Does "nothing" have a meaning in physics?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Why is this a word if it has no meaning. Is there a physics meaning of nothing.
 

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  • #2
sophiecentaur
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I know nothing about that, I'm afraid.
 
  • #3
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its nothing to be afraid of...
 
  • #4
Khashishi
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It has no technical meaning. Just the standard English meaning. Vacuum, on the other hand, has a technical meaning.
 
  • #5
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Whatever a "thing" is, it is what is left over when you remove it.
 
  • #6
phinds
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"nothing" is very contentious in Physics, and is best avoided. "A Universe from Nothing" for example, means different things to different people.
 
  • #7
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You've been watching too many H & R Block tax preparation commercials on TV. We're all anxious to hear what Micheo Kaku says.
 
  • #8
phinds
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You've been watching too many H & R Block tax preparation commercials on TV. We're all anxious to hear what Micheo Kaku says.
Actually, now that you bring it up, a good definition of "nothing" is "the scientific value of Michio Kaku's statements on physics in the last few years". :smile:
 
  • #9
Nothing is the just the opposite of everything I believe
 
  • #10
phinds
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Nothing is the just the opposite of everything I believe
And how does that work as a definition in physics?
 
  • #13
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I don't think so. That's a math thing. This is a physics question.
Math is sometimes employed in physics, so there tends to be overlap.
 
  • #14
phinds
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Math is sometimes employed in physics, so there tends to be overlap.
Of course, but I think not in this case.
 
  • #15
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The important thing to know is that "null" is not the same as "zero", "no value" versus "a value of zero", and so the meaning of "nothing" depends on which more specific word or definition it's making reference to.
 
  • #16
phinds
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The important thing to know is that "null" is not the same as "zero", "no value" versus "a value of zero", and so the meaning of "nothing" depends on which more specific word or definition it's making reference to.
Yes, that's my point. The question here is not about math but about physics and the universe.
 
  • #17
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Can you give an example of where the distinction becomes important?
 
  • #18
phinds
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Can you give an example of where the distinction becomes important?
Not offhand but it's important to keep in mind that, as Alfred Korzybski said, the map is not the territory.
 
  • #19
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"nothing" is very contentious in Physics, and is best avoided.
Yeah, it's even hard to make a conclusive statement about "nothing"...[COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR]:olduhh:

"A Universe from Nothing" for example, means different things to different people.
Just funning you ...[COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR] :oldbiggrin:
 
  • #20
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Strawberry fields forever.
 
  • #21
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I think it is a reasonable physics question to ask ie;

if there is a possibility that a volume of truly nothing; has ever, does, or can ever exist.

it appears Heisenberg uncertainty law forbids the existence of nothing if I understand it correctly.

the closest I have found is the Casimir effect.
 
  • #22
jbriggs444
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I think it is a reasonable physics question to ask ie;

if there is a possibility that a volume of truly nothing; has ever, does, or can ever exist.
Adding the word "truly" in front of the word nothing does little to clarify things.

A region where nothing can ever exist would be quite interesting. What happens if you shoot a high energy electron into such a region? Does it reflect? Does it come out the other side with zero elapsed time? Does it simply disappear? How do you square this with conservation of energy? If this is a finite region with detectable behavior then it will have a measurable velocity. How is it affected by gravity? What gravitational effects does it have? Does the region grow or shrink over time? Is it possible to create such a region? If you have two such regions that intersect, do they interact? If so, how does this square with the fact that a region of nothing cannot, by definition, exist within a region of nothing?
 
  • #23
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Yes indeed, I speculate nothing has not ever existed.
 
  • #24
SammyS
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  • #25
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^ I see what you did there.
 

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