Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Even Nothing is Something

I've been reading Brian Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos lately (for those of you who don't know, I'm sort of a closet physics nut... although why I'd be in the closet about that when I openly admit to playing Dungeons and Dragons every week is beyond me). It's a pretty good book.. not the best layman's physics book I've ever read (I liked his earlier Elegant Universe better so far), but good nonetheless.

I just finished a chapter that discussed the theories behind the Higgs Field, and I gotta say that this is one of those things that blows my mind every time I hear about it. The basic idea is that the "vacuum" of space (the nothingness, the void, whatever) actually consists of a ridiculously small nonzero value spread throughout the entirety of space. It's called the Higgs ocean.

They won't be able to experimentally prove/disprove this theory until 2007... the particles that would make up these Higgs fields are too small to be detected through currently available means, but the new atom smasher currently under construction in Geneva will eventually be powerful enough to reach speeds where they should be found.

Could it be that the concept of nothing... really doesn't mean anything?

After all: one is greater than zero, even for very small values of one.

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