You can get something out of Nothing-Physics.

“One creates from nothing. If you try to create from something you’re just changing something. So in order to create something you first have to be able to create nothing.” –Werner Erhard

One of the oldest adages in existence is you can’t get something for nothing, as over a million websites will tell you, including not-so-subtly, cartoonstock. hsc4364l.jpeg

And, most often when people bring this up to me, it’s in an attempt to prove the existence of God — and the insufficiency of the Big Bang — by pointing to the Universe.


(Image credit: chaospet.)

Well, let’s take this question as seriously as our knowledge allows us to. (And by that, I mean physically, rather than philosophically or theologically.) In physics, can you get something for nothing? And if so, what can you and can’t you get?

In many ways, yes, you can. In fact, in many ways, getting something when you have nothing is unavoidable! (Although you can’t necessarily get anything you want.)

For example, take a box and empty it, so that all you’ve got is some totally empty space, like above. An ideal, perfect, empty vacuum. Now, what’s in that box?


Did you guess nothing? Well, it turns out that empty space isn’t so empty.

One of the consequences of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle — that you can’t know a quantum state‘s energy exactly for a finite duration of time — means that when you’re talking about very short time intervals, there are large uncertainties in the energy of a system. Over short enough timescales, the energies are large enough that particle-antiparticle pairs wink in-and-out of existence all the time!


“That’s crazy talk,” you say. Prove it!

And they did.


Take two identical, uncharged, parallel metal plates, and put them close to one another. The vacuum fluctuations in between the plates cause there to be a pressure pushing the plates together. This isn’t the gravitational force or an electromagnetic force, but a force due to empty space itself.

File:Casimir plates bubbles.pngThis experiment — first done in 1948 but repeated many times (under many conditions) — was a rousing success, and has many immediate, far-reaching and fantastic consequences.


Researchers have uncovered a fundamental link between the two defining properties of quantum physics. The result is being heralded as a dramatic breakthrough in our basic understanding of quantum mechanics and provides new clues to researchers seeking to understand the foundations of quantum theory. The result addresses the question of why quantum behaviour is as weird as it is — but no weirder.



Published by Ramanis blog

Retired Senior Management Professional. Lectures on Indian Philosophy,Hinduism, Comparative Religions. Researching Philosophy, Religion. Free lance Writer.Blogger,Tedex Speaker

2 thoughts on “You can get something out of Nothing-Physics.

  1. If, like you stated, “you can get something from nothing” (New information), can the physics be turned around & “make something into nothing” (Eliminate the information)?

    Thank you
    T. Johnson


    1. I have been waiting for a comment like this.
      I have reproduced the gist of the article without my comment, awaiting some readers to question what has been stated in the article.
      The answer to your question is”NO’.just as the statement that’ ‘you can get something out of nothing’ is incorrect.
      The author of the article cautiously excludes Philosophy as though it is untouchable and speaks of knowledge within our limits.
      When you remove the attributes of any thing, you may imagine you are left with something.
      The fact is you are not aware of something that is there which may not be in the realms of your ‘Knowing’ right now.
      Again when you remove the attributes the attributes themselves form an Entity.
      What about these?
      The concept of Nothing is something which one can not comprehend.
      Is it the absence properties altogether?
      In the absence of properties you can not have an reference for comprehension.
      For details one may Adi Sankaracharya’s Advaita system of indian Philosophy.


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