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Name: Tal
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2/19/2004


Question:
It is well known that energy cannot be conceived from nothing , nor disappear. my question is this: if energy changes from one form to another I'd guess the total amount of energy in all that exists is zero. I was told that this is not true, the number is very close to zero but it is not zero, Why? Where does that small amount of energy come from?


Replies:
You enter into a very difficult area because it is very difficult to define what "energy" IS. We know numerous formulas for HOW ENERGY BEHAVES but that is very different from what energy IS. If you page through Richard Feynman's three volumes on Physics, you will find that he concludes that no one knows what energy IS, only how it behaves. All the conservation laws involve HOW energy behaves not what it IS. In fact on scales smaller than the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle energy is not even conserved. It can be "borrowed" for a very short time -- less than Plank's constant divided by the amount of energy "borrowed". This gives rise to virtual particles and other very esoteric ideas. So it is not entirely true that energy cannot be created from "nothing", just not for very long!!!

Vince Calder



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