The other day I received a mysterious black envelope. On opening it I found it contained nothing. Literally.
So I immediately assumed I had dropped the contents and began searching. But after a few moments, I made a connection with an article about Absolute Zero that I had written for New Scientist editor Jeremy Webb earlier in the year. Jeremy told me that it was for a yet-to-be-published book they had tentatively entitled The New Scientist Book of Nothing. Since then I had heard nothing about the likely publication date, and I guess I still haven’t.
If this is publicity for the book (and I really know nothing about whether it is or isn’t) I feel sure it will be very popular. As the words in this article make clear, the concept of ‘nothing’ is fascinating but difficult to discuss. Even naming ‘nothing’ implies an existence when what we want to talk about is ‘absence’.
A page has recently appeared on the New Scientist website on the topic of ‘nothing’ and so it is plausible that this could be the first wave of publicity for the book. More intriguingly, it could be something more mysterious – I don’t know which would be more exciting!