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> THE ENERGY OF EMPTY SPACE THAT ISN'T ZERO, THE ENERGY OF EMPTY SPACE THAT ISN'T ZERO
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post Jul 10, 2006, 07:44 AM
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http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/krauss06/k...06.2_index.html

I invited a group of cosmologists, experimentalists, theorists, and
particle physicists and cosmologists. Stephen Hawking came; we had
three Nobel laureates, Gerard 'tHooft, David Gross, Frank Wilczek;
well-known cosmologists and physicists such as Jim Peebles at
Princeton, Alan Guth at MIT, Kip Thorne at Caltech, Lisa Randall at
Harvard; experimentalists, such as Barry Barish of LIGO, the
gravitational wave observatory; we had observational cosmologists,
people looking at the cosmic microwave background; we had Maria
Spiropulu from CERN, who's working on the Large Hadron Collider —
which a decade ago people wouldn't have thought it was a probe of
gravity, but now due to recent work in the possibility of extra
dimensions it might be.

THE ENERGY OF EMPTY SPACE THAT ISN'T ZERO [7.6.06]
A Talk with Lawrence Krauss

The topic of the meeting was "Confronting Gravity." Krauss intended to
have "a meeting where people would look forward to the key issues
facing fundamental physics and cosmology". They could meet, discuss,
relax on the beach, and take a trip to the nearby private island
retreat of the science philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein, who funded the
event.

I just returned from the Virgin Islands, from a delightful event — a
conference in St. Thomas — that I organized with 21 physicists. I like
small events, and I got to hand-pick the people. The topic of the
meeting was "Confronting Gravity. " I wanted to have a meeting where
people would look forward to the key issues facing fundamental physics
and cosmology. And if you think about it they all revolve in one way
or another around gravity. Someone at the meeting said, well, you
know, don't we understand gravity? Things fall. But really, many of
the key ideas that right now are at the forefront of particle physics
cosmology, relate to our lack of understanding of how to accommodate
gravity and quantum mechanics.

I invited a group of cosmologists, experimentalists, theorists, and
particle physicists and cosmologists. Stephen Hawking came; we had
three Nobel laureates, Gerard 'tHooft, David Gross, Frank Wilczek;
well-known cosmologists and physicists such as Jim Peebles at
Princeton, Alan Guth at MIT, Kip Thorne at Caltech, Lisa Randall at
Harvard; experimentalists, such as Barry Barish of LIGO, the
gravitational wave observatory; we had observational cosmologists,
people looking at the cosmic microwave background; we had Maria
Spiropulu from CERN, who's working on the Large Hadron Collider —
which a decade ago people wouldn't have thought it was a probe of
gravity, but now due to recent work in the possibility of extra
dimensions it might be.

I wanted to have a series of sessions where we would, each of us, try
and speak somewhat provocatively about what each person was thinking
about, what the key issues are, and then have a lot of open time for
discussion. And so the meeting was devoted with a lot of open time for
discussion, a lot of individual time for discussion, as well as some
fun things like going down in a submarine, which we did. It was a
delightful event, where we defied gravity by having buoyancy, I guess.

I came away from this meeting realizing that the search for
gravitational waves may be the next frontier. For a long time I
pooh-poohed it in my mind, because it was clear it's going to be a
long time before we could ever detect them if they're there, and it
wasn't clear to me what we'd learn — except that they exist. But one
of the key worries I have as a cosmologist right now is that we have
these ideas and these parameters and every experiment is consistent
with this picture, and yet nothing points to the fundamental physics
beneath it.

It's been very frustrating for particle physicists, and some people
might say it's led to sensory deprivation, which has resulted in
hallucination otherwise known as string theory. And that could be
true. But in cosmology what we're having now is this cockamamie
universe. We've discovered a tremendous amount. We've discovered the
universe is flat, which most of us theorists thought we knew in
advance, because it's the only beautiful universe. But why is it flat?
It's full of not just dark matter, but this crazy stuff called dark
energy, that no one understands. This was an amazing discovery in 1998
or so.

What's happened since then is every single experiment agrees with this
picture without adding insight into where it comes from. Similarly all
the data is consistent with ideas from inflation and everything is
consistent with the simplest predictions of that, but not in a way
that you can necessarily falsify it. Everything is consistent with
this dark energy that looks like a cosmological constant; which tells
us nothing.

It's a little subtle, but I'll try and explain it.

We've got this weird antigravity in the universe, which is making the
expansion of the universe accelerate. Now: if you plug in the
equations of general relativity, the only thing that can
'anti-gravitate' is the energy of nothing. Now: this has been a
problem in physics since I've been a graduate student. It was such a
severe problem we never talked about it. When you apply quantum
mechanics and special relativity, empty space inevitably has energy.
The problem is, way too much energy. It has 120 orders of magnitude
more energy than is contained in everything we see!

Now that is the worst prediction in all of physics. You might say, if
that's such a bad prediction, then how do we know empty space can have
energy? The answer is, we know empty space isn't empty, because it's
full of these virtual particles that pop in and out of existence, and
we know that because if you try and calculate the energy level in a
hydrogen atom, and you don't include those virtual particles, you get
a wrong answer. One of the greatest developments in physics in the
20th century was to realize that when you incorporate special
relativity in quantum mechanics you have virtual particles that can
pop in and out of existence, and they change the nature of a hydrogen
atom, because a hydrogen atom isn't just a proton and electron.

That's the wrong picture, because every now and then you have an
electron positron pair that pops into existence. And the electron is
going to want to hang around near the proton because it's oppositely
charged, the positron is going to be pushed out to the outskirts of
the atom, and while they're there they change the charged distribution
in the atom in a very small, but calculable, way. Feynman and others
calculated that effect, which allows us to get agreement between
theory and observation at the level of nine decimal places. It's the
best prediction in all of science. There's no other place in science
where, from fundamental principles, you can calculate a number and
compare it to an experiment at nine decimal places like that.

But then when we ask, if they're there, how much should they
contribute to the energy in the universe, we come up with the worst
prediction in physics. it says if empty space has so much energy we
shouldn't be here. And physicists like me, theoretical physicists,
knew they had the answer. They didn't know how to get there. It
reminds me or the Sidney Harris cartoon where you've got this big
equation, and the answer, and the middle step says "And then a miracle
occurs". And then one scientist says to another, "I think you have to
be a little more specific at this step right here".

The answer had to be zero. The energy of empty space had to be
precisely zero. Why? Because you've got these virtual particles that
are apparently contributing huge amounts of energy, you can imagine in
physics, how underlying symmetries in nature can produce exact
cancellations — that happens all the time. Symmetries produce two
numbers that are exactly equal and opposite because somewhere there's
an underlying mathematical symmetry of equations. So that you can
understand how symmetries could somehow cause an exact cancellation of
the energy of empty space.

There appears to be energy of empty space that isn't zero! This flies
in the face of all conventional wisdom in theoretical particle
physics. It is the most profound shift in thinking, perhaps the most
profound puzzle, in the latter half of the 20th century. And it may be
the first half of the 21st century, or maybe go all the way to the
22nd century. Because, unfortunately, I happen to think we won't be
able to rely on experiment to resolve this problem.

But what you couldn't understand was how to cancel a number to a
hundred and twenty decimal places and leave something finite left
over. You can't take two numbers that are very large and expect them
to almost exactly cancel leaving something that's 120 orders of
magnitude smaller left over. And that's what would be required to have
an energy that was comparable with the observational upper limits on
the energy of empty space.

We knew the answer. There was a symmetry and the number had to be
exactly zero. Well, what have we discovered? There appears to be this
energy of empty space that isn't zero! This flies in the face of all
conventional wisdom in theoretical particle physics. It is the most
profound shift in thinking, perhaps the most profound puzzle, in the
latter half of the 20th century. And it may be the first half of the
21st century, or maybe go all the way to the 22nd century. Because,
unfortunately, I happen to think we won't be able to rely on
experiment to resolve this problem. When we look out at the universe,
if this dark energy is something that isn't quite an energy of empty
space but its just something that's pretending to be that, we might
measure that it's changing over time.

Then we would know that the actual energy of empty space is really
zero but this is some cockamamie thing that's pretending to be energy
of empty space. And many people have hoped they'd see that is because
then you wouldn't need quantum gravity, which is a theory we don't yet
have, to understand this apparent dark energy. Indeed, one of the
biggest failures of string theory's many failures, I think, is it
never successfully addressed this cosmological constant problem. You'd
think if you had a theory of quantum gravity, it would explain
precisely what the energy of empty space should be. And we don't have
any other theory that addresses that problem either! But if this thing
really isn't vacuum energy, then it's something else, then you might
be able to find out what it is, and learn and do physics without
having to understand quantum gravity.

The problem is, when we actually look out, every measure we've made
right now is completely consistent with a constant energy in the
universe over cosmological time. And that's consistent with the
cosmological constant, with vacuum energy. So if you make the
measurement that it's consistent with that, you learn nothing. Because
it doesn't tell you that it is vacuum energy, because there could be
other things that could mimic it. The only observation that would tell
you, give you positive information is if you could measure it was
changing over time. Then you'd know it wasn't vacuum energy.

All if we keep measuring this quantity better and better and better,
it is quite possible that we will find out it looks more and more like
a vacuum energy, and we're going to learn nothing. And the only way to
resolve this problem will be to have a theory. And theories are a lot
harder to come by than experiments. Good ideas are few and far
between. And what we're really going to need is a good idea, and it
may require an understanding of quantum gravity, or it may require
that you throw up your hands, which is what we're learning that a lot
of people are willing to do. In the Virgin Islands we had a session
on the anthropic principle, and what is surprising is how many
physicists have really said, you know, maybe the answer is an
anthropic one. Twenty years ago if you'd asked physicists if they
would hope that one day we'll have a theory that tells us why the
universe is the way it is, you would have heard a resounding 'Yes'.
They would all say 'that's why I got into physics'.

They might paraphrase Einstein, who said, while referring to God but
not really meaning God, that the question that really interested him
is did God have any choice in the creation of the universe. What he
really meant by that was, is there only one consistent set of laws
that works. If you changed one — if you twiddled one aspect of
physical reality — would it all fall apart? Or are there lots of
possible viable physical realities?

Twenty years ago most physicists would have said, on the basis of 450
years of science, that they believed that there's only one allowed law
of nature that works, that ultimately we might discover fundamental
symmetries and mathematical principles that cause the nature to be the
way it is, because it's always worked that way.

So that is the way science has worked. But now because of this energy
of empty space — which is so inexplicable that if it really is an
energy of empty space, the value of that number is so ridiculous that
it's driven people to think that maybe, maybe it's an accident of our
environment, that physics is an environmental science — that certain
fundamental constants in nature may just be accidents, and there may
be many different universes, in which the laws of physics are
different, and the reasons those constants have the values they have
might be — in our universe — might be because we're there to observe
them.

This is not intelligent design; it's the opposite of intelligent
design. It's a kind of cosmic natural selection. The qualities we have
exist because we can survive in this environment. That's natural
selection, right? If we couldn't survive we wouldn't be around. Well,
it's the same with the universe. We live in a universe — in this
universe — we've evolved in this universe, because this universe is
conducive to life. There may be other universes that aren't conducive
to life, and lo and behold there isn't life in them. That's the kind
of cosmic natural selection.

We're allowed to presume anything; the key question is, is it a
scientific question to presume there are other universes? That's
something we were looking at in the meeting as well. I wrote a piece
where I argued that is a disservice to evolutionary theory to call
string theory a theory, for example. Because it's clearly not a theory
in the same sense that evolutionary theory is, or that quantum
electrodynamics is, because those are robust theories that make
rigorous predictions that can be falsified. And string theory is just
a formalism now that one day might be a theory. And when I'm
lecturing, talking about science, people say to me, evolution is just
a theory, I say, in science theory means a different thing, and they
say, what do you mean? Look at string theory, how can you falsify
that? It's no worse than intelligent design.

I do think there are huge differences between string theory and
intelligent design. People who are doing string theory are earnest
scientists who are trying to come up with ideas that are viable.
People who are doing intelligent design aren't doing any of that. But
the question is, is it falsifiable? And do we do a disservice to real
theories by calling hypotheses or formalisms theories? Is a multiverse
— in one form or another — science?

In my sarcastic moments I've argued that the reason that some string
theorists have latched onto the landscape idea so much is that since
string theory doesn't make any predictions, it's good to have a
universe where you can't make any predictions. But less sarcastically,
if you try and do science with idea, you can try and do real science
and calculate probabilities. But whatever you do, you find that all
you get is suggestive arguments. Because if you don't have an
underlying theory, you never know.

I say, well, what's the probability of our universe having a vacuum
energy if it is allowed to vary over different universes? Then I come
up with some result which is interesting, and Steven Weinberg was one
of the first people to point out, that if the value of the energy of
empty space was much greater than it is, then galaxies wouldn't have
formed, and astronomers wouldn't have formed, so that gave the
anthropic argument that, well, maybe that's why it is what it is — it
can't be much more.

But the problem is, you don't know if that's the only quantity that's
varying! Maybe there are other quantities that are varying. Whatever
you're doing is always a kind of ad hoc suggestive thing at best. You
can debate it, but it doesn't lead very far. It's not clear to me that
the landscape idea will be anything but impotent. Ultimately it might
lead to interesting suggestions about things, but real progress will
occur when we actually have new ideas. If string theory is the right
direction, and I'm willing to argue that it might be, even if there's
just no evidence that it is right now, then a new idea that tells us a
fundamental principle for how to turn that formalism to a theory will
give us a direction that will turn into something fruitful. Right now
we're floundering. We're floundering, in a lot of different areas.

As a theorist, when I go to meetings I often get much more out of the
experimental talks. Because I often know what's going on in theory, or
at least I like to think I do. I was profoundly affected by the
experimental talks. In principle, we are now able to be sensitive to
gravitational waves that might change a meter stick that's three
kilometers long by a length equal to less than the size of atom!. It's
just amazing that we have the technology to do that. While that is not
actually detecting any gravitational waves, there's no technological
obstructions, to going to the advanced stage. Gravitational waves may
be indeed allow us a probe that might take us beyond our current state
of having observations that don't lead anywhere. I was very impressed
with these findings.

At the same time, that we had a talk from Eric Adelberger at the
University of Washington, who's been trying to measure Newton's Law on
small scales. You might think, who would want to measure Newton's Law
on small scales? But one of the suggestions for extra dimensions is
that on small scales and gravity has a different behavior. There has
been some tantalizing evidence that went through the rumor mills that
had suggested that in these experiments in Seattle they were seeing
evidence for deviations from Newton's Theory. And Attleburger talked
about some beautiful experiments. As a theorist, I'm just always
amazed they can even do these experiments. And gave some new results,
there are some tentative new results, which of course are not a
surprise to me, that suggest that there is as yet no evidence for a
deviation from Newton's Theory.

Many of the papers in particle physics over the last five to seven
years have been involved with the idea of extra dimensions of one sort
or another. And while it's a fascinating idea, but I have to say,
it's looking to me like it's not yet leading anywhere. The
experimental evidence against it is combining with what I see as a
theoretical diffusion — a breaking off into lots of parts. That's
happened with string theory. I can see it happening with
extra-dimensional arguments. We're seeing that the developments from
this idea which has captured the imaginations of many physicists,
hasn't been compelling.

Right now it's clear that what we really need is some good new ideas.
Fundamental physics is really at kind of a crossroads. The
observations have just told us that the universe is crazy, but hasn't
told us what direction the universe is crazy in. The theories have
been incredibly complex and elaborate, but haven't yet made any
compelling inroads. That can either be viewed as depressing or
exciting. For young physicists it's exciting in the sense that it
means that the field is ripe for something new.

The great hope for particle physics, which may be a great hope for
quantum gravity, is the next large particle accelerator. We've gone 30
years without a fundamentally new accelerator that can probe a totally
new regime of the sub-atomic world. We would have had it if our
legislators had not been so myopic. It's amazing to think that if they
hadn't killed the superconducting Super Collider it would have been
already been running for ten years.

The Large Hadron Collider is going to come on-line next year. And one
of two things could happen: It could either reveal a fascinating new
window on the universe and a whole new set of phenomena that will
validate or refute the current prevailing ideas in theoretical
particle physics, supersymmetry etc, or it might see absolutely
nothing. I'm not sure which I'm rooting for. But it is at least a
hope, finally, that we may get an empirical handle that will at least
constrain the wild speculation that theorists like me might make.

Such a handle comes out of the impact of the recent cosmic microwave
background (CMB) studies on Inflation Theory. I read in the New York
Times that Alan Guth was smiling, and Alan Guth was sitting next to me
at the conference when I handed him the article. He was smiling, but
he always smiles, so I didn't know what to make much of it, but I
think that the results that came out of the cosmic microwave
background (CMB) studies were twofold.

Indeed, as the Times suggested, they validate the notions of
inflation. But I think that's just journalists searching for a story.
Because if you look at what quantitatively has come out of the new
results they're exactly consistent with the old results. Which also
validate inflation. They reduce the error bars a little bit, by a
factor of two. I don't know if that is astounding. But what is
intriguing to me is that while everything is consistent with the
simplest models, there's one area where there's a puzzle. On the
largest scales, when we look out at the universe, there doesn't seem
to be enough structure — not as much as inflation would predict. Now
the question is, is that a statistical fluke?

That is, we live in one universe, so we're a sample of one. With a
sample of one, you have what is called a large sample variance. And
maybe this just means we're lucky, that we just happen to live in a
universe where the number's smaller than you'd predict. But when you
look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is
in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around
the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy.
We're looking out at the whole universe. There's no way there should
be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the
sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would
say we are truly the center of the universe.

The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong and
we're the center of the universe, or maybe the data is imply
incorrect, or maybe it's telling us there's something weird about the
microwave background results and that maybe, maybe there's something
wrong with our theories on the larger scales. And of course as a
theorist I'm certainly hoping it's the latter, because I want theory
to be wrong, not right, because if it's wrong there's still work left
for the rest of us.
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lucid_dream
post Jul 10, 2006, 09:41 AM
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interesting post
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post Jul 12, 2006, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Jul 10, 09:41 AM) *

interesting post

Crazy article indeed! In a good way, of course! Very entertaining and, actually, fascinating! Thanks again, Culture! Keep 'm coming, now! Don't hold back! How are thing in Nam; with this North Korea stuff going on, you know!
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post Jul 12, 2006, 10:03 PM
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Science mirrors the state of our consciousness and the degree of our self-knowledge.
There is a universal law of correspondence -- on every plane, in each realm, we can take or are entitled to what corresponds to our state of consciousness.
Do scientists believe that they can get to the Heart of Reality by more potent particle accelerators !? Pure hearts perceive the Highest.
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post Jul 13, 2006, 07:02 AM
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QUOTE(Guest @ Jul 12, 10:03 PM) *

Do scientists believe that they can get to the Heart of Reality by more potent particle accelerators !?


Hey! Any better suggestions are always welcome! So long as they are not in the order or the 'read the bible' kind of suggestion.
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post Jul 13, 2006, 04:19 PM
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There are higher laws the science is unaware of. Beyond quantum physics what governs the universe are the laws of consciousness and spirit. If the scientists want to understand ultimate reality, they will have to raise their consciousness.

Have you read "Spiritual Laws" by Ralph Waldo Emerson ?

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post Jul 20, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Did God get where it was by expanding its consciousness?
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Enki
post Jul 30, 2006, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE(Culture @ Jul 10, 07:44 AM) *

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/krauss06/k...06.2_index.html

I invited a group of cosmologists, experimentalists, theorists, and
particle physicists and cosmologists. Stephen Hawking came; we had
three Nobel laureates, Gerard 'tHooft, David Gross, Frank Wilczek;
well-known cosmologists and physicists such as Jim Peebles at
Princeton, Alan Guth at MIT, Kip Thorne at Caltech, Lisa Randall at
Harvard; experimentalists, such as Barry Barish of LIGO, the
gravitational wave observatory; we had observational cosmologists,
people looking at the cosmic microwave background; we had Maria
Spiropulu from CERN, who's working on the Large Hadron Collider —
which a decade ago people wouldn't have thought it was a probe of
gravity, but now due to recent work in the possibility of extra
dimensions it might be.

THE ENERGY OF EMPTY SPACE THAT ISN'T ZERO [7.6.06]
A Talk with Lawrence Krauss

The topic of the meeting was "Confronting Gravity." ****


How sad that I live here

Dear Culture,
If you are close with the group, please forward the statements below to one of them. Just write that Enki told

1. Тhe concept of Ether must be reanimated.
2. But the Ether must be considered as a fixed geometric construct made of fixed elements in space (like atoms in lattice of crystal ) able to fluctuate like oscillators near some equilibrium state. The waves originating in the Ether can spread throughout space like phonons in the crystals. Let call those phonons of the Either ephons.
3. When in a very small part of the space the density of ephons passing from dxdydz very small part of the space increases then there the "matter" appears: photons, electrons, protons, neutrons.
4. Space dependent density function of the ephons has discreet nature. That formula must be derived. The discrete values provide existence of stable particles. Transitional values provide unstable particles. Some space fluctuations of ephons can preserve for very long period of time and go throughout all the Universe like neutrino.

And tell to the person you will transfer that Message of Enki, that my e-mail is: enkiandsumer@gmail.com .

Who knows, I may disappear again. Let something remain for this world after the Enki.

Anyone who will make proper forwarding of this Message to proper person will be greatly rewarded during his lifetime by the Great Old Democrate. wink.gif

With best wishes,
Yours Enki,
31 July 2006 AD

PS: It is a good exemplification of the so called “inborn” ideas of Descartes we were ‘chatting’ with Rick for a long period of time in the “What is God?” section. smile.gif In the old times it was called revelation of God (something like the dreams of Descartes and Pascal they have described in their papers). laugh.gif
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Enki
post Aug 01, 2006, 01:34 PM
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It looks like the cosmologists dislike the theory of mine. laugh.gif
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