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Physicists Debate the Many Varieties of Nothingness

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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What is nothing? Sounds like a simple question—nothing is simply the absence of something, of course—until you begin to think about it. The other night the American Museum of Natural History hosted its 14th annual Asimov Memorial Debate, which featured five leading thinkers opining (and sparring, sometimes testily, but more on that later) about the nature of nothing.

“Nothing is the most important part of the universe,” said Lawrence Krauss, a physicist at Arizona State University and author of the recent “A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.” Of course we can imagine the (mostly) empty space between galaxies as being a sort of nothing. But we should also remember that most of the space around us is empty—even an atom is mostly empty space between the nucleus and electrons.

This sort of nothing—the absence of matter—we might consider to be the first level of nothing, clarified  J. Richard Gott, a physicist and cosmologist at Princeton University and the author of “Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective.” It’s what scientists call a quantum vacuum state. It’s a box with everything taken out of it—all the stuff, all the air, all the light. “It even has a color—it’s black,” deadpanned Gott, who frequently demonstrated the best comedic timing of the bunch. Yet even in this nothing, something remains. Virtual quantum particles pop in and out of being, and the empty box still contains the basic scaffolding of existence: space, time and quantum fields.

But where did these come from? Was this something always there? We can trace the history of the universe back to the first instant after the Big Bang, when the cosmos was unimaginably hot and dense and expanding rapidly. But here the laws of physics break down, and with them our ability to reconstruct what came before—indeed, if its even proper to speak of a “before.” This space outside of the universe (though it is certainly misleading to call it a “space”) is the second kind of nothing—the complete lack of space and time and quantum fields. The absence not just of matter and energy, but of the conditions necessary for being.

Much of the evening was consumed with debate over how the cosmos went from this state—the state of complete nothingness—to the universe we know today. The physicists seemed to be of two minds. Gott argued that it’s possible that there was no beginning. Just as we can continuously travel east without reaching Earth’s easternmost point, the universe may have a loop of time at its origin, a place where you can forever travel into the past but always loop back upon yourself as you do. (The idea springs from his decades-old work showing how cosmic strings can allow for time travel into the past, which Paul Davies discussed in his 2002 Scientific American article “How to Build a Time Machine” [subscription required].)

The other, more popular idea was that of the multiverse. Rather than ask how the universe came to exist from nothing, the multiversers assert that being is the natural state. Perhaps a near-infinite number of universes exist, each with slightly different sets of physical laws. We find ourselves in the universe that has physical laws conducive to advanced life-forms for one simple reason: in order for us to exist, the laws of the universe must allow it.

Krauss presented these anthropic arguments as “cosmic natural selection,” and a solution to the problem of where the universe comes from. But Jim Holt, author of “Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story,” pointed out that this line of thinking has a long and not-so illustrious history. What physicists today call the multiverse is known by philosophers as the “principle of plentitude” or “principle of fecundity”: every possible universe exists, and of all these possible worlds, the one we happen to live in is the known world.

This is something of a magic trick, said Gott—an explanation without explanatory power. It appears to answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing, but instead it shifts the blame down the line. It answers the question why are we here? with a tautology: because we are.

Here Krauss and Holt showed their sharpest differences. Krauss claims that we know exactly why the universe exists—indeed, much of his book is given over to the argument that there’s no mystery to existence at all. The universe exists because the laws of physics demand it. Once we have quantum fields, and a Big Bang, the universe had to take the shape that it now has. “What would be the characteristics of the universe built from natural law and nothing else?” he asked. “It would be our universe.”

Holt certainly agrees that quantum field theory is the best available description of our known universe, but he thinks that Krauss’s explanation is incomplete. It answers the question: why does the universe look the way it does? with another equally mysterious explanation: because quantum fields make it so. To Holt, the obvious next question is: so where do these quantum fields come from?

This line of inquiry exasperated Krauss. “The endless why? question is stupid—anyone with kids knows that. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? The only answer is: go to bed,” he said. “The real question is: how?” Later in the program, he tried to explain the creation of the universe from nothing as being like a photon shooting out of a light bulb—it didn’t exist a second ago, but now here it is. (At which point the night’s moderator, Neil Degrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, interrupted him with “but that was energy, it wasn’t just nothing.”)

To Krauss, the endless cycles of why? are beside the point. “Science doesn’t need a first cause, religion does,” said Krauss, a vocal atheist who made his distaste for both religion and philosophy known from the get-go. Krauss’s evasions didn’t quite ring true to Holt. “You’re still in thrall to Christian metaphysics,” he charged. “You see the laws of quantum field theory as divine commands. It used to be that nothing plus God equals universe. You replaced God with the laws of nature. You are insufficiently enlightened.”

Holt later clarified that he considers laws of nature to be “effective descriptions of what’s out there,” not pre-existing entities, and so somewhat useless if we’re seeking enlightenment about why things are they way they are. But he also offered hope to those of us trying to experience the concept of nothing: just go to sleep. Every night we all enter into a brief period of dreamless sleep, with our minds free of all thought. “A little taste of nothing,” he called it. Until death or the end of the universe—whichever comes first—this is as close as we can get to truly understanding nothing.

 

Image of the Helix nebula courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

About the Author: Michael Moyer is the editor in charge of space and physics coverage at Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @mmoyr.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Chris Miller 1:12 pm 03/23/2013

    God did it, and then ran away.

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  2. 2. debu 1:27 pm 03/23/2013

    Continuity can not allow nothing for continuity. So nothing can never exist ,theoretically and practically. We should not discuss nothing as it never exists. We exist because of continuity in everything. Nothing is impossible where as infinite is possible. These two have confused us long and is to be understood from the theories of DURGADAS DATTA.

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  3. 3. TitusWu 1:43 pm 03/23/2013

    The concept of nothing is really deep. In fact, I believe that nothing is something. Kind of paradoxical, but true.

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  4. 4. denisosu 3:30 pm 03/23/2013

    disappointing. was anyone honest enough to stand up and say “we just don’t know”? Postulating untestable ideas like multiple universes or non-explanatory answer like the anthropic principle is basically being in denial. The simple fact is: we do not know, we don’t have data, we don’t have logical rationale, we don’t have any good theory of what’s “outside” our universe or where the laws of physics come from. We may never know, or we may get a step-change in our understanding. But let’s not delude ourselves and act as if there’s nothing to know.

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  5. 5. hungry doggy 3:36 pm 03/23/2013

    “Why is there something instead of nothing?” may be the deepest mystery humanity has ever attempted to answer. If you think it is a simple question then you probably don’t understand the question.

    When I read Holt’s book I wanted to throw it across the room. He does a great job telling the standard story about how the universe expanded from the Big Bang to today and how the laws of physics got us to where we are today. But he seems totally oblivious to the bigger question. Just how do you get from “nothing” to the tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, just where did the laws of physics come from? He is an intelligent man but he doesn’t seem to understand the question.

    And those people who talk about a multiverse seem to miss the point. They could be right about an eternal multiverse. But all they’ve done with respect to this question is go down one level of turtles. Just why is there an eternal multi-verse instead of nothing?

    Of course it’s a childish question with its endless chains of “but where did that come from?” But the profoundest questions are the childish ones.

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  6. 6. gelunelu 3:53 pm 03/23/2013

    It is an impossibility to explain the immensity of the “it” Intellectual collecting all data, and information’s, individually as well as universally and making it available instantly (to each present contributor) and possible making it available to the hole system on demand universally. Only it will be more meaningful, and without colorful exaggerations, as it is possible to each individual presently contributing to the system.
    It is possible that the exaggerate concepts, was inserted by the grooming costumes, when the thinking brains are there, and the contender misunderstood its purposes.
    Do we understand our contributions and the importance of the “It” Intellectual its beautiful association with our brains? (Now that we may, what do we make out of it? How doubtful are you, that your contributions may not be as truthful and correct intellectually to yourself in the future) common sense tells us all, that as we age and have a better understanding of the truth and natural co-existence of the species’ we try to decertifies our past references as incorrect. In addition, even try to separate ourselves from what we have been in our past. Is this our mind of “God”? Alternatively, is it what is expected from a crud existence of Fire Water Air and Earth! Omnipotent it is invincible unstoppable, supreme, and we are “It”.
    It appears to us at time that we exist in absentia, away from our brain attribute controls, remarkable appearance of more freedom and more tolerances of common sense, just as if the decisions are not from within. The conclusion is a speculation that we are from a much larger system, not easy explainable nor easy to understand, nevertheless we humans have this thing called intuitions, and sometime the ability to travel into the future (as well as we can see our past experiences.) In addition, the magnitude of explanation in our brains is limited and not quit acceptable by many, therefore we are in the dark in many categories.

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  7. 7. rufusgwarren 8:02 pm 03/23/2013

    The point is not the reality of the nothing it is our thinking of it, our misguided physics, we have always been wrong. However, think of it this way, how did something arise from the nothing. One could say then that something, i.e. matter is the absence of nothing. Very logical, then one will also theorize that an empty space, without matter cannot exist. Since the events for the matter in the universe could always occur. Then the question is why? Else we make an error with our thinking of time. Hence, a big bang is idiotic!

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  8. 8. kantinomus 10:47 pm 03/23/2013

    The whole discussion is based on the wrong premises. First, what kind of problem is this: a physical problem or a philosophical problem? If this is a physical problem then let the physician to build a super-extra-mega-ciclotron that detect ‘nothingness’. If it is, however, a philosophical problem, then we must look first at what philosophers responded to it.
    Of course, saying that “what you do not know, you need to shut up” as Wittgenstein, is a kind of philosophy as well. Mr. Krauss should know that. This kind of discussion I already find funny. I’m sorry I have not had the opportunity to participate in the debate, so I better explain my point of view. Maybe another time. I hope I will not remain a writer of “comments” for the rest of my life.

    Marcel Chelba

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  9. 9. jmamtmjc 11:45 pm 03/23/2013

    I always thought nothing was the barrier that separates opposites…and everything is an opposite and therefore really just nothing (in the bigger picture). Perhaps the question is, how do you create time out of nothing so opposites can be formed?

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  10. 10. Y V Chawla 12:52 am 03/24/2013

    Brain can not recognise anything without contrast. We are conscious against being non-conscious(nothingness). This is the totality.When you are hungry, only one thought that of food is there. When food goes inside the body and the processing starts, brain becomes ready for its function, that is, thoughts start generating. Including the thought of ‘you’, God, soul, creation. Thoughts arise because of life energy. Thought is entrapped in likes and dislikes. It loses contact with the energy from where it draws its sustenance. The secret, the origin is in this energy and not what thoughts depict.Thinking arises in the fluid field, limitless field. There is ‘no one’ thinking. There is ‘no owner’ of thoughts.
    https://sites.google.com/site/yvchawla/happenings-around-and-fundamentals

    Link to this
  11. 11. rigg38a 4:27 am 03/24/2013

    So “The universe exists because the laws of physics demand it.” but where did these laws originate. It seems every explanation generates another “Why?”
    Even the “God as Creator theory” does not answer where (s)he came from.

    Link to this
  12. 12. vgare 5:07 am 03/24/2013

    How about this: nothing is a human concept not a natural one. There cannot be nothingness. It is a limitation of the human apparatus and tools of inspection.

    Everywhere there has always been everything. (The foundations of space-time).

    That which we detect through our senses and instruments is just that-the detectable portion of everything.

    Just as all matter can be “dismantled” down to quarks and leptons, all of the particles and fields and forces can be understood to consist of the fabric of space-time whatever we “find” that to be, in the future.

    Not to sound too sure of myself, I have another theory, which is of the ever stretching multiverse. As the universes in this multiverse expand and get farther apart from each other the apparent emptiness gains the potential for matter emerging from it. All the bubbling virtual particles reach a state of spontaneous emergency into continued stable existence, also known as the Big Bang.

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  13. 13. bernardpalmer 6:42 am 03/24/2013

    The best way to describe is to leave it out altogether. doesn’t exist so it is beyond description. The fact that all rotating bodies, which includes everything, have a common singularity at their centre means .

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  14. 14. Zephir_AWT 7:19 am 03/24/2013

    In AWT the universe is random, so what we can see from the Universe at largest scales is the last regularity, which you can recognize in randomness. It’s essentially a mixture of all topologies, which you can imagine and the dodecahedron (foam) and hyperbolic unparticle geometry dominates there.

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  15. 15. kakketoe 11:48 am 03/24/2013

    Nothing is infinite

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  16. 16. ewedlock 2:05 pm 03/24/2013

    @Chris Miller: “God did it, and then ran away.” – but, if I may ask, . . . why? (Echoing Hungry Doggy, comment 5) Peace

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  17. 17. Raoul 2:35 pm 03/24/2013

    I don`t agree with kakketoe, ’cause “nothing=0″, hence it`s a mathematic or physical matter. Otherwise,kantinomous `s OK.
    Remember “I know that I know nothing, and even on that I`m not sure”.

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  18. 18. Torbjörn Larsson, OM 3:53 pm 03/24/2013

    Holt, the journalist, sounds like a post-modernist relativist: “… the laws of nature. You are insufficiently enlightened.”

    “It appears to answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing, but instead it shifts the blame down the line. It answers the question why are we here? with a tautology: because we are.”

    That is stupid. Selection is precisely a mechanism that replaces implausible luck with a likelihood of drawing from a distribution (of universes). Gott wouldn’t take the sum of a throw of two dices, where outcomes are decided by the combinatorics, as answering the question why this sum? with the tautology: because it was. He would instead peg the likelihood.

    And as always, testability means breaking seeming tautologies in any case. We can test the outcome of summing over dice faces, observing the likelihoods and the uncertainties (say, weighted dies) involved. Same goes for anthropic selection, see Weinberg’s result on dark energy.

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  19. 19. Torbjörn Larsson, OM 4:05 pm 03/24/2013

    @denisou: How are multiverses untestable? The distribution over parameters were how Weinberg predicted the amount of dark energy already 1987.

    No alternate theory has been so successful in test as multiverses. Doesn’t make it valid, but it sure doesn’t make it invalid either.

    @hungry doggy: Because processes can be eternal, but having a chain of mechanisms aren’t infinite as is and you need further constraint. (Such as being a process provides.)

    @rufusgwarren: Standard cosmology (with its inflation, where you can discuss the meaning of “big bang”), is the first consistent and well tested cosmology.

    It will therefore likely stand. Indeed the recent Planck data release tested it better than earlier instruments and it survived. Poo on you! =D

    @vgare: “Continuous creation” has been rejected by observation. Inflation is a continuous expansion, not creation of matter, but of spacetime.

    @Zephyr: “Aether” has been rejected by observation.

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  20. 20. skepchris 5:25 pm 03/24/2013

    I would define ‘nothing’ as a universally subsuming negation of any and all potentiality; a true and permanent void that precludes the possibility of possibilities, forever.(Nothing can happen, and nothing will happen.) I would argue that there can be no such thing as nothing, in the truest sense of the word. If there exists potential, that IS something.

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  21. 21. silvrhairdevil 7:06 pm 03/24/2013

    I have no problem with the concept of Nothingness but I doubt I could describe it. Space and time have no existence? That’s deep.

    The beginning of Something, though – that’s easy…

    Call it a quantum event or singularity or what you like: the conditions that allowed for the Big Bang actualized and Nothing became Something.

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  22. 22. vgare 7:47 pm 03/24/2013

    @Torbjörn Larsson: I’m curious as to how it has been rejected by observation. I haven’t the knowledge so I’m really interested how this was rejected.
    I wasn’t thinking of continuous creation as “happening all the time” locally throughout our universe, but happening at special moments in the history of the multiverse when the conditions were met that the “emptyness/void” between universes was so enormous that in that space a spontaneous emergence of a new big bang would occur with its own local laws etc.

    @skepchris: agreed.

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  23. 23. silvrhairdevil 7:49 pm 03/24/2013

    Oh yeah – about “we are here because we are”; it’s more easily understood if you look at the large picture.

    Did the conditions for our existence not apply, we would not exist.

    Our Universe is as it is because we are here to observe it. If it were different, we would be different also, presuming we existed at all.

    Something different would/could exist but it wouldn’t be *our* Universe.

    Link to this
  24. 24. lwachters 3:46 am 03/25/2013

    Why is not in this discussion anybody talking about dark matter and dark energy? I presume it should.

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  25. 25. jgrosay 11:23 am 03/25/2013

    This article points that the color of Nil or Nothing is Black, and this reminds the concept of Black Body that was so useful in the development of Astronomy. A body has a color when it reflects light in an indiviadual range of the spectrum, and also there is the color of elements radiating light, but as the color of the Nil can be stated as there’s nothing in it absorbing all of the light spectrum or not reflecting any, or as there’s nothing to emit light in any line, simply the concept of color would never apply to Nil, as it doesn’t apply to media transparent to light. Isaac Asimov was an interesting SciFi writer, respectable even when he may have made in his writings some adventures with religious connections that can be considered offensive, but is he a scientist with a science production of sufficient quality and amount to give his name to a scientist’s meeting? A meeting of SciFi writers or publishers, or media people would be a different field, more adequate to recall Asimov’s name. Or not?

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  26. 26. kakketoe 3:06 pm 03/25/2013

    As the universe comes from nothing, nothing must be infinite.

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  27. 27. M Tucker 5:23 pm 03/25/2013

    This was simply a wonderfully engaging debate to behold. These well educated and deep thinking physicists quickly converge on the important questions but the answers to the deepest question are so far unknown. “…the complete lack of space and time and quantum fields. The absence not just of matter and energy [dark matter and energy too], but of the conditions necessary for being.” When did this supposed nothingness exist? We can’t really say since it is outside time. We can’t say such a state ever existed because we have no evidence for it.

    “The other, more popular idea was that of the multiverse.” Yeah, modern physicists just seem to love this multiverse idea. No evidence for it and no way to prove or test for its existence. I wish they would explain why they love it so much.

    I get a kick out of Krauss. He might have a distaste for philosophy but, despite all his efforts, he can’t get away from philosophical arguments.

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  28. 28. Germanicus 1:47 am 03/26/2013

    ‘Something’ exists because it must…we can’t even imagine perfect Nothingness–there’d be nothing to imagine it w/…the aspect more dispositive of pain is that we are ontological ‘nontities’, epilogical elements of infinitely nested holograms a la Suskind…mind & memory are fantasms; love is oxytocin; male & female are predators, each to the other…suicidality is ineluctable.

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  29. 29. sunspot 5:23 pm 03/26/2013

    Michaek Moyer:
    A debate is usually balanced by alternate views of the topic. Yet the philosophical and theological views are not represented. Four physicists and two science writers discussed the most important philosophical concept known to man: What is nothing vs something. No wonder that the outcome was rather purile; “Go to bed”; really? Obviously, the participants were lacking in explanatory ability.

    Do we see a highly biased philosophical perspective here? Some participants, especially Lawrence Krauss, seem blissfully unaware of, or uncomfortable with their own philosophical assumptions. Even empirical data contains implicit philosophical assumptions which define the limits of meaning.

    Did Charles Seife and Eva Silverstein show up? There is no mention of their contribution to the debate.

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  30. 30. sunspot 5:39 pm 03/26/2013

    Michael Moyer: sorry for the typo in your name.

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  31. 31. gesimsek 7:09 pm 03/26/2013

    Death is not the answer since it is something you do in this world, ie it is about deleting the information content you embody in this world. However, the energy that assembles you from worldly particles goes back to its source with “impressions” of life

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  32. 32. Namahs 4:03 am 03/27/2013

    Some of the comments touch on the Buddhist concept of Sunyata.

    “Śūnyatā” (Sanskrit noun from the adj. śūnya: “zero, nothing”) is usually translated as “emptiness”. It is the noun form of the adjective “śūnya” (Sanskrit) which means “empty” or “void”,[2] hence “empti”-”ness” (-tā).Sunya comes from the root svi, meaning “swollen”, plus -ta “-ness”, therefore “hollow, hollowness”. A common alternative term is “voidness”.

    Krauss may be on the right track with his comment “The only answer is: go to bed”

    In S IV.295, it is explained that a bhikkhu can experience a deathlike contemplation in which perception and feeling cease. When he emerges from this state, he recounts three types of “contact”…

    They have different way to to get the mind to wrap around this concept at a deeper level.

    On the Cessation of Perception & Feeling
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn41/sn41.006.than.html

    This may shed light on the root for the various arguements i.e. observations/sensations vs unobservable/nonmeasurable/ nonsensationables. How vs why.

    Maybe the “why camp” is looking for a different approach from the “how camp”. They need somebody like a Georg Cantor- “the odd genius who showed that one infinity was greater than another.”

    So maybe they may want to vere off into questions like:
    Are there differnt forms of nothingness? Is the nothingness before the big bang different from that which appears in the universe and is that different than in atoms? The nothingness “fabric” around a black hole seems to have different characteristics from other places in space.

    Also, too much thinking about nothingness like infinity may be too frightning. Cantor’s life did not have a happy ending, he died in a sanatorium.

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  33. 33. Donzzz 8:58 pm 03/27/2013

    There is no empty space – every square inch of the universe is filled with ALL the Laws of Nature. The Laws came first and are the prime dimension of the universe. The universe could not exist one inch beyond the laws. They give the universe its personality. They brought the universe into existence and are invariant, conditions may change but the Laws of nature never do.
    http://novan.com/universe.htm

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  34. 34. newdealtn 12:09 am 03/28/2013

    I think that we experience things…visions and sounds, smells and tastes, physical and emotional feelings, thoughts and memories, imagination and desires, will and intuition, etc. Can we experience anything if we don’t exist? And can anything we experience not exist? I think that experience can only occur where both, that-which-experiences and that-which-is experienced exist by definition.

    Now, if existence is defined in such a manner as to apply meaningfully to both, the subject and object of any experience that occurs, then non-existence (nothingness?) can only mean something that is beyond all experience. But if something is beyond experience, it must not only be beyond all sensory perception but also beyond all knowledge including that it be beyond conceiving. In order to be beyond conceiving, that something must have no comprehensible properties or attributes by which it might be conceived. Therefore, nothingness is a concept that cannot be applied to anything; that is, to any “thing”.

    Existence and non-existence (nothingness, rather than emptiness or absolute vacuum) cannot be conditions that occupy time or space, because both, time and space, are dimensions that exist; they are elements of the set of things-that-exist. Also, both space and time are properties of the universe which come into being with the universe and cease to exist whenever the universe ceases to exist. Here I rely on the reports of widely accepted cosmological theories. Existence must not have any properties that are strictly dependent on space or time. It must not have any size or shape or location or motion or number or division. It must not have any beginning or end; it must be unchanging. Existence must either be true or false, and being one or the other cannot change. If there is existence, there can be no cessation to existence. And if there is no existence, then it cannot ever begin to be. Existence is necessarily Boolean in its nature, and it therefore has no need for explanation other than the simple fact of its being or not being; it is what philosophers have called a “necessary being”.

    The only property I can think of that existence, being independent of space and time, can possess is the property of potentiality. Existence must have potentiality, for else it could not explain the emergence of dependent beings that arise from it, beings like universes and the countless things that fill them.

    Samm

    Link to this
  35. 35. kantinomus 1:11 am 03/28/2013

    1. Multiverse theory is just a way to delay solving the problem.
    2. Physics is just a hermeneutics of empirical experience.
    3. The key of interpretation is very our faculty of imagination.
    4. We can find only what we can imagine a priori.
    5. But fortunately (or unfortunately, whatever you want), not all we are able to imagine, exist in reality.

    I said these things in a book, even to an radio broadcast, and in other comments, here in S.A. You will find them.

    I love you all,
    Marcel Chelba

    Link to this
  36. 36. bucketofsquid 4:26 pm 03/29/2013

    Personally I have experienced 2 kinds of nothing;
    As a child nothing meant “I don’t want to tell you because you will get mad”.
    As an adult it now means “I don’t know”. This one seems to cover physics nothing as well.

    Link to this
  37. 37. gelunelu 8:58 pm 03/31/2013

    Here you are very wrong, (Donzzz)
    The laws do not come first! In addition, is the prime dimension of one Universe?
    The Universe come first and by its composition, forms the laws and its
    Personality

    Link to this
  38. 38. edprochak 10:48 am 04/1/2013

    @jgrosay,
    You ask “Isaac Asimov was an interesting SciFi writer, respectable even when he may have made in his writings some adventures with religious connections that can be considered offensive, but is he a scientist with a science production of sufficient quality and amount to give his name to a scientist’s meeting?”

    Isaac Asimov was an author of many books popularizing science. he was professor of biochemistry at Boston University. One of the first books I read on Physics was written by him (I was in 7th or 8th grade). So he was so much more than a respectable scifi writer.

    I managed to meet him once at college. Wonderful talker and very charming.

    Link to this
  39. 39. Cosmoknot 6:33 pm 04/2/2013

    Nothing is completely absent of anything measurable. The concept of smallness is inapplicable to it. Any idea of size doesn’t fit with the idea of nothing. Nothing doesn’t have a ruler, and it doesn’t have a stopwatch. No constant will spring from it.

    So when physicists say that the universe started from nothing and is currently expanding relative to the nothing, either they are confusing the idea of nothing with the idea of something being small, or else they are saying that the universe is not really expanding, since expansion relative to nothing is the same as no expansion at all.

    Link to this
  40. 40. Corpusien 1:12 am 04/6/2013

    God is Nothing! :-)
    Our Univers is just a Big Sneeze of God! ;-)

    Link to this

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