2013 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: The Existence of Nothing
The concept of nothing is as old as zero itself. How do we grapple with the concept of nothing? From the best laboratory vacuums on Earth to the vacuum of space to what lies beyond, the idea of nothing continues to intrigue professionals and the public alike.
Join moderator and Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson as he leads a spirited discussion with a group of physicists, philosophers and journalists about the existence of nothing. The event, which was streamed live to the web, took place at the American Museum of Natural History on March 20, 2013.
J. Richard Gott, professor of astrophysical sciences, Princeton University, and author of Sizing Up the Universe: The Cosmos in Perspective
Jim Holt, science journalist and author of Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story
Lawrence Krauss, professor of physics, Arizona State University and author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing
Charles Seife, professor of journalism, New York University, and author of Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
Eve Silverstein, professor of physics, Stanford University, and co-editor of Strings, Branes and Gravity
Again, for both the benefit of anyone reading this and also my own understanding, I turned to Sean Carroll for a good article on the implications of some of the deeper sciencey stuff going on. Always a lark.
Here’s his article on the concept:
…and on Lawrence’s book:
Did you know the total energy content of the universe is ZERO?
I love the implications. Energetic fluctuations below the limit set by the uncertainty principle are effectively too small and too quick to violate the law. A kind of positive nothing. Extrapolate from there and you can build an entire universe.
This links up with condensed physics and the like, but given the nature of the beast, I thought I’d focus on nothing for just now.