Scientists simulate ‘baby’ wormhole without rupturing space and time | Space
It’s 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 announced that they simulated two miniature black holes in a quantum computer and transmitted a message between them through what appeared to be a tunnel in space-time.
They said that a transient wormhole appeared based on teleported quantum information, but that the experiment did not physically create a rift in space and time, according to a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
A wormhole – a rift in space and time – is considered a bridge between two distant regions of space. Scientists call them Einstein-Rosen bridges after the two physicists who described them: Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.
“Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. So that’s what we can say at this point – that we have something that, in terms of the properties that we’re looking at, looks like a wormhole,” said physicist and study co-author Joseph Lykken of Fermilab, the US particle physics laboratory and accelerator.
Caltech physicist Maria Spiropulu, a co-author of the research, described it as having the characteristics of a “baby wormhole,” and now hopes to make “adult wormholes and small wormholes step by step.” The dynamics of the wormhole were observed on a quantum device at Google called the Sycamore Quantum Processor.
Experts who were not involved in the experiment cautioned that it is important to note that a physical wormhole has not actually been created, but noted future possibilities.
Daniel Harlow, a physicist at MIT, he told the New York Times the experiment was based on modeling that was so simple that it could be studied just as well with pen and paper.
“I would argue that this doesn’t teach us anything about quantum gravity that we didn’t already know,” Harlow wrote. “On the other hand, I think it’s exciting as a technical achievement, because if we can’t even do that (and so far we haven’t), then simulating the more interesting theories of quantum gravity would certainly be off the table.”
The authors of the study themselves made it clear that scientists are still far from being able to send people or other living beings through such a portal.
“Experimentally, for me, I’ll tell you it’s very, very far. People come up to me and ask me, ‘Can you put your dog in a wormhole?’ So no,” Spiropoulou told reporters during a video briefing. “… That’s a huge jump.”
Lykken added: “There is a difference between something being possible in principle and being possible in reality.
“So don’t hold your breath to send your dog through the wormhole. But you have to start somewhere. And I think to me it’s just exciting that we’re even able to get our hands on this.”
Such wormholes are consistent with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which focuses on gravity, one of the fundamental forces in the universe. The term “wormhole” was coined by physicist John Wheeler in the 1950s.
“These ideas have been around for a long time, and they’re very powerful ideas,” Lykken said. “But at the end of the day, we’re in experimental science, and now we’ve been struggling for a very long time to find a way to explore these ideas in the lab.” And that’s what’s really exciting about this. It’s not just, ‘Well, wormholes are cool.’ This is a way to actually look at these very fundamental problems of our universe in a laboratory setting.”
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