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Physics, Volume 1, Issue 3 (December 2019) – 8 articles
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Cover Story (view full-size image) The energy density of the vacuum, the dark energy, and the cosmological constant are highly debated [...] Read more. The energy density of the vacuum, the dark energy, and the cosmological constant are highly debated topics today, as quantum field theory suggests a typical number that is some 120 orders of magnitude larger than what has been observed. On the other hand, the corresponding zero-point energy in equilibrium condensed-matter systems is fully cancelled by the microscopic degrees of freedom, which serve as atomic analogues of the Planck-scale degrees of freedom of the quantum vacuum. In a similar way, q-theory, which uses the 4-form field introduced by Hawking to describe the quantum vacuum, demonstrates the nullification of the dark energy in a full-equilibrium vacuum. Here, we apply q-theory to the description of a small Big Bang, which starts in a finite region of space with high vacuum energy—the q-bubble. The fate of this q-bubble depends on the initial conditions, changing from full dispersion of the vacuum energy to black hole collapse.