MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Can objects be teleported with the use of a wormhole?

Date: Fri May 18 17:49:15 2012
Posted By: Phillip Henry, Staff, Physics, Lockheed Martin & Florida Tech
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 1337039859.As

Thank you for your questions. First, is a wormhole possible? Wormholes can theoretically exist. While wormholes may seem more science fiction than science, the idea of a wormhole originated with Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen over 75 years ago, when they realized that Einstein's theory of relativity would also permit "bridges" from one location to another location in warped space-time -- a short-cut between two locations in our universe.

However, the Einstein-Rosen bridge had its problem. Matter entering such a construct would flinging the poor traveler into a singularity of near infinite gravity. However, scientists found such extreme astrophysics challenging, a way to explore the frontier. In the mid-80s, Kip Thorne was asked by Carl Sagan to devise a hypothetical traversable wormhole. Thorne and his collaborators devised a remarkably simple construct which would theoretically permit a stable, traversable wormhole. While unlikely and requiring "astronomical" power to create, it is at least theoretically possible. So not only are wormholes theoretically possible, they are also capabible of being theoretically transversed - taking a short-cut across the universe. However I must emphasize, this is theory. No one has seen a wormhole or even demonstrated any ability to make one. This is still the realm of theoretical physics.

So wormholes can be transversed. But what about teleportation? Ever since the days of the original Star Trek series, teleportation has had a fascination with many people -- scientific and non-scientific alike. Quite frankly, I had been very skeptical. However recent advances in "quantum teleportation" have grayed the line between science fiction and science fact. Will we see a Star Trek-like teleport device? I seriously doubt it.

Maybe part of a quantum computer. But if there is one rule of science to hold near and dear to your heart, it is to be very, very wary of the word "never".

I hope I answered your questions and thank you for the interview.

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