normal conditions.
But in a strong electromagnetic field, this annihilation can be the source of new particles. In the course of the annihilation, gamma photons —a high-energy particle of light— appear, which can produce additional electrons and positrons. These new equations model how a strong laser field could promote the creation of more particles than were initially injected into an experiment through a particle accelerator.
If the electron has a capability to become three particles within a very short time, this means it’s not an electron any longer. The theory of the electron is based on the fact that it will be an electron forever. But in this experiment each of the charged particles becomes a combination of three particles plus some number of photons.
The basic question what is a vacuum, and what is nothing, goes beyond science. It’s embedded deeply in the base not only of theoretical physics, but of our philosophical perception of everything—-of reality, of life, even the religious question of could the universe have come from nothing.