There has been an acceleration of interest in quantum vacuum forces, including van der Waals, Casimir-Polder, and Casimir forces. Dramatic improvements in theory and experiment have taken place in the past several years. Formerly, the subject of quantum fluctuation energies and forces was a rather esoteric one, but in the past decade there has been an upsurge of interest, which resulted for a time in various special funding mechanisms to explore this field in the United States and Europe. Many international conferences and workshops are held on the subject, some of them occurring simultaneously! Among the potential applications of zero-point energy is understanding the accelerating expansion of the universe. Indeed, Dark Energy, which makes up some 70% of the energy of the universe, likely results from quantum fluctuations! The subject is truly interdisciplinary, with important contributions from and applications to condensed matter, atomic, and high energy physics , mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and nano science. It may even have applications to fracking and the freezing of water. Insight into fundamental questions in quantum field theory, such as renormalization, is emerging. This talk will give a general overview of the subject of quantum vacuum energy forces, including discussion of recent developments, such as Casimir torques, systematics of self-energies, Casimir repulsion, quantum friction, the dynamical Casimir effect, and negative Casimir entropies.
Coffee: 3:30 pm, 245 Compton