• >It's really interesting this question because it provokes a never ending stream of questions.What does nothing even mean? Zero is a number and hence has a value, and hence isn't 'nothing'. Can nothing exist in a certain place or does the fact that the space exists mean that there is still space there?Can negative matter ever exist? Antimatter is positive matter with a negative charge i.e. it still has a value of 1, 2, 3 or any other positive number. But what if matter existed that actually was negative? In that case +1 -1 would equal 0. Two pieces of matter would come together to form a value of zero (not what happens when matter and antimatter come together). Now in the risk of taking this hypothetical situation too far, what if you could do the equation in reverse? If 0 could become -1 and +1 once more then this could explain some of the hitherto unexplained aspects of quantum physics. It would also prove that zero really is a value in reality, rather than just in the Maths class.I don't pretend to know what I'm talking about here but at a guess I would hazard that nothing cannot exist. Nothing is not a gap between two things because in that gap there is space, and in the space forces, light, sometimes tiny pieces of matter, and who knows what else. If nothing is no space, no matter and no force then what is it? In other words if nothing is nothing then of course it doesn't exist. There is nothing to nothing (unless we are speaking conceptually, for anything can exist in the realms of one's mind).Hence my conclusion is that zero is a real and tangible quality, but in general everything we ever discover will only have zero as one asset. Take a 2 dimensional square. It has positive values of length and width, yet a value of zero for height. I would argue that everything works in the same way. A square metre of space may have zero matter, but it still contains a postive amount of space.Indeed some people now argue that space is in fact more of 'something' than we previously argued, and that it is fluctuations in the fabric of space that cause other things such as forces.

  • >Pretty good Rob. I always think of a line from the Buddhist 'Heart of Sutra' text when I hear the word nothing. It goes along the lines of "clear your mind, physical things are nothing, mental things are nothing, even nothing is nothing", something like that.For the idea that nothing can in fact be 2 opposing things that cancel each other out, it is a very good idea, except that i think that this is not 'nothing' but 'nuetral' instead.Then the argument that space without anything in it can not be nothing, because it still contains space, is not taking the profundity (?) of nothing into account. You are right in asserting that it is still 'space', and you can also define it by its lack of something.If the universe was created from a singularity and is constantly expanding, then there should be an actual and literal reality of 'nothingness' beyond the edges of the universe. But i don't believe this is possible, for many of the reasons that Rob set out, and also for the fact that nothingness can not be solely descirbed by an absence of somethingness, but is a quality in itself. And if it exists, then it must be something, therefore it can not exist, unless nothing else exists so that it can not be defined or postulated at.So what is beyond the edges of the universe then ?

  • >Again raises more questions. They say the universe started from a Singularity. That is believable. Yet Hawking claims that time itself folded out of the Big Bang, and that is not. If time unfolded out of the Singularity then something changed in order to create time. Yet how can change occur without time? It cannot!Hence there are only two conclusions for me as to what lies outside the universe. Either other verses exist as part of an infinite multiverse. Or there is no 'outside' of this universe for it is infinite. Either way I would argue that the Singularity was not the beginning but merely one point on an infinite timeline, and the beginning of our chapter.

  • >Rob,According to hawking, the universes gravity folds space and time into a torus shape,or a shape which folds back on itself, so if you could travel at an infinite speed you would eventually come back to yourself. It is a bit like imagining the earth, but the two dimensions of the earth's surface are the 3 dimensions of space.There may not be an outside the universe in the 3 spacial dimensions. but it is not infinite in that there is an everlasting nothingness after the galaxy's of our universe.I agree the beginning of this universe but one point in an infinite time-line,or even a looping time-line.In fact, time could be just another dimension, like the three spacial dimensions, that we can only perceive going one way. Like, on a train ride through the 3 dimensions, to analogise.

  • >Yes that's an idea that has been around since H.G. Wells's 'The Time Machine'. It's one of those things which is difficult to prove either way because we just don't have the ability to test the hypothesis.Obviously you know more science than me though. What's been advanced in the way of proof i.e. of time being another dimension and space and time warping everything into a torus shape outside of which nothing exists? Also, if this is true, the Torus shape I mean, how is it that the Universe is able to expand? Surely if it is expanding then it is expanding into 'space' beyond the Universe?

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