Is “Empty Space” the same as “Nothing”?

When asked to describe what “nothing” is, most people give a description of empty space. But is empty space really the same thing as nothing? Most Physicists would say no. To a Physicist “nothing” is the absence of something, but they realize that empty space itself is still something. This very topic was the primary focus of a Scientific Forum that was held at The American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. On March 20, 2013, a group of Physicists gathered at the Museum to discuss the topic “What is Nothing?” The Physicists did not reach a consensus on the main question, but they did agree on one thing:

“The first, most basic idea of nothing – empty space with nothing in it – was quickly agreed not to be nothing. In our universe, even a dark, empty void of space, absent of all particles, is still something.” 1

The Physicists’ conclusion is noteworthy: Empty space is not nothing; it is empty space. It can be measured! After all, how could you measure “nothing?” It would be absurd to say, “Over there exists 10 cubic feet of nothing.” If empty space was truly “nothing” then it would be impossible to measure.

Space exists. So just like matter and energy, space had to somehow come into existence.

References and Notes for Chapter 15:

1. What Is Nothing? Physicists Debate” March 22, 2013,