9 May 2013
Vacuum is a medium - we need the result to search for the theory of everything
Vacuum has microscopic degrees of freedom. They lead to black hole entropy, to vacuum energy, to particle-antiparticle creation, etc. It propagates gravitational waves. The degrees of freedom even lead to friction: in situations of high curvature, vacuum drag occurs. (Though not on light! Many experiments, even recent ones that used gamma ray bursts, have failed to find vacuum drag effects on light.)
Vacuum has mechanical properties. It bends when energy goes through it. It behaves like an elastic substance. It has an energy content.
Without being ashamed, we can say that MODERN vacuum has all properties that were once, incorrectly, ascribed to aether. The aether does not exist. But vacuum is a medium. We need to build on this result to find the theory of everything.
To understand nature, we need to find the microscopic degrees of freedom of the vacuum. This is what emergent gravity people try to do, what quantum foam researchers and string net researchers try to do, what quantum gravity people try to do, what string theorists try to do, what the strand model people try to do, what black hole researchers try to do and what all the other researchers working on a theory of every thing try to do.
Without the idea that vacuum is a medium, we cannot search for a theory of everything!
It is not helpful that the Physical Society of a large country with a long history of physics officially writes that teachers should tell their pupils that vacuum is not a medium. It is wrong, deeply wrong, and the men that did so should resign from their posts:
Give physics back to the physicists, and let the liars go home!
Posted by Clara, once known as Nemo at 09:38