vacuum fluctuation


A spontaneous, short-lived fluctuation in the energy level of a vacuum, as described by quantum field theory. Although these variations are violations of the law of conservation of energy, they are tolerated in quantum mechanics by virtue of the uncertainty principle. Such fluctuations are associated with virtual particles.

QUIZZES

FOR POSTERITY’S SAKE, TAKE THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

Are words your bailiwick? Take the latest quiz on the words from July 6 to July 12 to find out.
Question 1 of 7
bailiwick
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.