Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Virtual Particles

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_200567

Because of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, one can have small fluctuations in energy for short periods of time. This means that subatomic particles can fleetingly pop into existence out of empty space, the energy required to do this being “borrowed” thanks to this fundamental uncertainty. Such particles disappear again so quickly one cannot see them. For this reason they are called virtual particles.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyOpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK