It was all much ado about nothing as physicists and thinkers came together to debate the concept of nothing Wednesday (March 20) here at the American Museum of Natural History.
The simple idea of nothing, a concept that even toddlers can understand, proved surprisingly difficult for the scientists to pin down, with some of them questioning whether such a thing as nothing exists at all.
The first, most basic idea of nothing — empty space with nothing in it — was quickly agreed not to benothing. In our universe, even a dark, empty void of space, absent of all particles, is still something.
"It has a topology, it has a shape, it's a physical object," philosopher Jim Holt said during the museum's annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, which this year was focused on the topic of "The Existence of Nothing."
As moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum's Hayden Planetarium, said, "If laws of physics still apply, the laws of physics are not nothing." [Endless Void or Big Crunch: How Will the Universe End?]
There is no such thing as nothing
There is always something there - even if it is just a few atoms
"What did you say to Shakespeare when he was dying?"
"Nothing. I wasn't even born then".
One type of Nothing is the (albeit rigidly defined) connection between two not overlapping circles of specific criterias in a Venn diagram.
"What did you do today?"
What could actually be true, for example, is any or all of the following:
a) I did nothing interesting to me.
b) I did nothing that I think would be interesting to you.
c) I did something interesting to me, or that has affected me, but I don't want to tell you what it
d) I did something that I think would be interesting to you, or that would affect you/me, but I don't want to tell you what it is.
e) I'm not sure if what I did was interesting or not, either to me, you, or objectively, so, for easiness, I'll just say that I did nothing.
They actually did 'something', even if it's moving slightly but, by the
definition of 'nothing' that is deemed acceptable in the English language, what they said make sense to the person who they say it to, even if it might annoy the person that they say it to.
If the original post meant purely in a physics sense (which HateOCR's post appropriately answers to me - it's the absence of discernible
stuff - of course, who is doing the discerning, how dilgently, what tools/logic they use, can be important in other cases) then the
philosophy section wasn't the place for that unless you define that it's just to do with the physics sense.