Friday, June 18, 2021

0 Isn't a Number, Part 2

All numbers have precision. 0 is 0 ± 0.0000001 or something. The thing after ± is itself never zero. In the case of 0, the precision in relative terms is always [∞]%. The number is perfectly dominated by its uncertainty.

This is probably why the vacuum isn't empty. 0 particles != 0 particles.*

If the possibility of measurement exists at all, there is something there to be measured. You can only have 0 if numbers don't make sense at all in that context - if the question itself is wrong.

*P.S. When you think true things, the world has a tendency to make sense. When you think false things, it is hard to think of an example.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I told my mother, an avid cook, that cooking isn't rocket science; you never need more than one digit of precision because changing one ingredient by ±10% is unlikely to have a noticeable effect on the final product. She said, "When collecting egg white to whip into meringue, you must let through exactly zero yolk." To which I replied, "Zero's a one-digit number!"

Zero is a number, just not a number that can be measured. One can say, "The universe contains zero magnetic monopoles" or "The probability of a proton decaying is zero", and these assertions might be true, but they cannot be proven true by measurement alone.