Zero-point energy

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Quantum mechanics, via Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, requires that the absolute position and velocity of any particle cannot both be simultaneously definable. From this it is an inevitable conclusion that even at a temperature of absolute zero, any substance must have a certain minimum energy. This energy is referred to as zero-point energy. The vacuum energy is the zero-point energy of all the fields in space — the electromagnetic field, other gauge fields, fermionic fields and the Higgs field.

There have been speculations that usable energy might be extracted using this energy as a source using something called the Casimir effect, but this is almost certainly pseudoscience, as it would require using an extremely large collector device similar in some ways to an electronic capacitor, but much larger and thinner, with a vacuum dielectric; there is no knowledge currently extant that can allow the creation of such a collector cell, and even if it was possible, the zero point energy in a volume the size of the Earth is so small as to be fairly useless.[1]

According to Martin Gardner in his essay collection Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?, one of the chief researchers involved in ZPE study is Harold Puthoff, who was one of the most prominent of a crowd of Geller-gawkers in the 1970s height of the Human Potential Movement. Gardner noted that Puthoff's work on ZPE lacked transparency and solid science, and in that regard was much like his Geller work.


[edit] Alternative medicine

See the main article on this topic: Alternative medicine

The term "zero point energy" has been thrown into the jargon pile for selling quantum woo as medicine, e.g. the fine and 100% water products of Amega International, which are apparently made using it. Amega also sells a small, pen-sized metal "wand" that is said to incorporate "zero point energy" into either food or the body by hovering the wand over the desired area of effect and slowly drawing circles in the air with the wand. Quantum woo practitioners completely abuse the term, since the way they define it and how it allegedly works has nothing to do with science.

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  1. There is also the somewhat disturbing question of a false vacuum collapse — according to some models of physics, zero-point energy represents a state where space itself can collapse to a lower, so far unobserved energy level. If this happened, an ever-expanding bubble would shred the fabric of the universe, and no one really knows what would result. Current science doesn't really know if it's possible, but if it makes you feel any better, we'd never see it coming. More info at false vacuum.Wikipedia's W.svg
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