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Bhah_Humbug
2002-Jan-04, 04:58 PM
Folks,
You probably beat this to death already, but could someone clarify the notion of the energy potential of empty space?

ljbrs
2002-Jan-05, 09:22 PM
Bhah_Humbug:



Folks,
You probably beat this to death already, but could someone clarify the notion of the energy potential of empty space?

The idea right now is that the vacuum energy of the cosmos (which is thought to be separating the great galactic groups of our universe) is the energy of the virtual particles (particles and their anti-particles) which, in the particle accelerators are viewed as coming into existence and immediately annihilating each other (thereby breaking no rules of physics). This energy has been, variously, named: *Lambda* (after Einstein's term), *Quintessence*, *Vacuum Energy*, and *Dark Energy*. More terms probably will be added to the growing list. However, eventually, one of them will be selected over the others. I have an idea that *Lambda* (in honor of *Einstein's greatest blunder*) will win out in the long run, particularly since it already has a Greek letter, *Lambda*, waiting in the wings, is short, and, more particularly, is a posthumous honor to the great Albert Einstein, himself.

It is this vacuum energy (viewed in particle accelerator experiments) that has been postulated as being the energy which is driving the large galactic groups apart. Whatever the name, SOMETHING is driving the accelerated expansion of the universe which has been repeatedly observed and measured, using Type IA Supernovas combined with Redshift, and which has been continuously viewed as accelerating the expansion throughout the continuing study. The two groups of astrophysicists and cosmologists (the *Supernova Cosmology Project* and the *High-Z SN Search Team*) involved were attempting to find the rate of deceleration and were knocked out of their socks by the data which contradicted their expectations. The study received the *Discovery of the Year* in the 12/18/98 issue of SCIENCE. Exciting!

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

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*Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error.* Goethe

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ljbrs on 2002-01-05 16:27 ]</font>