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Surprising Science

There’s No Such Thing as Nothing, According to Quantum Physics

Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains why nothing is really something.
Hello??? (JO KENT)

Lyrics to “Nothing,” by proto-punk-folk group The Fugs:

Monday, nothing

Tuesday, nothing

Wednesday and Thursday nothing

Friday, for a change

A little more nothing

Saturday once more nothing

Sunday nothing

Monday nothing

Tuesday and Wednesday nothing

Thursday, for a change

A little more nothing

Friday once more nothing

Would that it were so simple (to quote the Cohen Brothers). Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains how, over the last hundred or so years, trying to nail down the existence of nothingness has become surprisingly complicated. You know, the Biblical void? Um, no so much. Just because we can’t see anything doesn’t mean a space is really empty. It’s all about the maddeningly unstable rules — if we can even call them that — of quantum physics.

Our favorite line of Krauss’ is this: “And in fact, for that kind of nothing, if you wait long enough, you’re guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics to produce something.”

Nothing’s just not what to used to be.


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