In Classical Physics
* History: In antiquity, Plato and Aristotle thought that a vacuum could not exist; In medieval Europe to discuss a vacuum became heretical and dangerous ("Nature abhors a vacuum"); 1550, The word "vacuum" is first used in English, by Thomas Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury) in the Book of Common Prayer; 1644, Evangelista Torricelli produced the first vacuum in the laboratory and brought the concept into experimental physics, as part of his solution to a mystery that frustrated Tuscan well diggers; When they tried to raise water more than about 10 m, the water would separate from the well plunger and rise no further; Galileo considered the problem, but died with it unresolved; Torricelli did not make his results public at first, but showed the experiment to Marin Mersenne, who then told Pascal and made the news public in France.
* Status: 1998, The best one obtained on Earth has a 0.8-cm mean interatom separation (n = 2 atoms/cm3, 5 × 10–17 torr); In interstellar space, the separation is 1 cm; In the galactic halo, 10 cm; In intergalactic space, 10 m [@ NS(98)apr10].
@ References: Herbert pw(07)jul [challenges of vacuum technology]; Williams APS(12)oct [Torricelli].
In Quantum Mechanics > s.a. fluctuations.
* Zero point energy: Introduced by Max Planck in the spring of 1911, as a heuristic principle in the early struggles to establish the concept of the energy quantum.
* Zero-point fluctuations: Those corresponding to the residual energy an oscillator has in the ground state.
@ Zero point energy: Boyer AP(70) [and long-range forces]; Puthoff PRD(87) [and H ground level]; Milonni & Shih AJP(91)aug [history]; Yam SA(97)dec; Mehra & Rechenberg FP(99) [history]; de la Peña et al AJP(08)oct [harmonic oscillator, and Planck's law].
In Quantum Field Theory > s.a. mass; types of measurements [non-demolition vacuum measurement]; vacuum phenomenology.
* Vacuum state: A state which gives zero when acted upon by the annihilation operators associated with all modes of a complete set defined using a timelike (Killing) vector field; Also, a pure, quasi-free state.
* Properties: In Minkowski quantum field theories it has zero conserved quantities, and is Poincaré-invariant.
@ General references: Milton IJMPA(05)ht/04-in [hadronic physics]; Ford & Roman PRD(05)gq [stress-energy fluctuations and correlations]; Fulling PLB(05)mp [regularized]; Rizzo & Rikken PS(05) [magneto-electro-optical properties]; Solomon PS(06)qp [in Dirac hole theory]; Summers a0802-conf [overview]; Prykarpatsky & Bogolubov a0807 [and Maxwell theory]; Volovik a1004-ch [phenomenology, superfluid], a1111-proc [topology].
@ Uniqueness issues: Sachs PRL(94); Schützhold et al ht/00 [λφ4]; Dybalski CMP(08); > s.a. superselection rules.
@ Stability issues: Álvarez & Vidal JCAP(10)-a1004 [instability of vacuum energy in de Sitter spacetime, with an external gravitational field]; Garriga et al JCAP(11) [Minkowski vacua can be metastable].
@ Vacuum polarization: Satz et al PRD(05) [around spherical stars]; Fujita et al a0901 [new renormalization scheme].
@ Vacuum decay: Ansoldi PoS-a0709 [semiclassical]; Cardella et al JHEP(08)-a0807 [no resonant decay in gauge theories of scalar fields].
@ Space of vacuum states: Niedermaier & Seiler CMP(07)mp/06 [with non-amenable symmetries].
@ Inequivalent vacua: Winters-Hilt et al PRD(99) [flat space]; > s.a. quantum field theory effects in curved spacetime and different backgrounds; theta vacua.
@ Vacuum amplification / dominance: Oikonomou a1308 [scalar field and electric field]; > s.a. semiclassical gravity.
General References > s.a. quantum
@ I: Greiner & Hamilton AS(80)mar; Von Baeyer ThSc(87)mar; Boyer SA(85)aug; Barrow 00, 07; Boi 11 [r CP(12)].
@ Books: Grant 81 [historical]; Genz 99; Saunders & Brown ed-91 [philosophical]; Close 09.
@ Physical: Aitchison CP(85); Sciama in(91); Zichichi ed-96; Brandt qp/03 [heuristics]; Consoli et al PhyA(14) [the vacuum as a turbulent fluid].
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