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Tim Gates Blog
*Timothy P. Gates is an Engineer and Science Writer at

The Physical Vacuum

As always, I provide simplified summaries throughout the article, do give up reading.


Since we have thought of space in its purist form as a vacuum, we will start by considering what was speculated about a vacuum and what is now known about a vacuum. The response of most people to the question “what is a vacuum?”, would generally be “space with nothing in it, nothingness”. Study of what we refer to as “space” has proved quite the contrary. The name for this new view of “space” is the “physical vacuum”.

Magdeburg hemispheres

The Magdeburg hemispheres are a pair of large copper hemispheres with mating rims. When the rims were sealed with grease and the air was pumped out, the sphere contained a vacuum and could not be pulled apart by teams of horses. The Magdeburg hemispheres were designed by German scientist and mayor of Magdeburg,[1] Otto von Guericke in 1656 to demonstrate the air pump which he had invented, and the concept of atmospheric pressure.


It is the weight of the air outside of the hemispheres that prevented pulling them apart once they were internally voided of atmosphere.


To “create” some of this space, let’s use an imaginary sphere of a size that you like and we will remove all solids, liquids and gas. This is what is referred to as a perfect vacuum. Now that we have this perfect vacuum, let’s push a few things at it to see how it responds. We start with sound and we find that sound will not pass through the vacuum because there is no solid, liquid or gas to transfer the mechanical vibrations or sound waves through the vacuum. Next we try electromagnetic energy starting with the shortest wavelengths (gamma rays) and work our way through progressively longer wavelengths, through the visible light spectrum, infrared, radiant heat, radio frequencies and even some very long wavelengths, all of which pass through this “perfect vacuum”.

While we were throwing different wavelengths of energy at our vacuum, we noticed that this vacuum still retained heat or thermal radiation. Ok, we fix that by perfectly insulating our sphere and then cooling it down to absolute zero (-273C or -459F) thus removing all thermal energy. But, this vacuum still contains measurable energy. Science has dubbed a vacuum void of solid, liquid, gas and thermal radiation as being at “Zero Point Energy”. Remember that this energy is called, “Zero Point Energy” because it exists at a temperature of absolute zero.

Science has now discovered that this ZPE is present universally in every atomic structure, even to the far corners (everywhere within) of the cosmos.


How was this discovered? More than a hundred years ago, experiments were preformed with a cavity radiator known as a “black body”.


Black body From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation. Because of this perfect absorptivity at all wavelengths, a black body is also the best possible emitter of thermal radiation, which it radiates incandescently in a characteristic, continuous spectrum that depends on the body's temperature. At Earth-ambient temperatures this emission is in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum and is not visible. The object appears black, since it does not reflect or emit any visible light.

The thermal radiation from a black body is energy converted electrodynamically from the body's pool of internal thermal energy at any temperature greater than absolute zero. It is called blackbody radiation and has a frequency distribution with a characteristic frequency of maximum radiative power that shifts to higher frequencies with increasing temperature. As the temperature increases past a few hundred degrees Celsius, black bodies start to emit visible wavelengths, appearing red, orange, yellow, white, and blue with increasing temperature. When an object is visually white, it is emitting a substantial fraction as ultraviolet radiation. The term black body was introduced by Gustav Kirchhoff in 1860.

Knocking this down into simpler language:

1.      A black body absorbs all energy that falls upon it, invisible radiation, light, heat, radio waves etc…

2.      Any object of high temperature placed in a room of lower temperature will have to give off heat until it reaches an equilibrium with the temperature in the room, that is to say that it reaches the same temperature as that of the room. The temperature of the object reduces and the temperature of the room increases until they approach equality.

3.      So this black body, as it absorbs energy must also release energy to stay equal with everything around it. It absorbs all energy, converts it to thermal energy (heat) and then radiates (emits) the excess energy.

4.      At normal room temperature, this radiated excess energy is emitted as infrared and not visible to the human eye. The black body radiator emits this energy at any temperature above absolute zero. As the temperature of the black body increases, from absorbing energy, the energy radiated shifts to infrared and then visible light and even ultraviolet.

The black body used in the experiments was a hollow sphere with a tiny hole to allow radiation to be emitted from inside the black body. The radiation emitting from this tiny hole represents the internal energy of the black body and is used to measure the internal temperature. Remember that all science is based upon observation and experiments to support theories spawned inspired by the first observation. Several different groups of scientist exercised the black body cavity at different temperature levels, recording the results. These results can then be expressed in a mathematical formula and verified by first using the formula to predict a result and then creating the circumstance and then measuring the result. Test the black body emission at three different temperatures and write a formula that agrees with the three separate circumstances. Then pick a fourth temperature, use the formula to calculate the level of radiation from the tiny hole in the black body and then adjust the temperature of the black body to that fourth temperature and measure the emitted radiation to validate the mathematical formula.


Knocking down the language some more, the formula was tested at multiple temperatures from very low to very high with total predictability of results. When the formula was subjected to absolute zero temperature, it was found that the results indicated a uniform, isotropic background radiation. OR, that there is energy in the background totally independent of the temperature of the black body. Just wrap your mind around that last sentence before proceeding.

If you remove all energy of a known source, there is still energy there from an unknown source and it is constant regardless of the energy levels of the know sources of energy.

The long and short of it is this; science recognizes that if you remove all physical matter and known energy, there is still something there. Call it “Zero Point Energy” or as I call it “the power of God that is beyond our understanding”.

How great is this energy in the background? it has been stated that: “Formally, physicists attribute an infinite amount of energy to this background. But, even when they impose appropriate cutoffs at high frequency, they estimate conservatively that the zero-point density is comparable to the energy density inside an atomic nucleus” Science Editor, New Scientist, 1989.

There is estimated to be more than 100 billion stars in our universe, the level of energy in one cubic centimeter (about the size of a large vitamin tablet) of vacuum is in excess of all of the energy radiated from these stars for one million years. For all practical purposes, the energy contained in a thimble of space is as infinite as God himself.


I reached the early twentieth century in this article, there is much more as to how ZPE has shaped modern physics that is yet to be discussed.


5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. Prov 3:5Prov 3:5 AMP. BIBLE

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