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When matter and antimatter annihilate their energy becomes a gamma ray photon (or other things). When quantum fluxuations produce matter and antimatter pairs which annihilate each other does energy escape as gamma rays? Doesnít this create energy from nothing?
El Cerrito, CA, US
No, the law of conservation of energy is upheld. A quantum fluctuation is a "potentiality" for something to happen under the influence of some external particle or force. If nothing comes along to disturb it the particle/anti-particle pair simply come back together. Nevertheless, the fluctuation phenomenon has real, measurable effects. For example in Delbruck scattering http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delbruck_scattering
an incoming photon is scattered from a nucleus by means of virtual electron-positron pairs.
Thereís a little extra strangeness to this. The quantum fluctuation isnít something that happens at some particular time. Instead, itís a constant background potentiality of the type Lee described. And itís still true that although itís not some event thatís happening (unless probed by that external particle), it is part of the world and has the effects Lee described. Mike W.
(published on 10/22/2007)
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