# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: How much space does energy take up?  (Read 8261 times)

#### acecharly

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##### How much space does energy take up?
« on: 15/03/2012 23:10:19 »
How much space does energy take up or does it take up none at all and is puerly information kept somewhere, somehow about how an object must act i.e. when you throw a ball you dont see energy you just see a ball moving through space providing messages to other matter such as the air molecules now having information that they must move as the balls mass strikes them.

Any ideas or thoughts would be great

Cheers

Ace

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #1 on: 16/03/2012 06:34:36 »
Energy in it's purest form (photons) without restraint will spread out over the largest possible volume in the shortest possible time.

The Universe constrains that energy primarily with two main mechanisms.  Matter (a 'frozen' form of energy) and gravity (the warping of space-time). Both of these mechanisms lead to an increase of entropy which is a more stable state.

Does energy contain, or is it information.  It does contain information because it is continually expressing it's 'desire' to dissipate.  Dissipate is what energy wants to do but it is so much more than just information as in dissipating it has the ability to do work.  Energy is what makes the Universe work.  Information is not energy.  Information can only describe what energy is or does (in any tense).
« Last Edit: 27/03/2012 08:35:51 by MikeS »

#### Soul Surfer

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #2 on: 16/03/2012 08:29:47 »
The quantum mechanical image of "space" is that it contains every possibility of action that can exist within the box defined by the uncertainty principle down to the size of the Planck limits of space and time .  If you try to calculate that out it is extremely large and more than one hundred orders of magnitude greater than ordinary material.

#### acecharly

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #3 on: 16/03/2012 08:48:43 »
nice answers. but the question is how much room does energy take up?

Im going with zero until it condenses into matter at which point space is made to accomodate it.

If this is true and space is expanding then matter must be being created from somewhere to give rise to it

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #4 on: 16/03/2012 09:03:53 »
So if you shine a light into space the volume of the light beam is zero.  I don't think so.

#### acecharly

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #5 on: 16/03/2012 09:12:30 »
and if you shone that torch by a black hole what would happen gravity would pull that light in due to gravity.

What does gravity act upon....mass..... so a photon cannot be pure energy

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #6 on: 16/03/2012 09:40:52 »
and if you shone that torch by a black hole what would happen gravity would pull that light in due to gravity.

What does gravity act upon....mass..... so a photon cannot be pure energy
The light beam still has finite volume not zero volume.

Gravity causes space-time to warp.  Light is not bent by gravity.  Space time is.   Light follows the geodesic of warped space-time.

#### imatfaal

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #7 on: 16/03/2012 14:26:54 »
and if you shone that torch by a black hole what would happen gravity would pull that light in due to gravity.

What does gravity act upon....mass..... so a photon cannot be pure energy
The light beam still has finite volume not zero volume.

Gravity causes space-time to warp.  Light is not bent by gravity.  Space time is.   Light follows the geodesic of warped space-time.
mass/energy causes space-time to warp - gravity is the effect of that curvature.

#### Bill S

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #8 on: 16/03/2012 14:54:28 »
Quote
mass/energy causes space-time to warp

So light can cause space-time to warp, but are we any nearer to discovering if energy occupies space.  I'm inclined to think it doesn't, but only because that makes the infinitessimally small space occupied by the Universe at the point of the BB more understandable to a non-scientist like myself.

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #9 on: 16/03/2012 16:40:29 »
and if you shone that torch by a black hole what would happen gravity would pull that light in due to gravity.

What does gravity act upon....mass..... so a photon cannot be pure energy
The light beam still has finite volume not zero volume.

Gravity causes space-time to warp.  Light is not bent by gravity.  Space time is.   Light follows the geodesic of warped space-time.
mass/energy causes space-time to warp - gravity is the effect of that curvature.
What you say is true and gravity is what we call the effect, therefore gravity causes space-time to warp.  This is hair splitting.
Whether you say gravity/energy causes gravity or gravity causes space-time to warp it's the same thing.
The effect we call gravity must pre-exist the curvature therefore it must cause that curvature.

#### yor_on

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #10 on: 16/03/2012 18:55:58 »
Distance may be 'energy' but distance is defined by the observer.

So, tell what energy a 'plastic' distance have?

The observers measurement, or a conceptual, one for all?

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #11 on: 17/03/2012 17:46:29 »
How much space does energy take up?

If we go back before the start of the Universe, according to QM, energy existed in the void (that's one and I believe a generally accepted interpretation).  There could be any amount of energy anywhere in the void at any instant.  The void must be infinite in size.  Energy therefore if unrestricted is spread out over an infinite volume of the void.

Those who argue that (unrestricted) energy takes up zero volume need to explain the logic behind that statement.  Energy is subject to entropy and entropy ultimately wins out every time.  Energy, if unrestricted by gravity will dissipate over space and time.

The Universe is full of energy and it is big, very big and despite gravity it is still unbelievably big. (With apologies to The Hitchhikers Guide ....)

#### imatfaal

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #12 on: 19/03/2012 11:06:06 »
Quote
mass/energy causes space-time to warp - gravity is the effect of that curvature.
What you say is true and gravity is what we call the effect, therefore gravity causes space-time to warp.  This is hair splitting.
Whether you say gravity/energy causes gravity or gravity causes space-time to warp it's the same thing.
The effect we call gravity must pre-exist the curvature therefore it must cause that curvature.

Gravity is the curvature - it does not cause the curvature.  Mass/energy causes the curvature.  If you want to challenge this feel free to do so in New theories - not here.

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #13 on: 19/03/2012 12:55:55 »
I am not challenging it, I am calling it hair splitting.

Quote
mass/energy causes space-time to warp - gravity is the effect of that curvature.
What you say is true and gravity is what we call the effect, therefore gravity causes space-time to warp.  This is hair splitting.
Whether you say gravity/energy causes gravity or gravity causes space-time to warp it's the same thing.
The effect we call gravity must pre-exist the curvature therefore it must cause that curvature.

Gravity is the curvature - it does not cause the curvature.  Mass/energy causes the curvature.  If you want to challenge this feel free to do so in New theories - not here.

Mass and energy cause space-time to warp.  We call that gravity.  Obviously, mass and energy have some kind of 'field' for lack of a better word or they would not cause space-time to warp.  That 'field is gravity.  So whether you say mass/energy causes the curvature or whether you say gravity causes they curvature it is essentially the same thing.  I am not challenging mass/energy cause space-time to warp.  Warped space-time by mass/energy, gravity and the effect mass/energy has on space-time are all the same thing and we call it gravity.

#### Nizzle

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #14 on: 21/03/2012 09:34:43 »
If you describe a photon as an electromagnetic wave, it has non-zero amplitudes in two perpendicular fields and moves forward in a direction, so the "disturbance of the EM field" will have a non-zero volume I think.

Of course, is this volume real or convention? I don't know...

#### Airthumbs

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #15 on: 22/03/2012 19:47:34 »
Interesting topic....... can energy exist without space?  I suppose from the context of the big bang it must do........

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #16 on: 23/03/2012 09:14:50 »
Interesting topic....... can energy exist without space?  I suppose from the context of the big bang it must do........

As I see it the 'void' (before the big bang) was dimensionless, devoid of time and did not have causality or entropy.  'Space' or more correctly space-time has all of these features.

#### Pmb

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #17 on: 26/03/2012 03:24:09 »
Energy in it's purest form (photons) ...
Photons (electromagnetic radiation) cannot be considered as energy in its purest form. I never could figure out how people came to believe it but it's not quite true.

without restraint will spread out over the largest possible volume in the shortest possible time.

The Universe constrains that energy primarily with two main mechanisms.  Matter (a 'frozen' form of energy) and gravity (the warping of space-time). Both of these mechanisms lead to an increase of entropy which is a more stable state.

Does energy contain, or is it information.  It does contain information because it is continually expressing it's 'desire' to dissipate.  Dissipate is what energy wants to do but it is so much more than just information as in dissipating it has the ability to do work.  Energy is what makes the Universe work.  Information is not energy.  Information can only describe what energy is or does (in any tense).
[/quote]

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #18 on: 26/03/2012 06:00:54 »
Energy in it's purest form (photons) ...
Photons (electromagnetic radiation) cannot be considered as energy in its purest form. I never could figure out how people came to believe it but it's not quite true.

Pete
If photons are not the purest form of energy what is?

#### Nizzle

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #19 on: 26/03/2012 10:37:03 »
Energy in it's purest form (photons) ...

Photons (electromagnetic radiation) cannot be considered as energy in its purest form. I never could figure out how people came to believe it but it's not quite true.

Pete
If photons are not the purest form of energy what is?

Isn't energy a collection of all gauge bosons instead of only photons?
Like matter would be a collection of all fermions?

#### imatfaal

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #20 on: 26/03/2012 13:05:36 »
Energy is a useful abstract conception and can be thought of thermodynamically as the capacity to do work.  It is a keystone of physics because it is a conserved property relation to the time-translation symmetry/invariabce of physics - this is part of Emmy Noether's theorem

Noether's Theorem - Wikipedia

Energy - Wikipedia

#### Pmb

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #21 on: 26/03/2012 15:40:41 »
Energy in it's purest form (photons) ...
Photons (electromagnetic radiation) cannot be considered as energy in its purest form. I never could figure out how people came to believe it but it's not quite true.

Pete
If photons are not the purest form of energy what is?
The idea that there exists a pure form of energy is flawed to begin with. What made you think such a thinking could exist or was even meaningful?

#### MikeS

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##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #22 on: 27/03/2012 08:33:58 »
Pete

I didn't say pure.  I said purest, meaning the closest to pure.

You can scrub 'purest' if you like as it is irrelevant to the rest of my argument.

But it would be interesting to hear what you consider to be the purest form of energy?

« Last Edit: 27/03/2012 08:41:45 by MikeS »

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: How much space does energy take up?
« Reply #22 on: 27/03/2012 08:33:58 »