They say that nothing ever happens in a vacuum, but this holiday - Create a Vacuum Day, on February 4 - seems to have emerged from one.
The source, or even the purpose, of this fun and geeky holiday are unknown, so we can only guess that the holiday calls for people to learn more about the science behind a vacuum and experiment with it (as much as they can with common household equipment).
The word, vacuum comes from the Latin word vacuus, meaning empty or vacant, and is used by scientists to refer to a space that does not have any matter or where the pressure is lower than atmospheric pressure.
No Perfect Vacuum
While theoretically, a perfect vacuum can exist, practically creating one is almost impossible. This is because of, what scientists call virtual particles – particles that can enter and exit a vacuum. Such particles include photons and quarks. Outer space is considered by scientists as being closest to a state of perfect vacuum as there can be, even though it is not completely devoid of matter. Apart from space debris that includes comets and asteroids, outer space has stray atoms of gases and different forms of radiation.
In addition to its theoretical applications, the concept of vacuum has led to many industrial and household items that we find indispensable today. In our homes, a vacuum can be used to suck up dirt through the vacuum cleaner and even light up our rooms through incandescent light bulbs. Outside, vacuum is used to pack food and other items, in vacuum pumps, and to build electron microscopes. Even car brakes work by creating a form of vacuum.
How to Celebrate?
Learn more about the science behind vacuum, a space completely empty of matter, and its practical uses.
Take out the vacuum cleaner from the closet and use it - you are due to clean your home anyway.
Did You Know…
…that the world’s first vacuum cleaner was invented in 1866 by Ives W. McGaffey in the United States?