I Don’t Have a Topic for My Research Paper, So I’m Writing about Nothing

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What is nothing? Though at first, the response may seem like little more than a play on words, the simple answer is this: Nothing is not. No word such as anything or everything can be added at the end of the statement to further clarify the crucial concept, which is non-existence: the dictionary definition of nothing. In actuality, though, although the denotation of "nothing" insists on absolute absence and void, in today’s society "nothing" is actually quite present, masquerading as something indeed.

Of course, there are concepts in existence that accurately represent our limited understanding of nothing. One such concept is zero. In a simple counting sense, when one, two, or eight hundred items could be present, but there aren’t any, there are zero. Zero items are present, and nothing is there.

Kept strictly in a counting sense, this works. Zero is non-existence. Yet, in the actual study of mathematics, one learns that zero may be many things, but never nothing at all. Zero is perhaps the most powerful number in all of mathematics, and its influence on the way we work with numbers is clear.

Multiply a number, any number, from the greatest to the small, from positive to negative infinity, by zero. Divide zero by any of these numbers. Zero absolves, absorbs, changes said number completely - it becomes zero. Surely, such a drastic effect cannot be the result of nothing.

Divide by zero. Or attempt to, anyway, and find it impossible, "undefined." A graphed function involving a division of zero will form unreachable vertical asymptotes that stretch to positive and negative infinity.

Zero, though, does have its weaknesses. Add zero, subtract zero, it’s all the same: no effect at all. The other numbers or variables invo...

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