A mainstay of science fiction, it’s tiny and doesn’t exist in physical space, but researchers say they’ve created what is theoretically a wormhole.
Researchers announce that they have simulated two mini black holes in a quantum computer and transmitted a message between them through what looks like a tunnel in space-time.
They said that based on quantum information teleported, a traversable wormhole appeared, but no rips in space and time were created in the experiment, according to the study published in Nature on Wednesday.
A wormhole – a rip in space and time – is a bridge between two distant regions of the universe. Scientists refer to them as the Einstein-Rosen bridges after the physicists who described them: Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.
“It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it squawks like a duck. That’s what we can say at this point — that we have something that in terms of the properties we’re looking at, it looks like a wormhole,” said physicist and study co-author Joseph Leiken of Fermilab, Physics American particle and accelerator lab.
Caltech physicist Maria Spiropoulou, a co-author on the paper, described the research as having the properties of a “mini wormhole,” and now hopes to make “adult wormholes and little baby wormholes step by step.” The wormhole dynamics were observed on a quantum device at Google called the Sycamore Quantum Processor.
Experts not involved in the experiment cautioned that it’s important to note that the wormhole was not actually created, but they did note future possibilities.
Daniel Harlow, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he told the New York Times The experiment was based on modeling that was so simple that it could have been studied with a pencil and paper.
“I would say this teaches us nothing about quantum gravity that we didn’t already know,” Harlow wrote. “On the one hand, I think it’s exciting as a technical achievement, because if we can’t do it (and we haven’t yet), then simulating more interesting quantum gravity theories will definitely be off the table.”
The study authors themselves explain that scientists are still a long way from being able to send people or other organisms through this portal.
“Experimentally, for me, I’ll tell you it’s very, very far. People come up to me and ask, ‘Can you put your dog in a wormhole?’ So, no,” Spiropolo told reporters during a video briefing. “…This is a huge leap.”
“There is a difference between something being possible in principle and possible in practice,” said Lyken.
“So don’t hold your breath about sending your dog through a wormhole. You’ve got to start somewhere. And I think it’s exciting to me that we’re able to get our hands on this at all.”
These wormholes are consistent with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which focuses on gravity, one of the fundamental forces in the universe. Physicist John Wheeler coined the term “wormhole” in the 1950s.
“These ideas have been around for a long time and they are very powerful ideas,” Laiken said. “But ultimately, we’re in experimental science, and we’ve been struggling now for a very long time with a way to explore these ideas in the lab. And that’s what’s really exciting about this. It’s not just, ‘Okay, wormholes are cool.’ This is a way of actually looking at These are very basic problems of being in a laboratory environment.”
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