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Author Topic: Can nothing exist?  (Read 9514 times)

Offline thedoc

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Can nothing exist?
« on: 10/06/2014 00:30:02 »
Alan Buckley asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Is it theoretically possible for nothing to exist... anywhere? No matter, no energy, no spatial dimensions, no time... nothing. Is there anything which demands something exists?

Regards
Alan Buckley

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 10/06/2014 00:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #1 on: 10/06/2014 01:45:44 »
The vacuum is flooded with a sea of virtul particles. It can be said that there is "nothing" inbetween the particles.
 

Offline yamo

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #2 on: 12/06/2014 06:52:11 »
How do you measure the nothing?  Is it inferred?
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #3 on: 12/06/2014 15:39:26 »
How do you measure the nothing?  Is it inferred?
That's correct. E.g. if you want to know how much money you have in your wallet you look in side. If you don's see any money in there you can say that you "inferred" that you have no money in your wallet. Although that's a difficult way to simply say that you're broke.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #4 on: 12/06/2014 15:45:34 »
Though this comes back to a similar topic.  This "nothing" still has properties and is therefore not nothing in a very important sense.  In particular, there exist fields spread over all space and time, so there is absolutely no point in the universe that does not contain these fields.
 

Offline allan marsh

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #5 on: 12/06/2014 19:19:04 »
Yes... If you consider that the universe has ultimately small entities that have no dimension of size and if so they can be considered as doorways to a zone where time does not exist.
On passing thru this doorway you enter a zero time zone or nothingness.
Thru this doorway with zero time any entity can exist anywhere in the universe instantaneously !

Classical science goes out of the window but it brings into reality superposition and entanglement plus the understanding that a new view of reality comes.

Heresy is great and the proponent is either mad or a genius.... Usually the truth is proved experimentally after the individuals death..... That's me.....
 

Offline JP

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #6 on: 12/06/2014 20:52:26 »
Yes... If you consider that the universe has ultimately small entities that have no dimension of size and if so they can be considered as doorways to a zone where time does not exist.
On passing thru this doorway you enter a zero time zone or nothingness.
Thru this doorway with zero time any entity can exist anywhere in the universe instantaneously !

Classical science goes out of the window but it brings into reality superposition and entanglement plus the understanding that a new view of reality comes.

Heresy is great and the proponent is either mad or a genius.... Usually the truth is proved experimentally after the individuals death..... That's me.....

Please keep new theories to the New Theories section of the forum.  This section is for discussing more mainstream science.  Thanks!
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #7 on: 12/06/2014 21:50:22 »
The vacuum is flooded with a sea of virtul particles. It can be said that there is "nothing" inbetween the particles.
Not so sure about that; as I understand it, virtual particles are descriptions of quantum fluctuations in the fields that permeate spacetime. Real elementary particles are quantised disturbances of those fields. If you looked closely enough between the particles, you'd probably 'see' the 'quantum foam' that gives rise to the virtual particles.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #8 on: 13/06/2014 07:36:00 »
Quote from: dlorde
If you looked closely enough between the particles, you'd probably 'see' the 'quantum foam' that gives rise to the virtual particles.
That's not what quantum foam is. Quantum foam is the quantinization of spacetime itself and comes from quantum gravity, not quantum field theory. I still hold that what I said is true.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #9 on: 13/06/2014 14:43:13 »
Quote from: dlorde
If you looked closely enough between the particles, you'd probably 'see' the 'quantum foam' that gives rise to the virtual particles.
That's not what quantum foam is. Quantum foam is the quantinization of spacetime itself and comes from quantum gravity, not quantum field theory. I still hold that what I said is true.

There may not be "quantum foam" in the sense of how its used in theories of quantum gravity, but there are still fields in between particles, and those fields can be quantized and give rise to more virtual particles, so there is really nowhere in space that has "nothing."
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #10 on: 13/06/2014 18:46:31 »
That's not what quantum foam is. Quantum foam is the quantinization of spacetime itself and comes from quantum gravity, not quantum field theory. I still hold that what I said is true.
Thanks for the correction, there's plenty of room at the bottom for more errors ;) [/feynman]
Nevertheless, as JP confirms, the fields are there.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #11 on: 13/06/2014 23:44:23 »
Quote from: JP
There may not be "quantum foam" in the sense of how its used in theories of quantum gravity, but there are still fields in between particles, and those fields can be quantized and give rise to more virtual particles, so there is really nowhere in space that has "nothing."
I don't understand how you can say that. I quantum field theory all fields are quantized, i.e. they all consist of particles. Doesn't that mean they're not continuous? It seems to me that you're saying that there is a particle at every point in spacetime. Is that correct?
 

Offline JP

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #12 on: 14/06/2014 00:41:39 »
Quote from: JP
There may not be "quantum foam" in the sense of how its used in theories of quantum gravity, but there are still fields in between particles, and those fields can be quantized and give rise to more virtual particles, so there is really nowhere in space that has "nothing."
I don't understand how you can say that. I quantum field theory all fields are quantized, i.e. they all consist of particles. Doesn't that mean they're not continuous? It seems to me that you're saying that there is a particle at every point in spacetime. Is that correct?

Quantization for fields works by taking a classical field, which exists over all space and time and finding its quantized energy levels.  The resultant is a continuous beast, since it still exists over all space and time, but it is also a quantized beast, since there are minimal excitations, or particles you can extract from it. 

The classic example is a photon of a particular energy, which is an excitation of a monochromatic wave.  By definition a monochromatic wave exists over all time (and all space since the waves we care about are plane waves).  The photon you pull out of it may be detected at a point in space, but the field it derived from still exists over all space and time.  Even if you somehow extract all the possible energy from it, it still exists and has zero point energy.  It can therefore still give rise to virtual particles.
 

Offline percepts

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #13 on: 18/06/2014 19:20:56 »
Quote
nothing to exist

straight contradiction in the question, either something exists or there is nothing which is  the opposite used to described lack of something.

People seem to have a problem with the concept of nothing.
« Last Edit: 18/06/2014 19:25:23 by percepts »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #14 on: 20/06/2014 22:12:20 »
Define 'nothing'. The new definition of it seems to become Quantum mechanical in where this is some sort of wave phenomena? It also seem to have to do with the way we 'magnify' something, in the end either dissolving it into a 'nothing', or defining it as quantized. The beauty of a field seems to consist in its ability to be both 'not there' as well as being able to express particles. So, how do we get to a observer defined field? And is then the world consisting of discreteness, or of a 'flow' of sorts.

Also, redefining nothing as a field seem to me to define nothing as not existing. A field has to be 'something'. Makes for all sorts of new interpretations this, invalidating mathematics too? As we use 'null' :)
 

Offline allan marsh

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #15 on: 26/06/2014 21:01:59 »
So you are dead and the only thing that has changed as in your reality, time has stopped.
You are in the universe of nothing.
No constraint on instant totally none classical mechanics. Travel anywhere, any time
Perhaps that is tooooo metaphysical??
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #16 on: 27/06/2014 09:13:52 »
So you are dead and the only thing that has changed as in your reality, time has stopped.
You are in the universe of nothing.
No constraint on instant totally none classical mechanics. Travel anywhere, any time
Perhaps that is tooooo metaphysical??
Couldn't make any sense of it at all, metaphysically, grammatically, semantically, or otherwise. Perhaps you could translate it into English?
 

Offline allan marsh

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #17 on: 29/06/2014 19:21:42 »
I smile and suggest that at some not too future date, you and I will know the answer!
THATS FACT!
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #18 on: 30/06/2014 23:28:26 »
If you're dead, you don't know anything; you no longer exist.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #19 on: 01/07/2014 06:20:05 »
what happens when you're dead is a singularity of sorts :), individually expressed. Statistically described life has its own properties and goals it seems, little caring about individuals lives, or ideas. It's us living that create what history we can tell, and we use writing to do so, one form or another. As for if a wave/particle duality also guarantee a existing field I don't know? Maybe it does, but with it comes a lot of luggage, from dimensions to the existence of 'pure energy', as it seems to me.
=

It's also a question of what sort of field one envision possibly? As a holographic 'field' for example. If that was a possibility, then what underlying reason there would be for that to express itself should be a better answer to me.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2014 06:27:41 by yor_on »
 

Offline percepts

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #20 on: 01/07/2014 14:10:18 »
Dead or alive relates to a state of conciousness which is not a physical property but rather a metaphysical state. Since this a physics forum and not a metaphysics forum I will assume the question is a physics question and therefore any discussion of dead or alive is a troll.

Perhaps there should be a metaphysics forum where everyone can postulate these metaphysics questions.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2014 14:12:41 by percepts »
 

Offline Dark Matter

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #21 on: 01/07/2014 16:06:02 »
My personal definition of 'nothing' consists of a segment of space in which all forms of matter have equal parts of anti-matter; in this case, no forces would need to interact with particles and entropy would be irrelevant since no change is states of matter or energy is occurring. In this sense, time would also be irrelevant; it would simply be a void of arguable existence.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2014 22:40:26 by Dark Matter »
 

Offline JP

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #22 on: 01/07/2014 20:35:52 »
My personal definition of 'nothing' consists of a segment of space in which all forms of energy and matter have equal parts of anti-energy and anti-matter;

The term anti-energy is meaningless (there's no such thing)...
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #23 on: 02/07/2014 23:37:36 »
Hi DM.

Quote from: Dark Matter
My personal definition of 'nothing' consists of a segment of space in which all forms of matter have equal parts of anti-matter

In what way can equal parts of matter and anti-matter be said to be nothing?
 

Offline Dark Matter

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #24 on: 03/07/2014 15:26:10 »
Hi DM.

In what way can equal parts of matter and anti-matter be said to be nothing?

I look at it as a fine, equal balance. In our current model of particles and sub-particles, it is obvious that we have discovered (so far) that for every particle, there is another of an opposing force (don't take that literally).
Take quarks and antiquarks for example. Say you have a segment of space in perfect vacuum that consists of one up quark and one up antiquark. Although these elementary particles are present, their interactions cancel each other out. One could argue that their actual existence is null under these conditions.
Apply the overall idea of this to any situation- where there is a complete balance of matter and antimatter, quarks and antiquarks, etc. To me, 'nothing' would almost best be described as a complete balance between the known forces of the universe.
 

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Re: Can nothing exist?
« Reply #24 on: 03/07/2014 15:26:10 »

 

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