When Quantum Foam Freezes
One of my favorite concepts about the universe is that of quantum foam. At the smallest level, at the Planck scale where truly nothing smaller can exist, in the midst of “empty space” devoid of air, radiation, and supposedly anything else… is a writhing, bubbling, constantly dynamic environment of this quantum foam.
Particles and antiparticles pop into existence and then self-annihilate in moments of time so short they can barely be measured. Energy and anti-energy entangle and dissolve inside the space between atoms, the space between nucleons, the space in our bodies and the space in the middle of stars.
Even at absolute zero, this foam would not be completely stationary. They may be far less energetic, but they will still jiggle around; in fact they’re required to by the laws of physics. Technically, this means that absolute zero is a limit that we can never actually quite reach.
Asking what quantum foam looks like is, in itself, sort of a nonsense question, because at this level of smallness, light itself is bigger than what we’re looking at. And light, obviously, is the only way you and I can see anything. Using light to see quantum foam is like using a broom to polish a pinhead. It’s just not going to work. So already, “looking at quantum foam” is something of an impossibility.
Looking at quantum foam when it’s frozen is thus a double impossibility, since we have just shown that it can never really be frozen, and in fact it is the phenomenon that prevents perfect freezing from being physically possible.
So here’s what I think quantum foam looks like when it’s frozen.
And you can see the full resolution HD detail below: