The simple idea of nothing, a concept that even toddlers can understand, proved surprisingly difficult for the scientists to pin down, with some of them questioning whether such a thing as nothing exists at all.
The first, most basic idea of nothing — empty space with nothing in it — was quickly agreed not to benothing. In our universe, even a dark, empty void of space, absent of all particles, is still something.
"It has a topology, it has a shape, it's a physical object," philosopher Jim Holt said during the museum's annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, which this year was focused on the topic of "The Existence of Nothing."
As moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum's Hayden Planetarium, said, "If laws of physics still apply, the laws of physics are not nothing." [Endless Void or Big Crunch: How Will the Universe End?]