Author Topic: can energy become matter?  (Read 593 times)

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Offline wright

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can energy become matter?
« on: October 01, 2013, 09:42:22 PM »
In response to this post:http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24925.msg571976/boardseen.html#new

I always thought that black-holes condense energy into matter due to their immense gravity (enough to suck in light)...

I'm not a physicist, just a SF fan and science geek, but it's my understanding that even the gravity fields of black holes can't accomplish that. Are you maybe talking about virtual particles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle) or vacuum fluctuations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_fluctuations)?

Interesting question: can energy become matter under certain circumstances? I'll start a thread on the Science board and maybe someone more knowledgeable will chime in to inform us.
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 12:12:50 AM »
Well, a nuke turns matter into energy (fission), so why not the opposite? ;D
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Offline wright

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 01:48:16 AM »
^^^Whoops. Next time I'll do a search.

Well, this seems to be one way:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair-instability_supernova
From the wiki:
Quote
Pair creation and annihilation

Sufficiently energetic gamma rays can interact with nuclei, electrons, or one another to produce electron-positron pairs, and electron-positron pairs can annihilate, producing gamma rays. From Einstein's equation E = mc^2, gamma rays must have more energy than the mass of the electron–positron pairs to produce these pairs.

At the high densities of a stellar core, pair production and annihilation occur rapidly, thereby keeping gamma rays, electrons, and positrons in thermal equilibrium. The higher the temperature, the higher the gamma ray energies, and the larger the amount of energy transferred.

Pair-instability

As temperatures and gamma ray energies increase, more and more gamma ray energy is absorbed in creating electron-positron pairs. This reduction in gamma ray energy density reduces the radiation pressure that supports the outer layers of the star. The star contracts, compressing and heating the core, thereby increasing the proportion of energy absorbed by pair creation. Pressure nonetheless increases, but in a pair-instability collapse, the increase in pressure is not enough to resist the increase in gravitational forces as the star becomes denser.

So in this particular type of star, energy-to-matter conversion can happen. However, since some of the matter produced is actually antimatter, it doesn't last long and the star eventually turns into a thermonuclear bomb at least 130 times more massive than the Sun... eeesh. The resulting detonation doesn't leave any remnant at the core; the explosive forces are too powerful.

Seriously, that would make friggin' Kali duck and cover with all four hands.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 09:01:15 AM »
You have chosen an article about supernovas as an example but you did not have to.

The sun and all stars shine by converting mass into energy in the ratio e=mc2
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Offline wright

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 11:57:20 AM »
^^^Yes, I know. I chose that specific example because it shows how energy cycles to matter and back to energy in a particularly spectacular way.
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 01:52:12 PM »
So, as a question, what is the deal with the "heat death of the universe".
I get what it means, but is it true?
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Offline hickdive

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 01:54:44 PM »
I'm not a physicist but it seems to me that E=mc2 demonstrates that, whilst a tiny amount of matter can be turned into an enormous amount of energy, the opposite is also true. It would take an enormous amount of energy to create a tiny amount of matter.

However, it also seems to me that, although the amount of matter in the known universe is tiny in comparison with the volume of the universe, it is too tiny. We have a good idea of the energy levels of the Big Bang but there is insufficient observable matter to tie into them. AIUI the question of what this unobserved matter is what the LHC is trying to detect by using energy to create matter in the form of sub-atomic particles. If these particles can be created and detected artificially then their theoretical existence, which would account for the "missing" matter in the universe will have been proven.

But I'm probably completely wrong.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2013, 08:06:06 PM »
So, as a question, what is the deal with the "heat death of the universe".
I get what it means, but is it true?

Yes, it means that the energy of the universe will run down and become a lukewarm soup. That used to be the whole story, but now we know that the expansion of the universe is accelerating and eventually the fabric of space and time will rip. In the rips, new universes will form.

Hickdive The hadron collider might tell us how the universe works at higher energies and incidentally explain something about the first fraction of second after the Big Bang which is where research is now.

Most of the matter in the universe is in the form of Dark Matter. The exact nature of this is unknown. It can be mapped and quantified by its gravitational effects.
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Offline wright

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 08:28:05 PM »
^^^I know Wikipedia isn't exactly the end-all reference, but the entry there indicates the Big Rip is still unconfirmed. Do you have a more recent, authoritative source?
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2013, 03:39:20 AM »
The rip is based on the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. The properties of the new universes have only recently been worked out based on the discovery of the Higgs last year.
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Offline hickdive

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 04:29:28 AM »

Hickdive The hadron collider might tell us how the universe works at higher energies and incidentally explain something about the first fraction of second after the Big Bang which is where research is now.

Most of the matter in the universe is in the form of Dark Matter. The exact nature of this is unknown. It can be mapped and quantified by its gravitational effects.

Thank you.
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Offline wright

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2013, 04:43:46 AM »
The rip is based on the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. The properties of the new universes have only recently been worked out based on the discovery of the Higgs last year.

Are you saying we can actually predict the properties of the universes that will be created by the Big Rip? That would be quite a feat, if true.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2013, 05:40:31 AM »
Yes. The type of universes which can exist, including our own, depend on the physical laws in that universe. As we investigate higher energies we can narrow the range of possibilities in our universe. We know from string theory that many types of universe can theoretically exist. We need to pin down the types which actually do exist and which one is our universe.

You might have heard religious people say that the fine tuning of our universe proves god. In fact the fine tuning is not much better than the worst it could be for life. It could be a lot better and more friendly to life.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 05:51:29 AM by Foxy Freedom »
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Offline wright

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2013, 11:12:54 AM »
Yes. The type of universes which can exist, including our own, depend on the physical laws in that universe. As we investigate higher energies we can narrow the range of possibilities in our universe. We know from string theory that many types of universe can theoretically exist. We need to pin down the types which actually do exist and which one is our universe.

Fascinating, Foxy. Can you recommend some layman-level sources for that? I'd love to read up on those discoveries.

You might have heard religious people say that the fine tuning of our universe proves god. In fact the fine tuning is not much better than the worst it could be for life. It could be a lot better and more friendly to life.

Yeah, you'd think even most fifth-graders would scoff at "fine-tuning" if they hadn't had it and "intelligent design" shoved down their throats for years at home, Sunday school and sometime even public school. If Mars and Venus had turned out to be more how Edgar Rice Burroughs imagined and less like what the first probes actually found, then the religious might have had a point.
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 11:24:24 AM »
Fascinating, Foxy. Can you recommend some layman-level sources for that? I'd love to read up on those discoveries.

I second this.

You might have heard religious people say that the fine tuning of our universe proves god. In fact the fine tuning is not much better than the worst it could be for life. It could be a lot better and more friendly to life.

Indeed, imagine a universe where every single cubic meter could sustain life.
I ponder why this "God" (Who does not exist) with infinite power made such a shitty job of a universe, i could do better.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 11:40:01 AM »
There is a book and videos by Lawrence Krauss called a universe from nothing. This should lead onto other YouTube suggestions. Just make sure videos or books are by scientists. There are a lot of crackpot ideas around based on this subject.
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: can energy become matter?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2013, 11:47:42 AM »
There is a book and videos by Lawrence Krauss called a universe from nothing. This should lead onto other YouTube suggestions. Just make sure videos or books are by scientists. There are a lot of crackpot ideas around based on this subject.

Will keep an eye out.
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