Wormholes are NOT shortcuts through space-time, scientists now say: Study claims traveling in one of the portals would take longer than other routes
- New research posits that wormholes do exist but aren’t great forms of transit
- Previously, the wormholes were thought to be jumps between time and space
- Researchers say entangled black holes in space are equivalent to wormholes
- The study also helps further science on quantum gravity and other conundrums
For fans of time-bending science fiction, there is good new and there is bad news, according to new research.
The good news is that wormholes, famously theorized and depicted throughout history as being shortcuts between time and space, may indeed exist.
The bad news, however, is that they are likely not viable forms of instantaneous transit.
‘It takes longer to get through these wormholes than to go directly, so they are not very useful for space travel,’ said the author of a new study from Harvard University, Daniel Jafferis.
Science fiction writers may have to re-think their use of black for instantaneous travel after new research.
Wormholes have long been proffered by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity but have yet to be observed by scientists.
Jafferis’ statements on wormholes come from analyzing a hypothetical involving two black holes that are entangled on a quantum level called the ER=EPR, a correspondence created by joining two of Einstein’s theories.
This relationship was posited in 2013 by Juan Maldacena from the Institute for Advanced Study and Lenny Susskind from Stanford.
According to Jafferis’ conclusions — which are set to be presented later this month at a Meeting of the American Physical Society — the link between the two entangled black holes which exist in space is actually shorter than the wormhole connection.
‘From the outside perspective, travel through the wormhole is equivalent to quantum teleportation using entangled black holes,’ Jafferis said.
While the study may rule out the efficacy of traveling via wormholes, according to researchers, the results represent a boon for theories involving quantum physics.
For one, the research my shed light on how light can travel through a wormhole and help establish a unifying view on quantum gravity — a sect of theoretical physics by which gravity can be described through quantum mechanics.
While a new study may rule out some theories about wormholes, it has also enriched other thought surrounding quantum mechanics.
Secondly, according to Jafferis, the work could could help to solve what is known as the black hole information paradox which pits quantum mechanics against Einstein’s general relativity.
Broadly, the theory postulates about what happens to matter once it’s sucked into a black holes — does it disappear or is it deposited somewhere unknown?
‘I think [the research] will teach us deep things about the gauge/gravity correspondence, quantum gravity, and even perhaps a new way to formulate mechanics,’ Jafferis said
WHAT IS QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT?
In quantum physics, entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed by one affects the behaviour of the other, even if they are separated by huge distances.
This means if you measure, ‘up’ for the spin of one photon from an entangled pair, the spin of the other, measured an instant later, will be ‘down’ – even if the two are on opposite sides of the world.
Entanglement takes place when a part of particles interact physically.
In quantum physics, entangled particles remain connected so that actions performed by one affects the behaviour of the other, even if they are separated by huge distances (artist’s impression)
For instance, a laser beam fired through a certain type of crystal can cause individual light particles to be split into pairs of entangled photons.
The theory that so riled Einstein is also referred to as ‘spooky action at a distance’.
Einstein wasn’t happy with theory, because it suggested that information could travel faster than light.