Gravity in the Quantum Vacuum

Yeterday I noticed an interesting paper which has been on the arXiv for a few months but which has just been published in Physical Review D and has been highlighted by the Editors of that esteemed journal. The authors are Qingdi Wang, Zhen Zhu and Bill Unruh – all of them from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Here is the abstract:

You can click on the image if it is too small to read. As you will see it suggests that we may have been thinking about the effect of vacuum energy in completely the wrong way in the context of Dark Energy.

It’s a long paper (35 pages) which I haven’t had time to work through completely yet, and I don’t know whether it will stand up. I have to say, though, that I’ve long left that the problem of dark energy will only be solved by a fundamental reappraisal of the underlying physics, rather than adding new fields or other such contrivances.

I’d be interested in comments from people who have read the paper thoroughly. I’m flying back to Blighty this evening so I hope I can study the article more thoroughly on the plane.

10 Responses to “Gravity in the Quantum Vacuum”

  1. I’m sort of surprised the premise has never been studied before. I thought it was a nice paper, but I’m nowhere placed to comment on its veracity.

  2. I’m madly prejudiced in favour of this paper because the central problem is summarized beautifully, and the new idea is expressed in language that even I can understand. However, I too am wondering whether an inconstant, inhomogeneous energy density of the vacuum has not been considered before…

  3. Thanks for giving me something additional to do for the weekend! Will report back on Monday. 🙂

    By the way, one of the books I am reading now is The Weight of the Vacuum, by Helge Kragh and James Overduin (two authors everyone interested in cosmology should be familiar with).

  4. Considering the current topics here, I’m reminded of the following words of wisdon:

    What else is there? Sex and physics.

    —Dennis Overbye

    • At least music!

      Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not music, music is the best.

      —Frank Zappa

  5. Chris Brunt Says:

    Interesting stuff… Perhaps foreseen by Roobarb & Custard (1974)? 😉

  6. When you get there, you will find that
    [Absolute Zero equals Infinite Heat].
    Existence relies on this formula.
    Also, Thought is faster than Light.
    The Universe isn’t a Big Bang; it’s a Sudden Freeze.

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