Monday, September 12, 2005

Could space exist with nothing in it?

I'd like to comment on the possibility that space could exist with nothing in it. I believe that space could absolutely exist with nothing in it. I'll make my argument regarding the tiny spaces in matter between where electrons orbit and where the nucleus is.
First of all, it has been proven that matter is made up of atoms, which are made up of protons, electrons, and neutrons, and that these electrons orbit the positively charged nucleus. Rutherford's gold foil experiment proved this when he shot positively charged alpha particles through thin gold foil. The particles that were deflected or that came straight back hit the nucleus. However, the vast majority shot straight through so there must be empty space inside atoms. I believe more recent discoveries have been made regarding smaller particles that make up the subatomic particles that are called quarks, but I don't know enough on the subject to comment further on it.


Blogger mparent said...

It is not quite correct to say that the electrons orbit the nucleus. There is no actual orbit but rather something like a particle density cloud around the nucleus. Depending on the makeup of the atom the electron is more likely to be found in certain places than others but they can actually be found right next to the nucleus although this is rather unlikely. I too agree thatthere is space inside the atom itself despite no matter being there. Some scientists have posited that the universe is actually made of a subatomic foam where everything is composed of extremely tiny bubbles much like lathered soap but on a much smaller scale.
However, if space can exist with nothing in it, what does this mean about the universe? Is the universe infinite? If space exists outside of where the matter of the universe exists then does it ever stop? Does the universe actually create space for itself to expand into as it expands? This would be analagous to a balloon being blown up and stretching out to make room for the air being added inside.
This is actually related to another theory for parallel universes that exist within pockets that are very close to each other. This would be like a bunch of balloons on the ceiling being very close to each other. But if you were inside one of the balloons you wouldn't be able to directly observe the other balloons existence. So this in itself posits a possible explanation for the existence of parallel universes.

9:46 PM  
Blogger ewolf335 said...

I;m not going to get scientific on this but here's my thought. I believe that space can exist without anything in it. However, even if it could, i doubt we would know that it was space. Without knowing whether or not it was occupied by something could make us question whether it really was space, or even ask what is space? We wouldn't know what empty is simply because the space would always be empty. Thus, it makes sense to say space could exist with nothing in it, but i wonder whether we would know about it.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Darron said...

I definitely do believe that space could exist with nothing in it. I’ll use a simple example. If you take a shoebox and remove everything from inside the shoebox so that it is completely empty, is there space inside that box? Of course there is space inside the box because there is room to accommodate more objects. One of the definitions of space, according to Microsoft Dictionary, is the room to accommodate more things. Therefore there is always going to be space, as long as it’s not filled to capacity.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Kermit said...

I also agree that space could exist with nothing in it. It is like the question about whether a tree that falls in a forest makes a sound if no one is around to hear it. Just because you are not experiencing something doesn't mean it's not happening. Just because there is nothing in the space or no one to hear a tree fall doesn't mean it's not existing or making a noise. And what does empty really mean? Even if there is no air in space, the area has something because otherwise nothing would separate us from the other planets. Maybe the supposedly empty space is filled with dark matter, the hypothesis some scientists have about what is making the universe expand.

7:41 AM  
Blogger mparent said...

First you have to question what nothing means. The example of a shoebox doesn't work because there's air in there which is something. Similarly space itself doesn't work because it's not quite a perfect vacuum. There are still a small number of molecules in space zipping around. So it comes down to, is a perfect vacuum what we define by nothing? We already know that vacuums exist inside space itself so that would imply that a vacuum is something. The only place we have that has nothing in it, including vacuums, is outside the universe where it has yet to expand to. So the question really comes down to, is the space already there or does the universe create the space prior to expanding? If the space is already there, is it finite? If it's finite then that implies that the universe will hit a "wall" at some point and stop expanding.

11:06 AM  

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