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真空的秘密 – 译学馆
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真空的秘密

Empty Space is NOT Empty

原子最奇妙的地方之一
One of the most amazing things about atoms
就是它大部分地方都是空的
is that they’re mainly empty space.
假设一个原子的大小和你的两臂跨度一样
If an atom were as wide as your arm span,
那么这些电子都将飞快地掠过
then the electrons would all be whizzing about
在你两手指间围成的空间里
inside the volume enclosed by your fingertips,
同时原子核位于中心
meanwhile the nucleus would be sitting in the center,
而其直径将会比
and its diameter would be smaller
人的发丝还要小
than the width of a single human hair…
所以所有构成我们身体的原子
So all of the atoms that make up you and me
和所有有实体的宇宙万物的原子
and all the seemingly solid things in the universe
大部分空间是空的
are mostly empty space. Now,
这是有点难以置信
this is incredible.
但更令人觉得疑惑的是
But what is even more mind-boggling is
是这些空的地方不是真的空空如也
that empty space is not truly empty…
我知道是因为我已看到
I know because I’ve seen it.
这个模拟系统是由阿德莱德大学的德瑞克教授完成
This is a simulation by Prof. Derek Leinweber at the University of Adelaide.
是使用超级计算机来反复计算色动力学完成的
It was made using a supercomputer to crunch the calculations of Quantum Chromo-Dynamics.
这就是基本粒子学中的“夸克理论”
Now that is the theory offundamental particles called’quarks’,
其构建基础是质子和中子
the building blocks of protons and neutrons,
以及它们在“胶子”中的相互作用
and how they interact with each other through’gluons’.
你现看到的就是能量密度动态分布图
What you’re looking at here is the energy density
在胶子内的起伏波动
of the gluon field fluctuations.
有小红点的位置是能量密度非常高的区域
Where(‘s) the little red spots come out,the energy density is very high…
而它也会慢慢褪去颜色
and it fades down through the colors. So,
在能量最低的地区
in the lowest energy,
这个地区的波动是没有什么特别表现的
the field fluctuations are not rendering in this animation
所以我们可以进行观测
so we can actually see into it.
而我们所看到的是量子场波动
And what we see is a bubbling soup
而形成的冒着泡的汤
of quantum field fluctuations,
它的来回波动是非常快的
that come and go incredibly quickly.
这个模拟设置的帧率是每秒一万亿亿帧
The frame rate of this simulation is one million billion billion frames per second.
这还不是真正的最高速度
Now that is truly high speed…
这种模拟范围其实非常非常小
The dimensions of this box are absolutely tiny.
是千万亿分之1米
They are millionth of a billionth of a meter.
粗略估计能容纳两个质子
roughly enough space to stick two protons.
但是这里没有质子
But there are no protons here…
这是对其自身真空地方的一个模拟
This is a simulation of the vacuum on its own,
就是通常大家认为原子的空的地方
what we normally think of as’empty space’.
空的地方实际上充满了这种夸克和胶子场的波动
Empty space is actually full of thisquark-and-gluon field fluctuations. And,
一般说来 应该是胶子淹没了夸克
on average, it is possible to annihilate a quark
从看上去空空的地方 所以那里并不是空的
from empty space,’cause it’s not empty…!
这听上去有点荒诞
That just sounds like the most ridiculous idea that…
你的意思是在空的地方
you’re meant to have empty space,
你还可以从中分离出某种物质从空地方……
and yet you can go and get rid of stuff from it…
没错 所以说它不是空的
That’s right. So it isn’t empty!
这看起来有点违反直觉
Now it seems counterintuitive
在这片空地里能量最低状态也应该充满了这种物质 但是
that the vacuum at its lowest energy state should contain all of this stuff. But,
实际上 要想消除这种波动
in fact, to clear out the fluctuations
去创造一种真正空的真空将会需要很多能量
and create a truly empty vacuum would require a lot of energy.
这种真的真空要耗费大量的
The empty vacuum actually costs an enormous amount
能量来创造
of energy to create,
如果你可以制造它
and if you were able to create it,
你将发现这这…其实是真的不稳定…这
you’d discover that that… is actually unstable… that
任何类型的扰动都会将空真空
any sort of perturbation would push that empty vacuum
推动到充满量子场波动的真空中
into something where the vacuum is actually full of quantum field fluctuations. Well,
这可能不像它第一次出现时那么奇怪
this may not be as strange as it first appears…
我的意思是 想象一个永久磁铁
I mean, consider a permanent magnet.
在室温下 它在低能量中具有磁场
It has a magnetic field around it at low energy, at room temperature.
不是因为里面所有原子的个别小磁矩
Not because the individual little magnetic moments
都排成一列
of all the atoms inside are lined up.
要是你给它升温
But if you were to heat it up,
你应该为所有这些颗粒提供热量
you would give thermal energy to all those particles.
对这种特定温度 我们称为居里温度
And at a certain point, called the Curie Temperature,
它们将随机分布
they would be so randomly aligned
这里将不再成为一个全磁场
that there would no longer be an overall magnetic field.
所以加热确实带来了足够的能量从而摆脱了永久磁场
So it actually takes energy to get rid of the permanent magnetic field. Hmm,
这才像是一个货真价实的量子真空
this is just like the quantum vacuum.
理解了量子真空如何运作
And undertanding how the quantumvacuum fluctuations work
给了我们关于基本粒子如何运作的认知
gives us a sense of what the fundamental particles do,
如‘在哪里最有可能找到夸克’
like’where are you most likely to find a quark?’
而结论可能是它也许是在
And it turns out that the quark likes to sit
这团物体的顶部
on top of those lumps.
现在这团物体出现
Now those lumps come into and
和消失时间非常短
out of existence fairly quickly and so…
我们可以想象是夸克希望从这团物体
we like to think of the quarks as hopping from one lump
去到另一个 就像突然冒出来
over to the next lump, as it appears,
然后出现到另一个团里
and then on to another one.
我试着想象
I like to think
就像一个旅行者试着穿过一条奔流不息的小溪
of it as a hiker trying to cross a stream that’s running around…
不时有水流冲刷石头的悦耳声音
Every now and then a stone pops up because the water swirled around it.
所以你把你的脚踏入水中…
So you put your foot there…
你寻找下个落脚点…
You’re looking for the next spot…
如果你足够迅捷
If you go quickly enough,
你也许不会让你的脚打湿
you might not get your feet wet… Uh,
所以我认为夸克就是这么做了
so I think quarks are very much do…
好我们知道夸克很可能做了相似的事情
well we know quarks are very much doing the same thing.
所以当说你我还有宇宙所有原子
So while it is true that you and I and all
有大部分地方是空的地方时这是对的
of the other atoms in the universe are mostly empty space,
但这个空的地方不是真的空也是对的
it is also true that empty space isn’t truly empty…
事实上 我们的存在离不开这种真空当中的波动
And in fact it is these vacuum fluctuations which are essential for our existence.

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爱躲猫猫的夸克给你带来真空的秘密

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