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Author Topic: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?  (Read 2847 times)

Offline PmbPhy

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I get this all the time and I'm curious as to how many people believe that virtual particles are real. Please state which category you fall into, i.e.

1) Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
1a) If so they why do you believe that?

2) Do you believe that virtual particles are not real?

Thank you.


 

Offline timey

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #1 on: 15/10/2015 11:13:31 »
Hi Pete, I think it was you who said in a previous post elsewhere, that virtual particles only exist as a mathematical necessity of quantum mechanics.

Does being a mathematical necessity actually render virtual particles as real?  Given that virtual particles are noted as taking on more of the characteristics of real particles, if given the time scale to do so in - then IF the rate of time occurring at the scale of the quantum world were to be occurring at a slower rate than in our macro world, on the basis that these virtual particles are a mathematical necessity to quantum mechanics, virtual particles, mathematically speaking, could then 'perhaps ' have the chance to become real particles... (You did ask ;) )
 

Offline chris

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #2 on: 15/10/2015 11:33:51 »
Hi Pete

why not run this thread as a POLL (see above "Add Poll"), which would give you an easier way to collate the results.

Chris
 

Offline timey

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #3 on: 15/10/2015 11:51:33 »
Ok, in light of post above:

I think virtual particles are real.

Why?  Because they are a mathematical necessity of quantum mechanics.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #4 on: 15/10/2015 11:59:14 »
Hi Pete

why not run this thread as a POLL (see above "Add Poll"), which would give you an easier way to collate the results.

Chris
It's because I didn't know how to create a poll thread at the time I created this thread.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #5 on: 15/10/2015 12:00:36 »
If they were real, they wouldn't be called virtual, any more than imaginary numbers - quite different from real numbers.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #6 on: 15/10/2015 12:02:08 »
Quote from: timey
Does being a mathematical necessity actually render virtual particles as real? ...
If this wasn't a poll I'd answer your question. However since this is a poll I'm choosing not to respond because my response might skew the results of my very own question.
 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #7 on: 15/10/2015 12:18:07 »
1) Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
According to which definition of "real"?

Anyway, I think they don't corrispond to "real" particles in the sense that:

i) they are out shell
ii) the mathemathical description which uses virtual particle is not the only possible description, as far as I know there is at least another one
iii) as far as I know they are a result of a first approximation because they are sort of an artifice from perturbative theory (in such theory we give a small perturbation to the system so if the perturbation is not small...)

--
lightarrow
« Last Edit: 15/10/2015 12:29:31 by lightarrow »
 

Offline timey

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #8 on: 15/10/2015 12:23:02 »
Quote from: timey
Does being a mathematical necessity actually render virtual particles as real? ...
If this wasn't a poll I'd answer your question. However since this is a poll I'm choosing not to respond because my response might skew the results of my very own question.

Ok, no probs.  I will open a thread in a few weeks, when your poll is over, to uptake this discussion, and pick up yours and all the relevant comments, as quotes, for further debate then.  :)
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #9 on: 15/10/2015 14:44:57 »
I'm afraid I'm going to start, as with many of my comments, with it all depends - in this case, what you mean by real.

I believe the effect they have is real.
I have read a description which makes sense to me, but might not to you, that they are a transitory peturbation, or vibration, in a field that is not strong enough, or of the right frequency, to be a real particle.
Two particles come close, they disturb the field, that disturbance has some features of a particle but is not permanent.
So, I believe that the disturbance is real and if we wish to call it a virtual particles then I have to conclude that virtual particles are real. But I don't think they are particles.

Not a lot of help really!
 

Offline Thebox

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #10 on: 15/10/2015 14:51:57 »
Virtual is simply the wrong definition, convertual particles are real, virtual particles can not be real by definition.
 

Offline jeffreyH

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #11 on: 15/10/2015 16:53:47 »
They ultimately stem from the fact that effects on the quantum scale cannot be exactly determined. The results are determined using probability. Virtual particles when used in equations can appear to violate the laws of physics but removing them may make the calculations approximate the results less accurately. Their use is real. If they can violate the laws of physics then real particles they are not. What then are they?
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #12 on: 15/10/2015 18:19:53 »
Pete, if you mean: "Are virtual particles real particles?" the answer has to be no.

If you mean: "Are virtual particles real phenomena?" the answer might be a bit more vague.  Feynman diagrams would be a bit bald without them, and to the extent that they represent measurable interactions, they are real phenomena.

I guess that makes my answer: "no/yes" which is not very helpful in terms of a poll, but I hope my reason is clear.
 

Online evan_au

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #13 on: 16/10/2015 11:47:12 »
I think virtual particles have real effects.

Virtual photons is one way of explaining the Casimir effect (other theories are available)...
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #14 on: 16/10/2015 13:48:57 »
May I say a word in defence of "imaginary numbers" i.e square roots of negative numbers they are very real and useful
 

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Re: Survey: Do you believe that virtual particles are real?
« Reply #14 on: 16/10/2015 13:48:57 »

 

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