Regularizing (Away) Vacuum Energy

Foundations of Physics 51 (1):1-22 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper I formulate Minimal Requirements for Candidate Predictions in quantum field theories, inspired by viewing the standard model as an effective field theory. I then survey standard effective field theory regularization procedures, to see if the vacuum expectation value of energy density ) is a quantity that meets these requirements. The verdict is negative, leading to the conclusion that \ is not a physically significant quantity in the standard model. Rigorous extensions of flat space quantum field theory eliminate \ from their conceptual framework, indicating that it lacks physical significance in the framework of quantum field theory more broadly. This result has consequences for problems in cosmology and quantum gravity, as it suggests that the correct solution to the cosmological constant problem involves a revision of the vacuum concept within quantum field theory.

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Adam Koberinski
University of Pittsburgh

Citations of this work

Quantum gravity at low energies.David Wallace - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 94 (C):31-46.

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References found in this work

Scientific Realism Made Effective.Porter Williams - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):209-237.
Taking particle physics seriously: A critique of the algebraic approach to quantum field theory.David Wallace - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 42 (2):116-125.
The Real Problem with Perturbative Quantum Field Theory.James D. Fraser - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):391-413.

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