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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Nothing  
  A super-hard substance created by carefully removing material.  

... if, in these special cases, the substance becomes stronger when a small part of it is removed, it would seem logical to assume that if still more were removed, the substance would be stronger still. And carried to its logical conclusion, it would seem reasonable to hypothesize that by removing more and more material, the resulting substance would become stronger and stronger until at last we would produce a substance composed of nothing at all - which would be indestructible!

...

...the little weapon went off with a short, explosive hiss. The little needle it threw disintegrated in midair. "There's a sheet of just plain Nothing between us and it's impenetrable."

Still holding his weapon, Mr. Brown rose and backed away - and brought up sharply against some Nothing behind him...

From It was Nothing - Really!, by Theodore Sturgeon.
Published by Knight in 1969
Additional resources -

Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @nyrath) at Project Rho for contributing this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from It was Nothing - Really!
  More Ideas and Technology by Theodore Sturgeon
  Tech news articles related to It was Nothing - Really!
  Tech news articles related to works by Theodore Sturgeon

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