Continuing on with the long forgotten one-post series of things you didn’t know about stuff, we’ll go a bit existential today!
So there’s a lot of… nothing, around us. I know it sounds weird, but hang on for a second. For starters, the largest part of the universe is a giant vacuum. Or, to be more precise, 74% of the universe is nothing. No matter, just nothing. Okay, granted, most scientists will tell you there’s dark energy there, but that’s something way outside of this post. Of the remaining 26%, 22% is dark matter, and only 4% is the kind of matter we can see, smell or taste. You know, the kind of stuff we call “something”.
But lets stay a little closer to home here. For example, the tip of your finger that’s currently laying on the keyboard, slowly stroking the scroll wheel on your mouse, or digging for gold up in your nose.
Stuff is made out of molecules. But ho there, those aren’t packed together in a compact bundle! In fact, the opposite is usually true, there’s quite the distance between them! The same goes for the atoms molecules are made out of, and, in turn, the different components of atoms as well.
And then to think the amount of nothing there is will always be expanding. As the universe expands, its contents are “expanded” as well. What this means is that, slowly but surely, the distances between the galaxies, solar systems and planets will increase. I think it’s safe to say the same will be true for all the particles everything’s made out of, but I’m not too sure.
But the idea of nothing sounds kind of stupid, doesn’t it? If you think there should always be something, then you’re right. That’s exactly what happens to be the case! In nothingness, so-called virtual particles pop in and out of existence. Where do they come from? No idea. Why do they disappear so soon? They come in pairs of particles and anti-particles, so they quickly cancel each other out, basically annihilating each other.
Don’t pin me down on all that, I’m no quantum physicist, but I hope you learned something anyway!