It’s a staple of science fiction, it’s tiny and it’s not in physical space, but researchers say it has, theoretically, created a wormhole.
Researchers have reported that they have simulated two tiny black holes on a quantum computer and sent a message between them through a tunnel through space-time.
Based on teleported quantum information, they reported that a traversable wormhole appeared, but no distortion of space and time was physically created in the experiment, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
A wormhole—a rupture in space and time—is thought of as a bridge between two distant regions of the universe. Scientists refer to them as Einstein-Rosen bridges, after the two physicists Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.
“It looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck. So what we can say at this point is – based on the properties we’re seeing, it looks like a wormhole,” said the physicist at Fermilab, the US particle physics and accelerator laboratory. said co-author Joseph Lyken.
Caltech physicist Maria Spirobulu, a co-author of the research, described it as having the characteristics of a “baby wormhole” and now hopes to create “adult wormholes and toddler wormholes gradually.” Wormhole dynamics were observed in 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, told the New York Times The test is based on a modeling that can be read using a pencil and paper.
“I’d say it doesn’t teach us anything about quantum gravity that we don’t already know,” Harlow wrote. “On the other hand, I think it’s exciting as a technical achievement, because if we can’t do this (and we haven’t been able to so far), then simulating the really interesting theories of quantum gravity is definitely off the table.”
The study authors themselves have made it clear that scientists are a long way from sending humans or other species through such a portal.
“I will tell you that empirically, for me, it is very, very far. People come up to me and say, ‘Can you put your dog in a wormhole?’ So, no,” Spiropulu told reporters during a video conference. “… That’s a big leap.”
Liken added: “There is a difference between what is possible in principle and what is actually possible.
“So don’t hold your breath about sending your dog through a wormhole. But you have to start somewhere. And I think it’s exciting that we were able to get our hands on this.”
Such wormholes are consistent with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which focuses on gravity as 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,” Licken said. “But at the end of the day, we’re in experimental science, and we’ve been struggling for a very long time to find a way to explore these ideas in the lab. And it’s really exciting. It’s not just, ‘Well, wormholes are cool. It’s about really looking at the most fundamental problems of our universe in a lab setting.’ A way.”