Thought for the month

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.” Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (1623 – 62).

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

And then there was ...

A group of physicists working at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have succeeded in proving that visible photons can be produced from the virtual particles that have been thought to exist in a quantum vacuum. The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness; it teems with virtual particles flitting in and out of existence. Using the vibrational speeds associated with a superconducting quantum interference device to enact the dynamical Casmir effect the team was able to convert the virtual photons into real ones. Almost magical.

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