Scientists simulate ‘baby’ wormhole without tearing up space and time | Room

Scientists simulate ‘baby’ wormhole without tearing up space and time | Room

It’s a mainstay of science fiction, it’s tiny, and it doesn’t exist in physical space, but researchers say they’ve created what’s theoretically a wormhole.

Researchers announced that they simulated two tiny black holes in a quantum computer and sent a message between them through what amounted to a tunnel in space-time.

They said that based on the teleported quantum information, a traversable wormhole appeared to have formed, but no physical break in space and time had been created in the experiment, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

A wormhole – a rift in space and time – is considered a bridge between two remote regions of the universe. Scientists call them Einstein-Rosen bridges after the two physicists who described them: Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.

“It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck. So that’s what we can say right now — that we have something that in terms of the properties that we’re looking at, it looks like a wormhole,” said physicist and co-author Joseph Lykken of Fermilab, the US Laboratory of Particle Physics and accelerator.

Caltech physicist Maria Spiropulu, a co-author of the study, described it as having the characteristics of a “baby wormhole,” and now hopes to make “adult wormholes and toddler wormholes” step by step. The dynamics of the wormhole was observed on a quantum device at Google, the Sycamore quantum processor.

Experts not involved in the experiment cautioned that it was important to note that a physical wormhole had not actually been created, but that there were future possibilities.

Daniel Harlow, a physicist at MIT, told the New York Times the experiment was based on modeling so simple that it might as well have been studied with pencil and paper.

“I would say 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 an engineering feat because if we can’t even do this (and we couldn’t until now), then simulating more interesting quantum gravity theories would definitely 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 away. People come up to me and they ask me, “Can you put your dog in the wormhole?” So no,” Spiropulu told reporters during a video briefing. “…That’s a huge leap.”

Lykken adds: “There is a difference between something that is possible in principle and what is actually possible.

So don’t hold your breath about sending your dog through the wormhole. But you have to start somewhere. And I think it’s just exciting that we can get our hands on this at all.”

Such wormholes are consistent with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which focuses on gravity, one of the fundamental forces in the universe. The term “wormhole” was coined in the 1950s by physicist John Wheeler.

“These ideas have been around for a long time and they are very powerful ideas,” Lykken said. “But at the end of the day, we’re in experimental science and we’ve been struggling for a long time now to find a way to explore these ideas in the lab. And that’s what’s so 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.”

With Reuters



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