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B Is it possible for "nothing" to exist

  1. Apr 9, 2016 #1
    If there was nothing, would there still be dimensions of space and nothing in them or would there not be any dimensions of space at all.
     
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  3. Apr 9, 2016 #2

    PeterDonis

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    Define "nothing".
     
  4. Apr 10, 2016 #3

    Chronos

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    'Nothing', according to Einstein is the 'lack of any ponderable properties'. This definition obviously lacks any contextual meaning.
     
  5. Apr 10, 2016 #4
    You can in principle have a total vacuum devoid of all matter, although actually achieving that has not (I think) been done yet.
    Such a vacuum could be contained within a container of a known size.
     
  6. Apr 10, 2016 #5

    PeterDonis

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    I don't think this can be what the OP meant by "nothing", since it obviously has dimensions of space because of the container. (Also, the container is obviously not "nothing".) However, the best thing would be for the OP himself to clarify what he meant.
     
  7. Apr 10, 2016 #6
    Even a vacuum produces particles.
     
  8. Apr 10, 2016 #7
    and radiation can exist in a vacuum too, was really waiting for the OP to define 'nothing', but no atoms would be a place to start.
     
  9. Apr 11, 2016 #8
    Vacuums also have geometry and curvature.
     
  10. Apr 11, 2016 #9
    It seems to me that QM forbids absolute nothing, wouldn't that contradict uncertainty?
     
  11. Apr 11, 2016 #10

    PeterDonis

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    Define "absolute nothing". The root issue here (which the OP's question also illustrates) is that you are throwing around ordinary language terms that do not have precise definitions. Questions framed in that manner do not have precise, well-defined answers.
     
  12. Apr 11, 2016 #11
    Would one way of looking at this be to ask just what do we know that does exists? E.g. mass, energy, fields, and space time? Is there anything that we know to exist or theorise to exist that falls outside of those 4 generic categories?
     
  13. Apr 11, 2016 #12
    The laws themselves that govern those entities.
     
  14. Apr 11, 2016 #13
    True, but those laws are only there because those entities exist. No entities no laws.
     
  15. Apr 11, 2016 #14

    anorlunda

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    Leonard Susskind, in one of his video lectures, said that the electric & magnetic fields cannot both be zero at the same time in the same place according to the HUP. Fields are something.
     
  16. Apr 11, 2016 #15

    PeterDonis

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    Not really. Read the OP question again. Suppose we have a definitive answer to your question--say, for concreteness, that the list you give is in fact the definitive list of "things we know exist". How would that help in answering the OP's question?
     
  17. Apr 11, 2016 #16

    PeterDonis

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    Ok, so how does this help in answering the OP's question?
     
  18. Apr 11, 2016 #17

    anorlunda

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    It refutes the OP's premise, " if there was nothing." In the universe that physics deals with, there is always something.
     
  19. Apr 11, 2016 #18
    I would imagine that because the electromagnetic forces are caused by electrically charged objects that if you remove all those object there is no field, so not sure if that would apply in that case.
     
  20. Apr 11, 2016 #19

    anorlunda

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    Photons don't require charged objects to exist.
     
  21. Apr 11, 2016 #20

    PeterDonis

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    That depends on how the OP defines "nothing". Which is what I asked him to clarify. (For example, I could define "nothing" as "vacuum", in which case it is certainly possible for there to be nothing, and there would still be dimensions of space if there were nothing.)
     
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