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Is the Universe a Hologram?Scientists Answer the Most Provocative Questions$
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Adolfo Plasencia

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036016

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036016.001.0001

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From Casimir Forces to Black-Body Radiation: Quantum and Thermal Fluctuations

From Casimir Forces to Black-Body Radiation: Quantum and Thermal Fluctuations

(p.43) 4 From Casimir Forces to Black-Body Radiation: Quantum and Thermal Fluctuations
Is the Universe a Hologram?

Alejandro W. Rodriguez

Adolfo Plasencia

The MIT Press

This dialogue with physicist Alejandro W. Rodríguez is in two parts. The first part, which took place in the MIT campus, reflects on how theory has been overtaking experimentation in recent developments in science. It also addresses the subject of the Casimir forces and their effects by using devices which benefit from them in everyday life. Later, Alejandro explains why the vacuum is not empty; and, what are the "virtual photons". In the second part, Alejandro explains his current research in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Princeton University, focusing on the black body; and quantum and thermal processes of electromagnetic fluctuations at the nanoscale, where the rules of quantum mechanics now hold sway. He is now studying quantum fluctuations and how the forces and energy exchanged between objects work. This all-important area is the current driving force for development in the field of thermovoltaic energy and thermal panels for capturing light; an area with a revolutionary potential capable of changing the existing relationship of humans with energy, technology and the environment, in other words, with the planet.

Keywords:   Quantum physics, Quantum mechanics, Casimir forces, The vacuum, Virtual photons, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Black body, Black-body limit, Thermophotovoltaic energy generation

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