Zero Point Energy

NOTE: a full explanation regarding the Zero Point Energy, its origin and its effects, is available in Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy, a 465 page monograph published by the NPA, 2013.

What is the ZPE?
Too Big?
The SED Approach
What is its significance?
The ZPE and electron energy
ZPE and the atom
Additional on the ZPE Effect on the Atom
SED Physics and QED physics, what's the difference?
ZPE and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
The Zero Point Energy and the Casimir Force
Different Concepts of the ZPE?
Some Questions from Belgium
The Rubber Band Analogy
The ZPE and nerve transmission rate
ZPE and Metals through time
ZPE and the Speed of Light


What is the ZPE?

ZPE means Zero Point Energy.  It is explained by Setterfield in Exploring the Vacuum, and a number of other papers you will find in Research Papers, the most recent of which is Zero Point Energy and the Redshift.

Questions:  Is the ZPE real?  Is it a real energy that pervades the cosmos, and gives rise to a force, as opposed to a purely mathematical concept that appears in some of the equations of the uncertainty principle?   Do physics students learn about ZPE in their classes? I had never heard of ZPE or ZPF before encountering the terms in Barry's papers, and I want to know if I am learning about something important.

 Here is a bit on the ZPE (please notify us if one of these links is no longer operational.)

 The following explanation from the QED perspective is from a professor of physics who was aware of the initial question: 

I will do my best to explain.  You are asking a good question (in fact, the right question).  I think that all physicists believe that there is some reality behind the equations they use.  The question is how far the correspondence goes.  The ZPE is probably the best case of such a quandary.  On the one hand, the QED theory is one of the best attested theories in physics.  You can calculate certain predictions with the theory to over ten digits of precision and then measure in the laboratory with similarly high precision and the results agree.  The success of the theory is impressive.  However, the theory has some strange mathematical problems.  To get some of these predictions you need to carefully subtract off infinities from your equations. Infinities like the ZPE.  When you get infinities in your equations, it usually is a very bad thing- it usually means that your whole theory has broken down.  The idea of subtracting infinity from your equation so as to get an answer suggests strongly that something about your equation DOES NOT CORRESPOND to reality. 

Almost everything is physics is analogous to a "simple harmonic oscillator", something like a vibrating tuning fork.  In the quantum theory even the lowest energy state of the tuning fork has some vibration and thus some energy.  It will never be totally at rest.  In QED all the different colors of light are like vibrating tuning forks - but they are everywhere and for the whole spectrum of light.  If you add up the energies of these oscillators, even if they are in the lowest energy state, the result is infinite.  So then, one asks, how can the analogy hold?  Good question.  But if you subtract off this infinity (the energy of the lowest state- the zero point energy) and just worry about what happens if you bang a few of these tuning forks (adding a finite amount of extra energy) you get very good agreement with experiment about what happens. 

QED is a graduate level course, so I don't think that the average undergraduate physics major will know in mathematical detail about the problem of the ZPE.  Some may have heard of it. 


Too Big?

Comment:  The ZPE levels quoted in Barry's papers seem extraordinarily large. Secondly, Barry is predicting a large refraction of EM energy as it travels through space. But the cosmic background radiation shows no such refraction.

Setterfield: The energy levels for the ZPE are standard figures. One quote in New Scientist some months back put it at 1098 ergs/cc, right in the middle of the range given here. Hal Puthoff has figures within that range.

There will be no refraction of electro-magnetic waves traveling through space because space is a non-dispersive medium. The key point that maintains this fact is the intrinsic impedance of space, Z*. This quantity Z* = 376.7 ohms. It has ALWAYS been 376.7 ohms. If there were a change in Z* with time, refraction would occur as it does when light enters another medium. Because the electric and magnetic vectors of a light wave are BOTH uniformly changing synchronously, Z* does not change. That results since both the permittivity and permeability of space (the two terms that make up Z*) are equally affected by ZPE changes. If only one was affected, as we had in our 1987 Report, there would be consequences that are not in accord with observation, and dispersion and/or refraction would occur.


Question:  I have been reading your article about Zero Point Energy, and I am fascinated by it.  I was hoping you could elaborate on how in one cubic centimeter it contains more energy than all stars and space, that really baffles me. 

Setterfield:  Thank you for the question.  It lets me know there have been some misunderstandings, and I am happy for a chance to clear them up. 

The Zero Point Energy (ZPE) is indeed pervasive throughout the whole volume of space.  Each cubic centimeter of space has the same amount of ZPE.  It is an extremely large amount, but not quite as large as you seem to have been led to believe.  Certainly, each cc contains more energy than expended by all the stars in OUR GALAXY in a million years, but this is a 'few degrees' less than all the stars in space!  How is this possible?   

Think about a rubber band.  Stretch it.  Stretch it more.  Until it is almost ready to break.  You have just invested it with quite a bit of energy -- all contained in that little bit of rubber.  

In the Bible, we read twelve times that God says He stretched the heavens.  If this verb is correct, and I believe it is, then the entire fabric of space has been invested with energy past our ability to even imagine it.  This is why each cc of space has such an enormous amount of energy in it.  We cannot feel it because it is all around us and in us equally -- and, besides, we're used to it!  But it is there.  The pressure of our atmosphere gives a good picture.  You cannot feel fourteen pounds per square inch of pressure on your skin, but it is there.  On the other hand, if that pressure were suddenly (or even slowly) released, you would literally explode.  The same with the ZPE. 

I hope this helps.  The energy itself is from God -- from His action in stretching out the heavens. 


The SED Approach

 Comment and Reference:  As you know, one of the main problems with QED is that the ZPF is not renormalizable in a Riemannian space, even if the ultra-violet is truncated. 

I ran across this paper on a google search. Thought I'd pass it on.

"Quantum and classical statistics of the electromagnetic zero-point field", originally published in Phys. Rev. A,54, 2737 (1996)

Authors: M. Ibison, B. Haisch
Comments: 18 pages
Journal-ref: Phys. Rev. A, vol. 54, pp. 2737-2744 (1996)
A classical electromagnetic zero-point field (ZPF) analogue of the vacuum of quantum field theory has formed the basis for theoretical investigations in the discipline known as random or stochastic electrodynamics (SED) wherein quantum measurements are imitated by the introduction of a stochastic classical background EM field. Random EM fluctuations are assumed to provide perturbations which can mimic some quantum phenomena while retaining a purely classical basis, e.g. the Casimir force, the Van-der-Waals force, the Lamb shift, spontaneous emission, the RMS radius of the harmonic oscillator, and the radius of the Bohr atom. This classical ZPF is represented as a homogeneous, isotropic ensemble of plane waves with fixed amplitudes and random phases. Averaging over the random phases is assumed to be equivalent to taking the ground-state expectation values of the corresponding quantum operator. We demonstrate that this is not precisely correct by examining the statistics of the classical ZPF in contrast to that of the EM quantum vacuum. We derive the distribution for the individual mode amplitudes in the ground-state as predicted by quantum field theory (QFT) and then carry out the same calculation for the classical ZPF analogue, showing that the distributions are only in approximate agreement, diverging as the density of k states decreases. We introduce an alternative classical ZPF with a different stochastic character, and demonstrate that it can exactly reproduce the statistics of the EM vacuum of QED. Incorporated into SED, this new field is shown to give the correct (QM) distribution for the amplitude of the ground-state of a harmonic oscillator, suggesting the possibility of developing further successful correspondences between SED and QED.

  “The ZPE increase violates conservation of energy or universe is contracting" 

Setterfield:   The quantised redshift shows that the universe is probably static. Recent work has shown that a static cosmos is stable against collapse. The increase in the ZPE with time can be looked at  in the same way that potential energy changes into kinetic energy -  for example a child on a swing.  The process takes a finite time.   Thus the potential energy of the expansion of the cosmos by God changes into the kinetic energy of the ZPE over time - fast at first, then tapering down. This is the sort of graph we have from the  redshift.

 The existence of the ZPE/ZPF was first indicated in a Paper by Max Planck in 1911. It occurred as an extra (temperature independent) term in equations describing the radiation of a black body. In 1913, Einstein and Stern published a paper with a similar term which further suggested the existence of the ZPE/ZPF. Then Nernst in 1916 also published a key article on the ZPE/ZPF. Importantly, in each case, the additional term describing the ZPE/ZPF had an f3 dependence. In fact the term was hf3/(2π).


Comment:  In other words the f3 dependence appeared as a necessary consequence of radiation theory. It is therefore not an assumption.

 Setterfield:  You ask if this f3distribution has been confirmed by experiment. In a way, yes. If it was not an f3dependence, two craft out in space traveling at different velocities but the same direction would see the properties of the vacuum differently. This has not been observed.  In other words, this  f3 result is in accord with observation. Note  that, while the properties of the ZPE/ZPF are invariant to velocity  differences, they are not invariant to acceleration. This property  emerged as a result of examination of the behaviour of the ZPE/ZPF by  Paul Davies and independently by Unruh.  It is now known as the "Davies/Unruh Effect".


What is the significance of the ZPE?

 Setterfield:  Last year, a New Scientist cover article of May 11, 2002, was about the excitement and consternation of physicists as they contemplated the likely acceptance of John Webb's observation that requires a varying alpha, and hence a varying c. There were various interesting speculations about how physics might cope with the crisis.  This quote particularly caught my attention. 

“But simply tweaking the electron charge or light speed is unsatisfactory,” counters Xavier Calmet, a theorist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. "The problem is, if you have variation of the speed of light, you need some special kind of physics," he says. "What would cause such a variation?" 

We all know that the Webb observation is still under review, although well-informed observers like Barrow and Davies are confident that it will pass the tests.  If they are right, Calmet's analysis seems worth serious consideration.  Physics will need a new theory that explains how c variation can occur.   Where might theorists begin in looking for such a theory?  If the ZPE is real energy, pervasive throughout the cosmos, isn't it the obvious candidate?   Is there another?


Questions:  How much energy are we talking about here?  Wouldn't the energy being radiated by the stars themselves add to it?

Setterfield: The energy density of the ZPE is so large that one cubic centimetre contains the amount of energy expended by a whole galaxy of stars burning for 1 million years.  On this basis, the energy input to the ZPE from the stars and other sources since Creation has been negligible compared with the total ZPE existing in the cosmos. Instead the increase in the strength of the ZPE may be attributed to a different cause.

Please see "Behavior of the Zero Point Energy and Atomic Constants and "Exploring the Vacuum" for a more detailed and referenced lay explanation. [this response updated Sept. 7, 2007]


Questions:  How does the ZPE affect light speed?  Does it affect anything else?

Setterfield:  The behaviour of the ZPE is the crucial point. That is the basic cause of all else.  The observational evidence indicates that the ZPE has increased with time. According to Stochastic Electro-Dynamics or the SED approach to quantum physics, Planck's constant, 'h', is a measure of the strength of the ZPE.  Planck's constant has been measured as showing a statistically significant increase over time. Furthermore, electron rest-mass, 'm', is also ZPE dependent such that if the ZPE increases, m must also increase. This occurs because the "jiggling" of the electron by the waves of the ZPE will increase when there are more waves; that is when the ZPE is stronger. The more the energy of the "jiggling", the more mass electrons appear to have. The values of 'm' over the last century have also shown a statistically significant increase. Finally light-speed, 'c', is inversely related to the ZPE. An increase in the ZPE means that there are more virtual particles in the path of a light photon over a given distance.  The virtual particles absorb the light photon, then, as the particle annihilates, the photon is re-emitted.  The process, while fast, takes up a finite amount of time.  Thus the photon of light is like a runner on a track with hurdles. The runner can go at their maximum achievable speed with no hurdles.  As the number of hurdles increases, the time taken for the runner to complete the course takes progressively longer. Thus an increase in the ZPE means an increase in the number of virtual particles (hurdles) per linear distance, which in turn means it takes longer for light to travel a given distance. We measure that as a decrease in light-speed 'c'. Importantly, light-speed has been measured as declining with time over the last 350 years (see the 1987 Report). This means that the ZPE must be increasing over that length of time. 

 As far as the atomic side of things is concerned, Puthoff in 1987 demonstrated in Physical Review D, Vol. 35:10, p. 3266, that the ZPE is supporting all atomic structures across the cosmos.  He pointed out mathematically that an electron in orbit around a proton or nucleus must be radiating energy according to classical concepts. However, according to SED concepts, the same electron must also be absorbing energy from the ZPE.  As Puthoff showed mathematically, the power radiated by the electron is equal to the power absorbed from the ZPE. In other words, the whole orbit structure of every atom is sustained by the ZPE. The proposal that the varying light-speed (Vc) model makes is this: as the ZPE energy density increases with time throughout the cosmos, so must the energy of every orbit in every atom.  However, one must not expect this increase to be a smooth function. Rather, since many atomic processes are quantised, or go in jumps, so also will the increase in the energy levels in the atom. It is rather like a full bottle of soda sitting on a table.  If you push it gently with your finger, it will not move.  You keep increasing the pressure on the bottle with your finger until a threshold is reached at which time the bottle jerks forward.  Thus it is with the atoms, the increase in energy for the whole orbit structure can only occur once a certain threshold is reached, then each atom in the cosmos goes to a higher energy level.  Thus, light emitted by these atoms will be more energetic, or bluer, with the passing of time, but the change will go in jumps.  Astronomers view this in reverse. As we look back in time to more distant objects, the light emitted from these objects becomes redder (less energetic) in jumps.  We call this the quantised redshift, something that astronomer William Tifft from Arizona has been pointing out for the last 25 years.


Comment:  If the atomic rate in the past was much higher, you would need more ZPE to "save" the electrons. 

 Setterfield:  Your problem is that electrons were moving faster in their orbits when the ZPE was lower and light-speed was higher.  As a consequence of this faster motion, the atomic clock ticked faster. Why? Because the rest-mass, 'm', of electrons was lower.  In the equations for an electron in motion in an atomic orbit, one of the important quantities is the kinetic energy of the electron.  This is 1/2 mv^2 where m is electron rest-mass and 'v' is its velocity in orbit.  Consider for a moment what happens within a quantum interval for an atom; that is in the time between quantum jumps in energy. Since no extra energy is accessible to the atom until a full quantum threshold is reached, all atomic processes work on the basis of energy conservation. But here is an electron whose mass is smoothly changing as the ZPE steadily increases because the jiggling from the ZPE is increasing.  Because the kinetic energy of the electron remains fixed within the quantum interval, and the quantity 'm' is increasing with time, then the other part of the equation, the electron velocity 'v' must drop with time.  Thus, as we look back into the past, electron velocities in their orbits increase with time. 


Questions:  You have stated that there are two different clocks in operation, the orbital clock and the atomic clock.  Why would the "atomic clock" have "ticked" faster in the past?  What does this have to do with the ZPE?

Setterfield:  The energy imparted to the fabric of space by initial cosmological expansion is like the energy imparted to a rubber band when it is stretched.  That energy is potential energy.  In the case of the rubber band, if it remains stretched, that potential energy gradually changes to kinetic energy and is dissipated into the atmosphere as heat radiation. We do not notice it because the quantities involved are so tiny.  The same thing is happening to the fabric of space.  The potential energy of the stretching gradually changes into the electromagnetic radiation of the ZPE. Thus, when the energy level of the ZPE (the kinetic energy) is low, the potential energy of the cosmos is high.  In a similar way when a spring-wound clock has been wound up to its maximum, the clock's rate of ticking is fast, but as the spring unwinds, the rate of ticking slows down. The atomic clock is ticking according to the same principles.  When universal potential energy is high (low ZPE), the atomic clocks tick faster.  As the ZPE increases and the cosmological potential energy decreases, the rate at which atomic clocks tick also slows down.

Questions:  .. can you clear up which reaction rates are c-dependent? The reference to "stellar reaction rates" implies that it is the fusion rates within stars which are c-dependent - these are essentially nuclear reactions. However, the later statement that "every photon emitted had a lower energy" looks like a reference to photon emission by electronic transitions between energy levels in atoms, rather than nuclear reactions. Which of these processes are you referring to ? 

Can I ask a supplementary question too ? If Planck's constant, h, varies inversely with c, what are the effects of cDK on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle ?

Setterfield:  Thank you for seeking a clarification. Allow me to make a few background comments before coming to your questions.  

The basic concept is that the Zero-Point Energy (ZPE) of the vacuum is increasing with time.  There is a specific reason for this related to initial cosmological expansion after the inception of the cosmos.  This increase in the energy density of the Zero-Point Fields (ZPF) does two things.  It slows the speed of light and affects atomic processes.  Hal Puthoff in 1987 demonstrated that the ZPE maintains all atomic structures throughout the cosmos[Phys. Rev. D, 35:10, pp.3266-3269, 15 May 1987, also New Scientist 28 July, 1990, pp. 36-39]. It can be shown that the intrinsic energy of atomic particles as well as atomic orbit energies is ZPE dependent. Now a smoothly changing ZPE results in a smoothly changing speed of light. However, atomic processes are quantised and unable to access additional energy from the ZPE until a quantum threshold is reached.  Therefore, as the ZPE increases with time and light-speed drops, atomic orbit energies remain fixed and atomic processes proceed on the basis of energy conservation, until the quantum threshold is exceeded.  At that point, an additional quantum of energy becomes available to atoms, and the energy of any given orbit undergoes a quantum increase.  There are a number of other quantities that undergo a quantum change simultaneously, including atomic masses, velocities, frequencies and wavelengths. The net result is a quantum change in all atomic phenomena that leads to a consistent redshifting of all atomic processes as we look back in time.  The details are enumerated in Behavior of the Zero Point Energy and Atomic Constants.   

Now it can be shown that radioactive decay processes and nuclear fusion are both c-dependent reactions (related via a beta decay process). Therefore the number of reactions per unit time is proportional to c. The energy emitted in the stellar reactions is a gamma photon due to mass loss in the conversion of hydrogen to helium. Now within the quantum interval, because energy is conserved as c decays, atomic masses are inversely proportional to c2, so the energy of the emitted gamma photon remains unchanged.  However, at the quantum jump, there is a quantum change in all relevant atomic quantities including masses, velocities, frequencies and wavelengths.  Since the change in the ZPE and hence light-speed is infinitesimally small at the precise moment of the jump, the quantum change resets all these atomic parameters in comparison with light-speed. Thus, at the moment of the jump, atomic masses change, but light-speed does not, so there is a change in the energy of the emitted photon. Therefore, the energy of the emitted gamma photon was lower in the past, being consistently redshifted like other atomic phenomena.   

There is another way of coming at this.  The emitted gamma photon has to escape from the sun or star.  To do so, it battles past the screen of atomic particles in the central and outer regions of a star. This scattering process delays the energy getting to the surface, trapping the photons inside a star, and effectively pumps a star full of light like a balloon being blown up. The relevant parameter governing this process is the opacity of a star.  In the outer regions of the sun or star, this energy is no longer emitted as a gamma ray, but as visible light with spectral lines of the elements in that outer region, because atoms exist in the outer regions. In other words, atoms in the photosphere absorb and re-emit the energy that is coming from the interior. Because those atoms and their orbits change their energies at the quantum jump, the emitted photons will also have their energies changed. Consequently, light from distant objects will be progressively redshifted in quantum jumps as Tifft and others have observed.

Insofar as the Uncertainty Principle is dependent upon Planck's constant "h", and h is proportional to 1/c, it might then be stated that things were less "uncertain" when light-speed was higher. Remember that SED formalism is conceptually different to the traditional QED approach, even though they give the same results mathematically. Thus in 1975 Boyer established that the fluctuations caused by the Zero-Point Energy on the positions of particles were in exact agreement with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle [ Phys. Rev. D. 11:4, p.790]. Using this formalism, h thereby becomes a measure of the strength of the ZPF, since the ZPF fluctuations provide an irreducible random noise at the atomic level which is then interpreted as innate uncertainty [Puthoff, New Scientist, 28 July, 1990, p.36. Also, Haisch, Rueda & Puthoff, Spec. Sci. & Tech. Vol. 20, 1997, p.99.]. In effect the zero-point fields "jiggle" the sub-atomic particles around as in the electron's "zitterbewegung". Therefore, in SED formalism, if h is increasing with time, this means that the strength of the ZPF must also be increasing. [response updated Sept. 7, 2007]


Question:  Just to give me some "feel" for how cDK has progressed, what was the value of c in 1000 A.D., at the time of Christ, and in 1000 B.C.?

Setterfield:  As far as the second question is concerned, the values for c on the requested dates reveal the oscillation which is superimposed upon the general decline in c.  For 1000 AD, c was of the order of 310,000 km/s; at the time of Christ it was around 290,000 km/s; at 1000 BC it was around 270,000 km/s.


Question:  Which element causes the change in ZPE. It would seem that the ZPE of the vacuum depends on three things: Planck's Constant h, the density of states, and the cutoff frequency? Which of these things' changing is responsible for the changing ZPE?"

Setterfield:  In reply it must first be stated that your question is coming from the "traditional" QED point of view of the ZPE.  The SED approach, initiated by Einstein, Stern, Nernst and even Planck himself, has only been explored in more recent times.  This approach is conceptually different, although it gives the same answers mathematically.  As a result of the work of these great names in physics, plus more recent successes, it has been pointed out that "The most optimistic outcome of the SED approach would be to demonstrate that classical physics plus a classical ZPE could successfully replicate all quantum phenomena." While SED formalism has been successful up to this point, many more man-years of work may be needed to fully achieve this goal [Haisch, Rueda & Puthoff, Spec. in Sci. & Tech., Vol. 20 (1997), p. 99ff.].

On the SED approach, then, Planck's constant h is an effect that has been caused by the ZPE and is not in and of itself responsible for the ZPE.  Instead, h becomes a measure of the strength of the ZPF, since the ZPF fluctuations provide an irreducible random noise at the atomic level which is then interpreted as innate uncertainty [Haisch, Rueda & Puthoff, op. cit. and Puthoff, New Scientist, 28 July 1990, p.36].  Furthermore, a short wavelength cutoff for the ZPE emerges naturally since the ZPE originates as an intrinsic electromagnetic property of the vacuum. Because "the Planck length is the length at which the smoothness of space breaks down and space assumes a granular structure" [Pipkin & Ritter, Science, Vol. 219 (1983) p.4587], it becomes impossible for the "fabric of space" to transmit electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter than this.

The question that you are really asking  is "how does the ZPE originate on the SED approach?" Puthoff pointed out that there were two possibilities [Physical Review A, Vol. 40:9, pp.4857-4862, Nov. 1, 1989].  He has explored one option in that article, while Behavior of the Zero Point Energy and Atomic Constants  and Exploring the Vacuum explore the alternative, namely that initial inflation determined some of these physical properties of the vacuum.  [response updated Sept. 7, 2007]


Question:  When I read Puthoff he showed only how ZPE absorption balanced by emission could account only for the ground state of the Hydrogen atom in the Bohr theory. That is a far cry from showing that it maintains all atomic structure throughout the cosmos. What am I missing?

Setterfield:  The point that you are missing comes from two quotes, the first in the final paragraph of that same paper by Puthoff.  It reads "Finally, it is seen that a well-defined, precise quantitative argument can be made that the ground state of the hydrogen atom is defined by a dynamic equilibrium in which collapse of the state is prevented by the presence of zero-point fluctuations of the electromagnetic field.  This carries with it the attendant implication that the stability of matter itself is largely mediated by ZPF phenomena in the manner described here, a concept that transcends the usual [QED] interpretation of the role and significance of the zero-point fluctuations of the vacuum electromagnetic field." [Phys. Rev. D. 35:10, pp.3266-3268]. 

Puthoff emphasises the point in New Scientist, 28 July, 1990, p.36-39 when he states "I have discovered that you can consider the electron [in an atomic orbit] as continually radiating away its energy as predicted by classical theory, but simultaneously absorbing a compensating amount of energy from the ever-present sea of zero-point energy in which the atom is immersed.  An equilibrium between these two processes leads to the correct values for the parameters that define the lowest energy, or ground-state orbit (see "Why atoms don't collapse", New Scientist, July 1987). Thus there is a dynamic equilibrium in which the zero-point energy stabilises the electron in a set ground-state orbit. It seems that the very stability of matter itself appears to depend on an underlying sea of electromagnetic zero-point energy."  In other words, the ZPE maintains atomic orbits throughout the cosmos as stated. 


Question:  OK, since the energies of atomic transitions were lower in the past, then so too must have been the corresponding atomic energy levels, right? But for a hydrogen atom in a Bohr orbit (circular orbit) the kinetic energy is equal to minus half of the potential energy. That result depends in no way upon c right?

Setterfield:  Actually it would be more correct to say that the atomic energy levels are dependent upon the strength of the ZPE. Since the speed of light is also dependent upon the ZPE it can be shown that there is indeed a relationship between the two. In a Bohr hydrogen atom, both the kinetic and potential energies of the orbit can be shown to be c-dependent. This arises because, for example, kinetic energy is (mv2)/2, and both m and v for the electron change with c. Furthermore, the intrinsic energy of the proton and electron depend upon the permittivity of space which is itself dependent upon the ZPE. This does indeed mean that orbital kinetic and potential energies are time-dependent. 

For these reasons, it is incorrect when to state that these energies must change as a result of changing atomic radii.  The change in orbit energies is not linked in any way with orbit radii (at least not on this variable light speed hypothesis), but only with changing mass, velocity and vacuum permittivity.    The cDK hypothesis holds to invariant atomic orbit radii, invariant atomic sizes, and invariant planetary radii. 


The ZPE and electron energy 

Questions:  Your paper did clearly show why the overall implication from "c" data (your 1987 study) and ZPE vs. "c" observations indicate  decrease in ZPE energy through time. Thanks. 

Puthoff indicated in earlier writings that the Lamb shift indicated a "rescuing" of the electron...or actually a rescuing of matter from  electrons falling into nucleus. From my understanding of his papers  I got the idea that the ZPE adds energy to the electron when it is  falling into the nucleus...and possibly adds another type of energy to keep the electron from flying out of orbit. That the ZPE determines both the lower and upper threshold of electron energy. Do I have this almost right?

 I've been wondering if we live with a macroscopic display of this everyday. Faraday's/Maxwell's work showed that a magnetic field  changing through time induce voltages in conductive material. Electrons then move in response to this induced E field. Does the atomic electron that is losing energy produce a magnetic field changing through time (from change in spin rate and orbital velocity)? If so, could the ZPE at the sub-atomic scale be creating and applying an E-field to the electron to add energy to it? If the spin rate/orbital velocity of electron was increasing it too would produce a magnetic field changing through time, but of the opposite direction. Could the ZPE again create an E-field of opposite sign to apply to the electron to keep it from flying out of the atoms orbit? 

… From your paper I know that I'm stuck in a rut. Energy is mass...and I cannot seem to break free of seeing electrons as tiny little charged masses...rather than a ZPE energy. I also have a hard time with getting my head out of the macroscopic world to the fundamental foundational world of ZPE!

Is it possible that, forgetting Faraday/Maxwell, we observe ZPE effects daily at our scale and having attributed them to well known and understood physics sans ZPE...have possibly missed the boat on some truly wonderful discoveries?

Setterfield: Here is a quote that I found helpful with problems of visualising what is happening with the electron, and how the ZPE and the electron together do all that is needed to keep it in orbit. 

"The statement was made [47]: 'With somewhat more quantitative estimations, Boyer [70] and Claverie and Diner [71] have shown that if one considers circular orbits only, then one obtains an equilibrium radius of the expected size [the Bohr radius]: for smaller distances, the electron absorbs too much energy from the [ZPE] field…and tends to escape, whereas for larger distances it radiates too much and tends to fall towards the nucleus.” 

If you need to follow through on the quote and references, you can find the quote on our Journal of Theoretics article "Exploring the Vacuum" under the subtitle 'The ZPE and Atoms'.

The upshot of this information is that if more energy is received from the ZPE than is needed at a given distance from the nucleus, the electron moves out to a position of balance, which is the next stable orbit out.  If it is not receiving enough energy from the ZPE then it spirals in to the next stable position which is the orbit closer to the nucleus.  Thus there is no jiggery-pokery involved with other effects, only the electronic charge on the electron and proton, the motion of the electron, and the energy received from the ZPE.  I hope that helps. 

You also ask in effect if an atomic electron produces a magnetic field as it spirals out of its orbit and before the ZPE re-supplies it.  I was asked a similar question by someone who asked why we cannot detect the radiation from an electron as it deviates from its orbit before it is re-supplied by the ZPE.  The point is that any loss of energy by the electron is so miniscule before the re-supply by the ZPE that any wavelength of emitted radiation would be so long as to be virtually unobservable.  

This led to the question as to whether the ZPE applied an electric or magnetic field that booted the electron back. According to Puthoff's article, he considered the electro-magnetic power supplied by the ZPE compared with the power lost by the electron. In his response to my questioning he likened it to a child on a swing being given resonant pushes by an adult. He looked at it in terms of wavelengths of the electron in its stable orbit compared with the wavelength of the ZPE which acted as a resonant or re-enforcing mechanism.


ZPE and the atom

Question:  I understand that according to your model, energy being released from the fabric of space is causing the introduction of virtual particles into the system. It’s these particles that have affected the speed of light.  I also understand that this extra energy has affected light emission in atoms the universe over, causing light to become “blue-shifted” (the red shift is the ancient light from far away heavenly bodies).  If I’ve got this right, then so far so good.  

What I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around is the idea that a slowing light speed will also mean a slower rate of isotopic decay.  I spoke with Walt Brown on Feb. 16th about this and he affirmed that (if I’m understanding him right) the rate of vibration in an atom’s nucleus will determine it’s decay rate.  This makes sense, the faster the vibration, the quicker the nucleus falls apart.  Right?  

I’m having a hard time reconciling this with the idea that an increase in energy flow to an atom (like your model states) will actually increase the half-life of a particular isotope.  Everywhere I look, undirected energy causes things to fall apart (i.e. the sun does a lot of damage to things, unless there is a mechanism in place which can utilize this energy, like the “machinery” in plants). According to the information on your site, atoms today have more “jiggle” than they used to.  Shouldn’t this serve to decrease an atom’s half-life?  I guess my question is: How can an increase in energy to an atom actually translate to a longer half-life?  

I know I’m misunderstanding something here, and I would like a better handle on this. 

Setterfield:  Your initial paragraph is absolutely correct. Walt Brown’s statement is also correct. 

The question that you have then is “how can an increase in energy to an atom actually translate into a longer half-life?”  

The answer emerges from the fact that not only is the speed of light affected by the strength of the ZPE, but atomic particles also increase in mass as the energy from the vacuum becomes available. The greater mass of atomic particles means that the particles in the nucleus and the electrons in their orbits travel more slowly as the kinetic energy of the particles is constant. Thus atomic masses are proportional to 1/c2, so that atomic velocities are proportional to c. Consequently, the rate of ticking of the atomic clock is also proportional to c. This includes the rate of movement of particles in the nucleus and hence the rate of radioactive decay. Therefore, decay rates are proportional to c and decline as the ZPE increases as because atomic masses increase as the ZPE increases. 

I trust that this is sufficient information for you. Get back to me if you have further problems.


Question:  When light was faster in the past, as I understand the atomic clock was faster.

That would mean that the electrons would be going faster.

(The electron speed around the nucleus is the measure of atomic time.) If an electron is not to fly away under higher orbit speeds due to increased centripetal forces, would the electron need to be closer to the atom, that is assuming the atom nucleus has an increased attractive force closer to the nucleus?? Does that mean that the electron cloud may have increased in diameter hence caused an overall increase in the atom diameter?

Setterfield:  You are correct in stating that when light was faster, the atomic clock was also ticking faster, which in turn meant that electrons were traveling faster around the nucleus. In all this the electronic charge was constant.  

However, the electron does not fly away due to increased centripetal forces because the mass of the electron is proportional to 1/c2. Thus the kinetic energy of the electron remains constant and all forces are balanced since the potential energy of the electronic charges are constant. 

The required increase in the mass of the electron with the decrease in lightspeed has been documented during the last century.  For a quick summary of the findings, you can check the graphs.

Additional on the ZPE Effect on the Atom

Question: I am having trouble understanding how some of the changes to ZPE affects the nucleus and electron. It almost seems to me as a layman that the effect of ZPE on the nucleus is opposite that of the electron in that I believe you describe decay rates as slowing down as increased ZPE slows down the jittering in the nucleus, yet at the same time it seems to batter the electron harder and increase its jittering. I could use some help understanding how the same increase in ZPE seems to have opposite effects, or at least could use some help understanding what exactly goes on in the nucleus."

Setterfield: I believe part of your confusion may have been the language that I used in the Monograph, and partly because two different things are being referred to in the effects of the ZPE on atomic particles, and you may be confusing them. Let me start with these two different effects.

The ZPE is indeed responsible for the "jitter" or uncertainty in the position and momentum of all sub-atomic particles, whether electrons or particles in the nucleus. But that localized "jitter" is occurring whether or not the particle is moving in an orbit (in the case of an electron) or an orbital (in the case of a nucleon). When the ZPE is stronger, in the later times of the history of the cosmos, the "jitter" is also stronger for all sub-atomic particles. This is because more ZPE waves are hitting them each second. Remember, this is going on no matter what else is happening.

However, there is an additional effect of the ZPE which also comes from the "Jitter". That is the "jitter" imparts mass to atomic particles. The reason is that the imparted jitter is a form of kinetic energy and energy and mass are inter-convertible. Thus, when the ZPE strength is low, the masses of all atomic particles is low. When the ZPE strength is high, the jitter is high for all subatomic particles and so their atomic mass is also high.

This increase in mass with increasing ZPE strength plays an important role in both electron orbital behavior and the behavior of nucleons in their orbitals. The effect is the same because energy is conserved. Thus, for an electron moving in an orbit around the nucleus, the velocity, V, or rate of travel slows down as the mass, M, increases since 0.52 is a constant for a given orbit. For a particle in the nucleus, the rate of movement in its orbital slows down in exactly the same way. 

In both cases, this means that the atomic clock is slowing down when compared with gravitational phenomena. Since one form of atomic clock depends on the rate at which an electron completes its orbit, (and that is slower with a higher ZPE strength because of a greater electron mass), then that clock is slowing down.

For particles in their orbitals in the nucleus, they hit against the side of the nuclear "well" less often when the ZPE is higher as their orbiting speed is slower due to a greater atomic mass. Since it is the number of hits per second against the side of the nuclear "well" that decides the escape rate, then there are fewer escapes in a given time with a higher ZPE. This means that radioactive decay rates are lower and atomic clocks in the nucleus are ticking more slowly.

In your question, you appear to be confusing the "jittering" effect of the ZPE on atomic particles with the number of hits per second that these particles make against the wall of the nuclear "well". These are two separate things; one depends on atomic mass, the other does not. 


ZPE, the redshift, and an expanding universe

Question:  In the Vacuum and the redshift, and the speed of light paper he wrote, he claims that the light is slowing down because of matter that is being added to the universe. That would hold true, but someone else has pointed out that the universe is expanding, and thus that certainly would minimize the matter's effect. 

Is it valid to say that because there was less ZPE that had been released before than now, and “since distances were closer than now if the universe is expanding, wouldn't it have taken far less time for light to travel than now”? ( with more ZPE and distance)? 

Setterfield:  Let me make a couple of introductory points here. 

First, the speed of light is slowing because the strength of the ZPE is increasing with time. The ZPE is increasing with time because of the recombination and hence annihilation of the Planck Particle Pairs (PPP). When these PPP (which are positively and negatively charged) recombine/annihilate, they emit electromagnetic radiation which comprises the ZPE. The mathematical form of this recombination process is well-known. The PPP were formed as a result of the energy which was imparted to the fabric of space by its initial stretching. The turbulence accompanying the stretching spawned more PPP until the turbulence died out in a manner explained by Gibson. The formula for the decay in turbulence is also well-known, and hence the build-up rate of the PPP from turbulence can be established. When both of these mathematical relationships governing the behaviour of the PPP with time are added together, the result is found to have the same form as the redshift/distance relationship.  

But it has been shown that the ZPE supports atomic structures across the cosmos. As a consequence, a lower ZPE means a lower energy for all atomic orbits. Therefore, the light emitted from those atoms will also be of lower energy, and hence redder. Thus as we look back in time by looking into the distant regions of the universe, we see that light emitted by astronomical objects becomes increasingly redder with distance. The redshift of light from distant objects is thereby the result of a lower strength for the ZPE in the past.  

The proof that the redshift is an atomic thing related to the ZPE and not related to any universal expansion or the motion of galaxies is the quantization of the redshift. It is primarily atomic phenomena which show quantization effects. The quantization of motion or universal expansion is something that is clearly unacceptable to current scientific thinking. The conclusion is that the quantization of the redshift shows that the redshift itself originates with atomic orbit energies and hence the ZPE which governs those energies. Thus the redshift and lightspeed both are children of the same parent, the strength of the ZPE. Since the strength of the ZPE/time can be shown to behave in a way that is in accord with the redshift/distance (or redshift/time) relationship, it follows that the behaviour of the lightspeed/time relationship is also in accord with this. 

In all this, the amount of matter in the universe is of no account as it does not affect lightspeed which is inversely dependent upon the strength of the ZPE. The only necessity for the amount of mass to increase is in the Narliker model in which a static universe is stable against collapse if mass was slowly increasing. This has nothing to do with lightspeed; it is an entirely separate phenomenon, although related to the strength of the ZPE. This answers your initial question. 

Your second question is: “since distances were closer than now if the universe is expanding, wouldn't it have taken far less time for light to travel than now”? This whole question hinges on the assumption that the universe is still expanding. In actual fact, the prime evidence for that expansion is the redshift. If the redshift is explicable in terms of the ZPE, then the expansion interpretation is in serious doubt. That doubt is increased by the fact of the redshift quantization. This reveals that the redshift cannot be due to motion of any kind, whether the flying apart of galaxies, or the expansion of space-time. Any such motion would smear-out the quiantization so that it no longer exists. This is what happens in the centre of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. These galaxies are orbiting under the action of a strong gravitational field. That motion is sufficient to wipe out the quantization. As a consequence, the redshift cannot be due to motion or cosmological expansion. 

The model presented on my website implicitly accepts that the universe underwent a very brief period of initial expansion out to its present size, at which it stabilized. This means that there is no current expansion. Hence, the vast majority of astronomical objects should show no redshift due to expansion. The only possible exception would be objects at the very frontiers of the cosmos. Given the brief initial expansion conditions, your second question becomes relevant then, and only then.  

Under these restricted conditions, the answer to the second question follows a line of reasoning which goes something like this. It is certainly true that the ZPE was lower, and that the speed of light must have been much higher at the time of the initial expansion. It is also true that the universe was smaller than now during that initial expansion phase.  However, if the fabric of space was expanded out initially, a couple of points need be made. The first is that no atomic structures existed before the primordial ZPE had formed. In other words, atoms and matter did not exist prior to the existence of the ZPE. This in turn required some considerable initial expansion of the fabric of space. We can go further. The existence of atomic structures is essential to the origin of light from celestial objects. Therefore a primordial ZPE must have existed sometime before the first stars were shining.  

From an entirely Scriptural point of view, there are 12 references to the stretching out of the heavens. Two points emerge from these verses. First, the action is always in the past tense, so the heavens are not being expanded out now. Second, it is always in the context of Creation Week, so by the end of the 6th Day, expansion must have ceased. Indeed, since the astronomical heavens were completed by the close of the 4th Day, then expansion must have ceased by then. It is also entirely possible that the expansion had ceased by the time that light was visible from the earth half way through the 1st Day. We find a reference in Job 38 which helps us here. In Job 38:7 to the fact that the first stars already shining when the foundation of the earth was laid. From Genesis 1, these events occurred very early on the 1st Day. Now both these events imply the existence of matter, which in turn requires the existence of the primordial ZPE, which itself requires the initial expansion to be largely complete before the middle of the 1st Day. 

There is another aspect to this. If the very fabric of space is being stretched out, every structure embedded in that fabric will also be undergoing expansion. This means that all atoms existing at the time, and hence all matter, will be undergoing expansion, too. This fact introduces some unusual effects that Sumner has outlined, as well as changes to the strength of the electronic charge in order to maintain the stability of matter. Since these effects are not observed, even at the frontiers of the cosmos, it seems likely that the formation of atomic structures and hence matter, stars and planets, occurred after the expansion was substantially complete. If this reasoning is correct, this limits the expansion to the earliest moments of the 1st Day of Creation Week.   

Therefore, the answer that emerges for your second question is that atomic structures did not exist during the expansion phase of the cosmos, and since light is emitted from these structures, the emergence of light must post-date the expansion of the universe. Therefore, from the time that light emerged on the 1st Day, distances in the cosmos were basically the same as we have now. And, Yes, the time it took light to travel those distances was far less than what we have now. But there is probably no effect on light travel time due to a smaller cosmos that was implied in the question.  

Question:  What is the scientific status of SED  [stochastic electrodynamics] in comparison with QED [quantum electrodynamics]?

Setterfield:  SED and QED are alternative explanations of the same physical phenomena.

The development of this dual approach also reveals the reason why there are two possible explanations. The QED approach originated with Planck's first theory in 1901 in which he made an assumption. This assumption was that charged point particle oscillators had energy which came in discontinuous units. There was no physical reason why, but the assumption gave results which agreed with experiment. Historically we know that the physicists who concentrated on this initial approach developed QED physics. However, Planck was concerned that this approach was purely an assumption with no physical reason behind it. As a result of further deliberation, Planck published his second theory in 1911. This achieved exactly the same results as the first theory, but there was a physical reason for these results - namely the existence of the Zero Point Energy (ZPE), which was positively established in 1925 by Mulliken's experiments. The ZPE was thereby the root cause of quantum phenomena. Historically, we know that physicists who followed Planck's second paper developed the SED approach.

In a few words, the basic difference between QED and SED physics is that the SED approach has a physical mechanism as the root cause of the phenomena, namely the ZPE. It has the advantage of simple mathematics which produces intuitive, logical results. In contrast, the QED approach has no actual actual physical mechanism, but attributes the results to an inherent characteristic of matter at an atomic level. This concept is accompanied by esoteric mathematics, some of whose meanings are still being debated.  

One major disadvantage that SED physics suffers is that it was sidelined in the mid-1920's by a series of papers exploring Planck's first theory. From there QED physics developed for 85 years to its present status. It was only when Louis de Broglie pointed out in his book in 1962 that physics had missed an opportunity in the mid 1920's that the matter was taken up again. The first paper on the SED approach was by Edward Nelson in 1966. Since then there has been a number of papers which have explained all major quantum phenomena in terms of SED physics. The expectation is that the SED approach will ultimately explain all remaining quantum phenomena. The first problem that currently exists in this endeavor is that SED physics has the best part of half a century of QED development to catch up on. The second is that this also means SED physicists are in the minority as far as numbers and funding are concerned. On the positive side, NASA and other organizations have hired SED physicists in order to discover a power source for spacecraft and earth-bound applications utilizing the ZPE. The second positive for science is that the SED approach produces an already unified theory linking gravity with the other three forces in physics. Unfortunately, this is not well-known or it may draw others into the investigation. As it stands, however, a significant  number of papers have been published in support of and further develop SED physics.

In my own personal experience, I have noticed animosity towards the SED approach by some QED physicists. In talking with them it almost appeared that they regard SED physics as a threat which had to be eliminated. This is unfortunate. If science is to progress, then any explanation for our observations that is based on a physical mechanism needs careful consideration.. This means of approaching any subject should also be considered more desirable than theoretical concepts which explain the results as merely being an inherent property of matter or the cosmos.

Some URL's to two organizations that deal with the topic are as follows:

First: The California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics (CIPA).

Their published articles are listed here:

Another scientific establishment is The Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, Texas. It also bears the name EarthTech International Inc. Their list of publications can be found here:

There are over 100 relevant published items in these two lists alone. These scientists, as well as others, are at the forefront of the research effort.

I trust that this is helpful for you. If you have further questions, please get back to me.


ZPE and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Question:  My question is: how (generally) would ZPE act in the relational effect of the second law of thermal dynamics (entropy) that we see as things going from order to disorder? How would you truly measure a decay? My databases and software systems remind me of that second law every day unfortunately. I am not sure if that is the correct way to ask that question but it is a succinct as I can make it for now. Most see 2LTD as a "homogenizing" process of order to disorder but now with the ZPE factors I am not so sure.

Setterfield:  Your question on the action of the ZPE is important. The first thing to remember here is that the ZPE supports all atomic structures across the cosmos. Without the ZPE there would be no atoms, only individual ions, nuclei, electrons and neutrons. In other words, it is the presence of the ZPE which actually sustains all creation. Colossians and Hebrews 1 both state that Christ sustains all creation with the word of His Own power. This is one aspect of how He did it and still does it - all as a result of stretching the cosmos. So the ZPE is a sustaining, stabilizing mechanism across the entire created order. The second law of thermodynamics, however, is something intrinsic to all systems: it is absolutely necessary for all chemical and nuclear reactions and interactions to proceed the way they do. In fact, without the 2nd Law, Adam and Eve could not even digest their food or have normal bodily functions. This is true even at the cellular level. So the second law is not being subverted by the increasing ZPE. In fact basic physical laws are being upheld throughout this whole process. That is what has allowed us to establish the relationship between the constants. Because angular momentum must be conserved, we get atomic orbit radii changing which gives us the redshift. Because the kinetic energy of particles in the nucleus is conserved, their velocity slows as the ZPE increases since their masses are increasing. This means that radioactive decay rates slow down. And so we could go on. So here we have two natural effects acting in concert. Without both acting, our present universe would not be possible.

Therefore, things are running down, wearing out, rusting, getting older. This is the way this present universe works. It was to offset the natural consequences of living in this kind of universe that the Tree of Life was given in the Garden. Imagine life without the Fall. Kids still would play and hurt themselves, break bones, bleed, etc. The Tree of Life was available to put into reverse those deliterious effects. Notice that, even without the Tree of Life, manking was living for 900 years or so initially. Genetic damage from radioactive elements coming near the surface at the time of the Flood, and again at the time of Peleg, changed all that. Perhaps I had better stop at that.

You mention that time may not be linear either. That is certainly true of atomic time. However, it is not true of orbital time. With all the changes in the ZPE, orbital periods can be shown to be unchanged. It is for that reason that God tells us that the Sun, Moon, and stars are to be our timekeepers. Science, in its wisdom, chose the atomic clock because it could get very fine divisions of time, but the clock does not run at a constant rate...! So, Yes! it is registering good atomic time, but that is not the same as orbital time. Fortunately, our work has shown how to correct atomic time to orbital time, and when we do the Biblical time-scale is upheld.


The Zero Point Energy and the Casimir Force

Setterfield: It has been suggested that, as the strength of the Zero Point Energy (ZPE) was lower in the past, so too would be the Casimir effect and hence Van de Waal's forces. This has led to the suggestion of problems with surface tension, which leads to the question about  what would happen to the shape of protein molecules which are dependent upon Van der Waal's forces.

As it turns out, the Casimir force per unit area is given by F/A = hc (pi)/(480a4). Here, "a" is the distance between the Casimir plates, or, what amounts to the same thing, the inter-molecular distance. For example, see the final equation here

 In this analysis, the only varying quantities are Planck's constant, h, and the speed of light, c. Planck's constant is directly proportional to the strength of the ZPE and the speed of light is inversely proportional to the ZPE strength. Thus the quantity "hc" is always invariant. The result is that the Casimir force remains unchanged with ZPE strength and, consequently, so does the Van der Waal's force. Hence there is no change in protein shape and there will be no change in surface tension in liquids.


Different Concepts of the ZPE?

Question: I was reading up on the Electric Universe Theory on a website called 'Thunderbolts' and noticed that they do not accept the existence of the ZPE.
I then asked why on their forum and recieved a reponse to the effect that there was no observational evidence to back it up. I responded with the Casimir Effect, Mullikin's evidence, and The Lamb shift. Then someone linked me to an article by Mile Mathis in regard to Casimir dismising this as evidence of the ZPE. He also said that assigning Lamb shift energy to the vacuum lacked any 'mechanism' and that photon energy can come from anywhere. Regarding Mullikin he did not see a problem with the ground state virbrational energy of a vibrating system but said that this is not the same as energy from the vacuum.
Your response would be much appreciated.

Setterfield: It is interesting that some of the Thunderbolts group of correspondents do not accept the ZPE. In this context I might point out that there are a diverse group of correspondents there and not everyone has the same views. Furthermore, I presented a major paper about the ZPE and the redshift at a science conference in June, and Dave Talbott of Thunderbolts was there to hear it!

Let me make a couple of points clear however. There are several different concepts of the ZPE; only one is actually valid. Those concepts come from (1) an Einsteinian version of the ZPE in which the presence of this quantity forces space to expand and galaxies to move apart. When observational tests are done for this version of the ZPE, there is an incredible mis-match between data and theory - a mis-match of the order of 100 magnitudes. For this reason many say that the ZPE does not exist. (2) The second concept comes from Quantum Electro-Dynamics (QED physics) in which the ZPE is merely a virtual mathematical construct and appears to be infinite in their equations. The equations have to be treated in a special way (called re-normalization) to get rid of this problem. For this reason, this version of the ZPE is also considered unrealistic. It was the ourcome of a purely theoretical approach by Planck in 1901, but there was no reason to have it except that all the equations gave the "right" result when it was put in there. This situation worried Planck and in 1911 he produced his second paper in which he predicted the presence of a real, physical ZPE with certain characteristics. This was verified in 1925 by Mulliken. But QED physics based on Planck's first (purely theoretical) paper took off in 1925-1927 and developed to where we have it today. It was not until 1962 that de Broglie pointed out that Planck's second paper had a physical mechanism for all quantum effects that the new branch of physics called Stochastic Electro-Dynamics (SED physics) took off. This third option has a real physical ZPE whose effects can be measured and quantified and is the real cause of all quantum phenomena, which is not just a strange property inherent in all matter.

It is this third ZPE, which comes from an SED physics approach, which alone is valid. The other two types are purely theoretical and do not produce results in accord with actual observation. This SED approach ZPE does NOT force the universe apart, unlike the Einsteinian version. In addition, while the QED approach to the ZPE, has an explanation of the Casimir effect which is open to criticism, the SED approach is based on well-known and accepted classical physics. As a result of these different version of the ZPE, there has been some confusion. Furthermore, contrary to what your correspondent states, the Lamb shift has a very definite mechanism on the SED approach. This mechanism is different from the one proposed by QED physics, so the QED explanation may be called into question. The mechanism from SED physics is the electromagnetic waves of the ZPE impacting on electrons in their orbits, and changing their orbit slightly. This causes a slight shift in the position of the spectral lines emitted by those electrons when they transition from one orbit to another, because the energy is slightly different. I tried to get to the Mile Mathis site you linked and it was not available, so I am unable to comment directly on what he says. However, from the comments you have given, it appears that he is not up to date with the latest research by SED physicists.

The paper that I presented at the NPA Conference that Dave Talbott heard is available here.

I trust this helps.


Some Questions from Belgium

Letter: Hello Mr. Setterfield,
First of all I want to thank you for publishing your work on the Internet. I never read anything of this in the creation magazines I knew before. I am a member of a Belgium creationist group. We are planning to give a lecture about the progress of creationism in the last decennia and that is why I have been investigating the ZPE theory on your site. We learned the existence of it through Mr. Kiel from Holland.

I do have some questions and I hope that you will be willing to help me with:

First there is the idea that in the past scientists have been looking for an ether as a medium that would carry the electromagnetic waves. I had the idea that ZPE was the product of a search for the carrier. But the information I have read until now contradicts this idea: PPP do hinder the propagation of the waves (= negative influence?). And ZPE should even exists of electromagnetic waves - is there any evidence for this? Has the ZPE any positive influence on the propagation of electromagnetic waves?

Secondly, I wonder were the radiation energy of electrons goes to when they indeed radiate energy (as they should according to the common laws of nature) and the ZPE sustains this atomic orbits? Does this energy returns to the ZPE one way or another, or is there a leak of energy from the ZPE towards our universe that, as far as I know, was thought to be a closed system?

Next there is the strange idea of light being absorbed by PPP to be re-emitted a moment later. As electromagnetic waves are waves, it seems strange to me that the waves are re-emitted in exactly the same direction. If this were not so, it would mean that light is scattered trough the interactions. Do you have an explanation for this?

A last question is: Where can I find more information about the second paper of Planck? What exactly is it about or is the difference with the first paper?

With thanks in advance and Gods blessing,


Question 1A: First there is the idea that in the past scientists have been looking for an ether as a medium that would carry the electromagnetic waves. I had the idea that ZPE was the product of a search for the carrier. 

Answer: The ZPE is not the product for the search for the ether (or carrier for electromagnetic waves). It came in from an entirely different approach. The search that was taking place in this case was for an answer to the problem posed by the black-body radiation curve. Some well-known scientists had not been able to reproduce the form of that curve theoretically, and the resulting embarrassment caused Planck (and others) to make an attempt to solve the problem. Planck's first paper did this in 1901, but did so in an arbitrary fashion by introducing the quantum parameter "h" with little or no scientific justification for it, except that the math "worked" since it gave the right result. Because Planck was a man whose science was rooted in reality rather than just mathematical models, he sought for a better way of achieving the same result with a physical mechanism. After 10 years of thought his second paper was presented with "h" emerging as a measure of the strength of the Zero Point Energy in 1911. It took a little longer for the full impact of this to be worked through by Einstein, Stern, Nernst and others, and for the experimental evidence to be obtained for its existence by Robert Mulliken in the early 1920's. So it was a case of research in one area of science providing answers in another area. There is more about this in the answer to the final question.

Question 1B: But the information I have read until now contradicts this idea: PPP do hinder the propagation of the waves (= negative influence?). And ZPE should even exists of electromagnetic waves - is there any evidence for this? Has the ZPE any positive influence on the propagation of electromagnetic waves?

Answer: First, you must be careful to note the difference between Planck Particle Pairs (PPP) and virtual particle pairs. It is true that both come in positively and negatively charged pairs. However, if an electron was the size of the Golden Gate Bridge, then a PPP would be smaller than a speck of dust on that bridge. Virtual particle pairs are ordinary subatomic particles like electron-positron pairs, or proton-antiproton pairs, or a positive and negative pion pair, and so on. There is a whole zoo of such particles flashing in and out of existence at any instant. It is these virtual particle pairs which hinder the propagation of photons of light by collision, absorption and re-emission.

Note that when considering the virtual particle model of the vacuum, the corresponding model for light is the photon. When the ZPE waves are used, one must use a wave model for the propogation of light. SED physics has this dual approach because there are the twin aspects to the ZPE: both the existence of electromagnetic waves, and the inevitable virtual particles which form when these waves meet and form a concentration of energy.

Thus the propagation of light waves in a vacuum composed of ZPE waves considers the light wave to merely be a disturbance or a distortion which is transmitted through the electromagnetic fields of the ZPE. When the ZPE is stronger, there are more electromagnetic fields in a given volume, and so the disturbance takes longer to be transmitted through them. Effectively, what happens in either case is that the medium of the vacuum has become "thicker" with either virtual particle pairs or electromagnetic fields and waves. This "thickening" causes the slow-down. Therefore, when the number of intrinsic ZPE waves was smaller, the propagation of light waves was much faster. Note, however, that on this approach, it seems that some ZPE fields or waves may be necessary in order for a distortion or disturbance to be propagated through them. If this is true, then the ZPE has a very positive influence. Without the existence of the ZPE, light might not propagate through the vacuum at all.

One of the pieces of evidence for the ZPE to exist as waves comes from the Casimir effect, which I discuss in many of my papers. Another piece of evidence is the frequency cubed spectrum which the ZPE waves have. It is highly unlikely that the zoo of virtual particles is capable of reproducing this energy spectrum, unless the virtual particles originated from electromagnetic waves in the first place.If you need further explanation on this and other evidences, please get back to me.

Question 2: I wonder were the radiation energy of electrons goes to when they indeed radiate energy (as they should according to the common laws of nature) and the ZPE sustains this atomic orbits? Does this energy returns to the ZPE one way or another, or is there a leak of energy from the ZPE towards our universe that, as far as I know, was thought to be a closed system?

Answer: The radiation from electrons is a form of electromagnetic energy, and as a consequence it goes right back into the ZPE. There is no "leakage" away from the system. However, there is something you need to understand. The magnitude of the ZPE strength is very large, something like 10^110 Joules per cubic centimeter, according to P.C.W. Davies. The average density of electrons throughout the whole of the cosmos is rather small compared with the density of virtual particle pairs of about 10^42 per cubic meter in a vacuum. Therefore, the total amount of radiation from all electrons, even over cosmic time, is insignificant in comparison with the total energy density of the ZPE. What would be a drain from the system was if the virtual particle pairs did not flip back to energy in a reasonably short time. So, as we understand it now, the system is self-sustaining. Several articles have been written about this aspect of the topic and referenced in my papers.

Question 3: Next there is the strange idea of light being absorbed by PPP to be re-emitted a moment later. As electromagnetic waves are waves, it seems strange to me that the waves are re-emitted in exactly the same direction. If this were not so, it would mean that light is scattered trough the interactions. Do you have an explanation for this?

Answer: Remember, when we use the wave model for light, we also use the wave model for the ZPE; when we use the virtual particle model for the ZPE we use the photon model for light. Note, you have said PPP in this Question. You actually mean virtual particle pairs as explained in the answer to question 1.

A photon collides with a virtual particle and is momentarily absorbed and then re-emitted. The physics of this process requires the original momentum of the photon to be conserved at the time of absorption. That means that when the photon is re-emitted at the instant that the virtual particle pair goes back to energy, the speed and original direction of the photon is maintained.

If we use the wave model, the light waves interact with the ZPE waves in the same way that waves do in the ocean. An illustration may help. The South Pacific islanders had maps (made of sticks and coconut fiber) to show the interaction of waves in order to guide them across vast tracts of ocean to their destination. When the ocean waves struck a reef or shore-line, a series of reflected waves was sent back into the ocean. This series of reflected waves was sent back at an angle to the main waves that depended upon the alignment of the reef or shore. The South Pacific navigators could "read" these secondary waves and angles and get direction from them. However, the important thing for our purposes here is that this angle was maintained so that both the main wave direction and the reflected wave direction were clearly maintained, despite their different orientation and amplitudes or wave heights. Obviously the effect will taper off at great distances from shore lines. In my travel across the Pacific by air, both the main wave direction and the reflected wave direction can be discerned at appropriate locations when flying over regions associated with islands.

In applying this to ZPE waves and light waves, it can be seen that the direction of the light waves will be maintained no matter what the ZPE waves are doing. This is in exactly the same way that the direction of the reflected wave from a shore-line is maintained no matter what the direction is of the main ocean waves.

Final Question: Where can I find more information about the second paper of Planck? What exactly is it about or is the difference with the first paper?

Answer: Both of Planck's papers were dealing with the so-called "black body" radiation curve. A "Black Body" is an object that absorbs 100% of all radiation falling on it. It therefore reflects no radiation and appears perfectly black. This means that it is also a perfect emitter of radiation. At any given temperature, a black body would emit the maximum amount of radiation possible for that temperature. This quantity is known as black body radiation. A set of black body radiation curves for various temperatures look like the curves in the attached diagram. Stars radiate approximately as black bodies of different temperatures indicated by their colors.

The point is that no-one had been able to reproduce these graphs (which were experimentally derived), whether it was by theory or sheer mathematics. Wien found an empirical relationship which did not fit at long wavelengths. Rayleigh and Jeans attempted to derive a rigorous relationship theoretically, but the result was a curve which climbed steeply and suggested an "ultra-violet catastrophe" which was non-existent in practice.  Planck's approach was to work on the physics and math of the behavior of charged point particles which were massless, but were oscillating in thermal equilibrium with each other because of the temperature. The higher the temperature, the more energetic the oscillation. Since a charge undergoing oscillation emits radiation, the higher the temperature, the greater the energy of the emitted radiation. Planck found that he could reproduce the black body curves for a given temperature provided the oscillators did not have just any arbitrary energy, but were restricted to integral multiples of some unit "h". In other words radiation emission was "quantized."

While Planck  had produced a solution to the problem which most physicists accepted, Planck himself was not satisfied with the arbitrary nature of "h" which had no physical origin. He worked on this problem for 10 years and his second paper also  reproduced the black body curves but with a cosmological ZPE as the reason for the presence of "h". In this second paper, "h" became a scale factor which measured the strength of the ZPE. Subsequent studies confirmed the accuracy of Planck's formulae and culminated in the work of Rubens and Michel who, in 1919, showed that the Planck formulae accurately represented the spectrum from the temperature of liquid air (at -160 degrees C) up to 1800 degrees C.

The difference between his first paper and the second was that the second paper had an extra term, namely "h/2" which was completely independent of temperature. This meant that, unlike the first paper, when the temperature dropped to absolute zero, there was still an intrinsic energy inherent in the vacuum. For this reason it was called the Zero -Point Energy. It is the presence of this intrinsic vacuum energy which gives the reason for "h" which is simply a measure of the ZPE strength or energy density. Planck's second paper was published in: Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft, 13:138 (1911). It should be available from university libraries throughout Europe. Some additional material can be found in references listed in my papers.

I trust this gives you the material to work on that you needed.

Follow-Up Questions: Thank you so much for giving some of your time answering my questions, things are getting more clear to me now. However two questions remain for the moment. I still would like to know more about the evidences for the ZPE. The Cassimir effect is also being explained by QED, so could you give me a hint were to look for the other evidence, the frequency cubed spectrum. If there are still other evidences, please mention them too.
Your answer on question 2 looks kind of strange to me: "The radiation from electrons is a form of electromagnetic energy, and as a consequence it goes right back into the ZPE." Why would this radiation go back into the ZPE and for instance the man made radiation not? What is the difference? How can we measure it when it goes right back into the ZPE?

Setterfield: Thanks for your additional questions.

Some of the evidence for the existence of the ZPE has been listed in several of my papers as follows:

"As a consequence of this all-pervasive nature of the electromagnetic waves making up the ZPE, we are not aware of its presence. This follows for the same reason that we are unaware of the atmospheric pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch that is imposed upon our bodies. There is a perfect balance within us and without. Similarly, the radiation pressures of the electromagnetic waves of the ZPE are everywhere balanced in our bodies and measuring devices. It may therefore be surmised that it would be difficult to prove the ZPE exists.
However, the ZPE was first experimentally proven to exist in 1925 by chemist Robert Mulliken who found this proof in the spectrum of boron monoxide. As he analyzed the wavelengths of its spectral lines, he discovered a slight shift from the theoretical position that these lines would have had if the ZPE did not exist. The Zero Point Fields (ZPF) slightly perturb an electron in an atom so that, when it makes a transition from one state to another, it emits light whose wavelength is shifted slightly from its normal value. Some years later, a similar shift of wavelength in the microwave region of the hydrogen spectrum was experimentally established by Willis Lamb and Robert Retherford using techniques developed for radar. Today, the Lamb shift of spectral lines, as it is now called, is quoted as one observational proof for the existence of the ZPE. Lamb stated the experimental results were “a proof that the [perfect or bare] vacuum does not exist”[6].

The existence of a physical ZPE is also supported by the Casimir effect where two metal plates are brought close together in a vacuum. According to classical electrodynamics, such an experimental arrangement will exclude all waves except those whose half-wavelength, or whole numbers of that half-wavelength, will fit exactly between the plates. The excluded wavelengths then exert a radiation pressure on the plates which is measurable. The Casimir effect is directly proportional to the area of the plates.  However, unlike other possible forces with which it may be confused, the Casimir force is inversely proportional to the fourth power of the plates’ distance apart.  Experiments in 1998 have verified the theoretical approach to within 1% using an atomic force microscope [7].

Experimental evidence has continued to accumulate that demonstrates the existence of the ZPE, even though its fluctuations do not become significant enough to be observed until the atomic level is attained. Thus, the ZPE explains why cooling alone will never freeze liquid helium. Unless pressure is applied, these ZPE fluctuations are agitating the helium atoms and preventing them from getting close enough to permit solidification. In electronic circuits, like microwave receivers, another problem arises because ZPE fluctuations cause a random ‘noise’ that places limits on the level to which signals can be amplified. The ‘noise’ can never be removed no matter how perfect the technology."

In my reply I also made a particular point about the frequency cubed spectrum of the ZPE as being definitive since it would be difficult to "orchestrate" that result merely by the presence of virtual particle pairs alone which is what QED physics requires. In QED physics the virtual particles originate from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle operating in the vacuum.The de Broglie waves associated with the HUP-generated virtual particles then gives rise to the frequency cubed spectrum. This is an extremely unlikely possibility as it would require a very specific mix of virtual particle pairs. A good discussion of the evidence for the frequency cubed spectrum of the ZPE waves can be found as part of article by Timothy H. Boyer in Scientific American for August 1985, pages 70 to 78, entitled "The Classical Vacuum".

You then go on to state that my answer to Question 2 looked "kind of strange." You then add: "Why would this radiation go back into the ZPE and for instance the man made radiation not? What is the difference? How can we measure it when it goes right back into the ZPE?" Your problem lies with me in this case, as I needed to make something clear which I did not. First, I did point out that the number of elecrtrons (and protons) in the universe is so small in comparison with the strength of the ZPE that their energy contribution to the ZPE is negligible. The total number of protons (and an equal number of electrons) in the universe is assumed, from the data we have to go on, to be about 10^80 or 10^81. To give you a feel for this, let each proton or electron radiate 1 joule of energy per second for 10 billion years, then the total energy released would be about 3 x 10^98 joules throughout the whole universe. Yet one cubic centimeter of the ZPE contains about 10^110 joules according to PCW Davies. So if any "losses" occur through atomic processes throughout the universe, the change in the ZPE strength would be negligible.

However, once that point is made, we need to address your question more directly. The question actually might be re-phrased to something like this: "Why do we see the light from stars, or from a car's headlights and not from an electron radiating as it goes around in its orbit?" The answer is the intensity of these light sources compared with the background intensity of the ZPE. It is only an intensity of electromagnetic radiation that is above the ZPE background that we can discern. The intensity of light is given by the square of the amplitude of its waves. In the case of electrons radiating in their orbit, the intensity of their radiation is much lower than the ZPE intensity at that wavelength. Therefore, it is not visible to us or our instruments and gets lost in the general ZPE background. In that sense it is added to the ZPE. In the case of stars and headlights, the amplitudes of the wavelengths at which they radiate is greater than that of the ZPE and so they are visible to us and our instruments. It is for a similar reason that the light from the planets and stars are not visible during the daytime. The intensity of their light is less than that of the background radiation coming from the sky (due to the sun). Once the background radiation lessens in intensity, (the sun sets) and it becomes darker, the stars and planets become visible, because the intensity of theor light is greater than the background.

I hope this assists your thinking. If there are further problems, please get back to me.

The Rubber Band Analogy

Question: The one I'm struggling to understand is the rubber band example of zero point energy as God stretched the heavens, so isn't that stretching the rubber band. And now there is a lot of potential energy so that in future the heavens can be rolled off just by releasing the rubber band, so potential energy, as said in Revelation.  ZPE is a bit challenging to digest, working on it."

Setterfield: The first thing to do is realize that the rubber band analogy is only an analogy. Yes, the heavens were stretched like the rubber band as energy was put into the fabric of space. In the case of the rubber band, that potential energy can be released and become kinetic energy as the rubber band is made to fly across the room. On the other hand, the stretched rubber band might be placed over two hooks which keep it stretched indefinitely. If it was kept there for some considerable time, then the rubber band would eventually deteriorate and crumble and the potential energy dissipated a different way.

In a similar way there are different options for the stretched (or stretching) universe. The stretching energy is there in the fabric of space, and is building up. That energy must have been intense as something a few light years across (or much less) was stretched out to a radius of some 14 billion light years or more. That is some stretch! More importantly, there is a considerable energy invested in the fabric of space under these circumstances.

Energy of that intensity does not just sit there. On the basis of the equation E = mc^2, that energy is converted to matter; the smallest particles the universe can produce, namely Planck Particle Pairs. Because these are positive and negative particle pairs, they would have an electric field between them. In addition, because of the turbulence of the stretching process, they would be whirling about each other. Charges in motion like that form magnetic fields. In this way the initial electro-magnetic fields of the ZPE were formed. Because of their opposite charges, any individual pair would soon slam together and annihilate, and their total energy content would be emitted as electromagnetic waves which would remain an intrinsic part of the vacuum.

Once a given Planck Particle Pair (PPP) annihilated, that was the end of that pair, but their energy was now released as the electromagnetic waves of the ZPE. However, the stretching continued and many more PPP were generated, and all eventually suffered the same fate. So the electromagnetic waves of the ZPE are now the kinetic energy form of the original potential energy of the stretching. This energy is intrinsic to the vacuum, and has been shown to support atomic structures across the cosmos. Thus when the Bible says that the Lord supports the whole created order by the word of His own power (Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17) this is how He is doing it, through the ZPE, which came from His original stretching.

I hope that clarifies the situation for you. If there is still a problem, please get back to me, and I will do my best to resolve the matter.

The ZPE and nerve transmission rate

Question: In your discussion with Chuck Missler, you talked about the speed of nerve signal transmission in dinosaurs being a reason why such large organisms were viable. In the case of smaller animals wouldn’t their reaction times be significantly higher as well? Given that our brains operate on the electrical signals of our nerves would it be reasonable to conclude that early man had much faster reflexes and that their brain could work at a much faster rate? Could early man have been much smarter than we are now due to the faster processes in the brain?

Setterfield: First, let me assure you that it was not only the dinosaurs which were bigger; there were giant sea-scorpions up to 8 feet long in Paleozoic strata. Today, nerve impulse transmission rate limits their size to about a foot long or less. Indeed, in the more recent part of the fossil record, there are giant kangaroos up to 12 feet high, the giant wombat, giant elk and so on. So what we have today with the smaller animals may not have been the norm early on.

Second, in the case of smaller animals, if their size was comparable to today, it is certainly true that their reaction times would be significantly faster than now.

Third, as far a humans are concerned, there are a number of factors to consider.  We were created perfect, without any genetic defects and, I presume, the ability to learn more perfectly than now.  Since the beginning genetic defects have multiplied enormously, and a number of them do have to do with mental abilities.  Consider also that each generation seems to lose something from the generation before.  What we "old folks" know, the current generation is often unaware of.  We are often unaware of much of what generations before us knew.  So while our technology might be impressive, our actual knowledge and ability to learn might not be as good as generations ago.  We must also remember that the first generations were able to talk to the Lord face to face at the entrance to the Garden of Eden.  That got lost, too.

Now, aside from all of that, there is the possibility that some gigantism was present in the earliest humans along with very fast reaction, and possibly learning, times. However, that may not directly translate into making them smarter than we are. Certainly, they could probably react, respond, and do things more quickly. But speed of action is not the same as wisdom, knowledge and understanding. These come from the Lord, from learning and from experience respectively. However, all that being said, it is possible that a faster rate of learning combined, certainly with the longer lives, may have resulted in some much smarter people than are around today.

I hope that answers your questions. Our entire article on gigantism and the Zero Point Energy should fill out a lot more for you.

ZPE and Metals through time

Question: I had a question on electron relationship as relates to metals. I first wondered if the metallic "sea of electrons" I was taught years and years ago in school would be affected by ZPE, but then I was thinking on the electron orbitals and how ZPE increase leads to increases in the energy involved in the orbital shifts, and I could not recall if that increase was an increase of which orbital state the electron jumped to or the increase of all the orbital energy potentials as a whole.  I suspect the latter and therefor would think that metals behaved the same for tubal-cain (not sure on spelling) as they do for us today. Is this accurate?"

Setterfield: First, the ZPE work suggests that all electron orbits have an increase of energy as the ZPE increases. Therefore, electron transitions from one orbit to another will also have more energy emitted; that is to say the light emitted is bluer with time.

Second, the situation with regards to metals is that the modelling still envisages a sea of electrons in which the positive nuclei are immersed. An analysis of the degeneracy pressure from electrons in metals and crystals with changing ZPE indicates that this pressure remains constant, so metal sizes and other characteristics will remain unchanged as well. There is more detail about this on our website in the article here, under Item III C "Electron Orbits and Related Quantities". Therefore the conclusion is that metals would have similar properties for Tubal-Cain as they do today.

ZPE and the Speed of Light

Question: I understand the concept of the speed of light variability (or our perception of a variability) due to the ZPE field and the PPP. However, if the formation of the ZPE wave "whitecaps" and the virtual particle creation/annihilation process that is absorbing the traversing photons is truly stochastic, then why is the measured speed of light seemingly constant over a short time interval? Or is my assumption that it is measured as constant incorrect? It would seem that if one measures the speed of light to be a given amount, then ten minutes, an hour, or even a week later measures it again using the same method, the two measured values would be slightly different (assuming no error in the apparatus) due to the light photons being absorbed by a different number of virtual particles with each subsequent measurement. Is the ZPF associated with the 'fabric' of space homogeneous enough to result in a consistent measurement of the atomic constants regardless of the timing of the measurements and without regard to the direction of travel? I do understand a change in the speed of these constants over a greater time period (i.e. years) because of the fluctuations in the ZPE, but I am referring to a shorter more empirical time span.

Thanks for any clarification you can give and keep up the good work! God Bless!

Setterfield: You are correct in understanding that it is the formation/annihilation of the virtual particles which affect the speed of light.  You are correct in understanding that these virtual particles are the results of energy interactions of ZPE waves.  Yes it is a stochastic process, and thus there will be a variability.  BUT because the number of virtual particle pairs is so huge, even in a very small volume, this variability over such a small fraction of a second results in a cancelling out and no measurement differences are seen.

Regarding your second question:  the ZPE associated with the fabric of space is homogeneous enough to result in consistent measurements of atomic constants no matter where or in what direction of travel.

I hope that helps.  Let me know if there are further questions.