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August 5, 2010

 

God, Science & The Secret Doctrine

III

3. Zero Point Fields

also Microcosm/Macrocosm Section II - 6
Quantum physics predicts the existence of an underlying sea of zero-point energy at every point in the universe ... referred to as the electromagnetic quantum vacuum since it is the lowest state of otherwise empty space.  This energy is so enormous that most physicists believe that even though zero-point energy seems to be an inescapable consequence of elementary quantum theory, it cannot be physically real, and so is subtracted away in calculations.  From this perspective, the ordinary world of matter and energy is like a foam atop the quantum vacuum sea.  (Www.calphysics.org)

            The emerging new physics offers profound revisions of the basic concepts in science concerning the nature of space, the quantum vacuum, the zero point fields, the nature of mass and gravity.  Of course, most scientists researching such possibilities would dismiss the idea that there is anything mystical about such subjects or that their studies of the new physics have anything to do with the study of consciousness, life and the nature of Self.  However, the newest concepts in physics concerning the zero point fields illustrate and substantiate the ancient wisdom teachings about the nature of the underlying realm of Space.

            The zero point field is a ground state field of energy, which constantly interacts with all subatomic matters.  It is called the zero point field because fluctuations in the field are evident even at a temperature of absolute zero, when all matter has been removed. Fluctuations of the zero point field drive the motion of subatomic particles.  It may be likened to the Ceaseless Eternal Breath within the Eternal Parent Space (or as an underlying holomovement within the ether of the quantum vacuum in Dr. David Bohm’s theory of wholeness and the implicate order.) 

            Particles continually interact with the underlying zero point field and these interactions are mediated by virtual particles.  Virtual particles appear out of quantum vacuum, combining and annihilating each other in the briefest instances of time (approximately 10-23 seconds depending upon the mass of the particles).  All matter is supported and sustained by activity from within the underlying zero point field.  The zero point field is a repository of numerous fields and ground energy states for the different forces in nature and all the virtual particles which mediate these forces.  Thus, the zero point field is a plenum–defined by McTaggart (2002) as “a background substructure filled with things.” (p. 22)

            The dynamics of the zero point fields are now regarded as providing answers to many of the most intriguing enigmas of modern physics–such as the uncertainty principle, the wave/particle duality and the manner in which infinities continually pop up in the mathematics of quantum theory.  All of the fluctuations and motions of particles involve dynamics within the zero point field, which is itself composed of diverse subfields.    

The idea of the zero point field is derived from one of quantum physics’ central tenets: Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle.” The uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of measurement, such as the position and momentum of a particle, cannot both be known exactly at the same instant of time.  There is instead an “intrinsic quantum fuzziness in the very nature of energy and matter.”  If we attempt to precisely define the position of the particle, then uncertainty about its momentum becomes infinite; and if we attempt to exactly define its energy, then uncertainty about its position becomes infinite.  “Even at absolute zero temperature, a particle must still be jittering about: if it were at a complete standstill, its momentum and positions would both be known precisely and simultaneously, violating the uncertainty principle.”  (1997, p. 83)

Electromagnetic radiation may be pictured as waves flowing through space at the speed of light.  These waves carry energy and have specific directions, frequencies and polarizations.  These states are referred to as the various ‘propagating modes of the electromagnetic field.’  Since each of these modes is subject to the uncertainty principle, it must have a certain minimum energy (given by the formula hf/2).  Although the modes carry minuscule amounts of energy, the number of modes is enormous.  The product of the energy per mode and the huge number of modes yields a very high theoretical level of energy latent within every cubic centimeter of space.  From this line of reasoning, quantum physics predicts that all of space must be filled with electromagnetic zero-point fluctuations (also called the zero-point field) creating a universal sea of zero-point energy. www.calphysics.org. 

The Cal Tech group suggests that since space breaks down into a quantum foam at the tiny distance specified by the Planck scale (of 10-33 centimeters), the zero point fluctuations might cease at the related Planck frequency of 1043 Hertz.  In this case, “the zero-point energy density would be 110 orders of magnitude greater than the radiant energy at the center of the Sun.”  www.calphysics.org.

            The existence of the zero-point field has long lurked in the background of modern science and quantum theory in particular.  Historically, scientists have dealt with the enigmas posed by the mathematics of quantum theory by a process of the “re-normalization” of quantum field equations.  Thus, when the mathematics of quantum theory leads to infinite values, theorists eliminate the infinities through the “re-normalization” of quantum field theories.  In this way, positive infinities are used to cancel out negative infinities yielding a sum of zero and other mathematical practices are used to leave a finite residue.  In a Scientific American article, the infinities were described as being “exorcized” from nature through the tricks of re-normalization.

            Nevertheless, to think of a vacuum as simply empty space is no longer valid.  If all matter and radiation were extracted from a volume of space, this space is still permeated by the zero-point field with its ceaseless electromagnetic fluctuations.  B. Haisch explains: “if you add up all these ceaseless fluctuations, what you get is a background sea of light whose total energy is enormous: the zero-point field.  The “zero-point” refers to the fact that even though this energy is huge, it is the lowest possible energy state.  All other energy is over and above the zero-point state.”  (www.science-spirit.org)

            The universe exists within this vast sea of underlying light and electromagnetic activity—what Blavatsky described as the electric ocean of life.  However, because this zero point energy permeates everything and is the lowest possible energy state, it is invisible and unobservable to us.  It is completely uniform and pervades us from every direction.   The world of light which we do see is over and above the zero-point field. Just how deep is this underlying quantum sea of light?  McTaggart reports: “It has been calculated that the total energy of the Zero Point Field exceeds all energy in matter by a factor of 1040, or 1 followed by 40 zeros.”  (2002)

            In another Scientific American article (1997), P. Yam explores the controversial idea of extracting energy from the underlying zero-point field.  The article Exploiting the zero-point energy has the caption: “Energy fills empty space, but is there a lot to be tapped, as some propound?  Probably not?”  The article notes that exactly how much zero point energy is within the vacuum is “unknown” and that the conventional view has been that there is very little.  However, there is a core of researchers who “think that the 21st century could be the zero-point energy age.”  The implications of being able to tap the zero point fields would be utterly profound–in terms of alternate energy sources and possible means for space travel. 1   Of course, researchers in the zero point camp are criticized by more orthodox theorists for such speculative claims—pointing to the lack of scientific data and the absence of working prototypes or devices which tap this zero point energy.


1 One suggestion is that the zero point energy might act as a “negative mass” system for the propulsion of spacecraft; or that the Casimir effect might be used to create pressure differentials within the zero point fields.

            The zero-point theory is also used to explain the concepts of mass and inertia in a novel way and to question the traditional understanding of the nature of gravity.  In reference to inertia, which refers to a material object’s resistance to acceleration, the novel idea is that inertia is due to the “drag effects of moving through the zero-point field.”  Matter resists acceleration as it interacts with its surrounding fields of virtual particles.  In this case, a zero point “wake” is left behind as an object moves through space, with virtual particles continuously popping in and out of existence, and moving in relation to the material particles. Both inertia and gravity could be due then to the interaction between the electromagnetic quantum vacuum and the fundamental charged particles (quarks and electrons) that compose matter. 

            In the case of gravity, an object fixed above the earth would experience the “electromagnetic momentum flux” created by the earth within the zero point field and this gives rise to its weight and acceleration towards the earth.  Gravitational effects are thus produced by “asymmetry” within the electromagnetic zero point fields within the quantum vacuum.  One futuristic idea is that the advanced forms of propulsion for space travel could involve modifying the electromagnetic quantum vacuum and/or its interaction with matter to nullify inertial and gravitational forces (Www.calphysics.org). The search for such mysteries of zero point energies and fields has long been explored as explanations for UFO propulsion, anti-gravity devices and spacecraft. 2


2 Nick Cook, a journalist, explores the classified world of the aerospace industry and documents the secretive work carried out over the past fifty years in his book, The Hunt for Zero Point (2001).

       McTaggart (2002) points out that since all subatomic matter is continually interacting with the zero point fields, this creates a record of everything that happens.  She describes the Zero Point Field as “a kind of shadow of the universe for all time, a mirror image and record of everything that ever was.  In a sense, the vacuum is the beginning and the end of everything in the universe.”  (p. 26)  The zero point fields embody information about the whole—the Akashic record of Blavatsky and mystical sources.

      Certainly, the newest concepts of zero point fields are quite startling.  Space itself has a depth and is a plenum.  The vast energies and information latent within the zero point fields permeate all of matter, sustaining the phenomena of the created world.  Contemporary physics, far from arriving at “the end of science” –as some writers have speculated (c.f., John Horgan)—is encountering even stranger and more fantastic possibilities.  B. Haisch and A. Rueda of the CalTech physics group comment: “... we dare to predict that physics and astrophysics of the 21st century are going to love the quantum vacuum.” (2003)

      The zero-point field concepts provide the basis for a new approach to the traditional idea of the “ether,” although most scientists shy away from using the term ether because this was supposedly discredited when nineteenth century researchers were unable to demonstrate an “ether drift.”  However, space itself, at the level of the quantum vacuum, is a pleroma of energies, virtual particles, and information, which provides a medium for physical manifestation. Electromagnetic fluxes within the underlying electromagnetic ocean could indeed constitute such ‘ether drifts,’ and even be responsible for gravitational effects.  Physicist P. Davies comments: “So clearly the quantum vacuum resembles the ether,” which he refers to as the “quantum ether.”  (2001, p.33) 

H. P. Blavatsky describes exactly such an idea that Space itself—not the created space-time complex but the underlying “Eternal Parent Space” with its “Ceaseless Breath” or movement—is the foundation for all physical manifestation.  Space is the Aether wherein there is a correlation of all forces and an Omniscience which thrills throughout every finite point of the universe.   The zero point fields are latent within the Aether–the invisible foundation for physical manifestation.

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