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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Vacuum energy

Quantum physics, and the widely accepted and experimentally tested Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle implies that no 'vacuum' can be truly empty. At all times, innumerable quantised 'virtual particles' must be coming into existence and then disappearing. These particle must have a collective 'mass' - or, according to Einstein's relativity theory, an equivalent energy. Calculations regarding the Universe's 'vacuum energy' vary enormously.

According to calculations that take into account the Cosmological Constantplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigCosmological Constant Problem

The cosmological constant problem is the disagreement in 'measured' values of the cosmological constant and theoretical calculations of its value.

The cosmological constant was first proposed by Einstein as a mathematical necessity to rat…
, the energy should be around 10−9 joules per cubic meter.

If on the other hand the calculation is based around Quantum Electrodynamic theory and the Planck Constant, the figure is 10113 joules per cubic meter.

One (or both) of the calculations must be wrong - with an error margin of more than 120 orders of magnitude - making it the most spectacular mathematical disagreement in all of physics.

The lack of agreement has profound implications for theories of Gravityplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigGravity

Although three of the four (known) fundamental forces have been unified by one paradigm called the Standard Model, Gravity remains outside.

Like General Relativity, Gravity appears, so far, not to fit. This doesn't necessarily mean that Standard Model has fai…
, Dark Energyplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigDark Energy

"“The observational results of the latest 15 to 20 years have established a standard model for the cosmology which has some amazing consequences. A mysterious entity, the dark energy, has been confirmed as the dominant component of the Universe, and is als…
, Dark Matterplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigDark Matter

"“The nature of the dominant component of galaxies and clusters remains unknown.”

Source: Measuring the dark matter equation of state (Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 415, L74–L77)"

In the 1930s, astronomical observations of galaxy rotations showed that the ou…
, the expansion of the Universeplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigExpansion of the universe

Note: This item belongs to a special case - Known Unknowables

Current cosmological theory, backed up by many diverse observations, suggests that the universe is not only expanding, but that the speed of expansion is accelerating
and black holes etc etc.

See: Wikipedia


Also see: Cosmological Constant Problemplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigCosmological Constant Problem

The cosmological constant problem is the disagreement in 'measured' values of the cosmological constant and theoretical calculations of its value.

The cosmological constant was first proposed by Einstein as a mathematical necessity to rat…

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