WASHINGTON: In the realm of science fiction — think movies and television like “Interstellar” and “Star Trek” — wormholes in the cosmos serve as portals through space and time for spacecraft to traverse unimaginable distances with ease. If only it were that simple.
Scientists have long sought a deeper understanding of wormholes and now they seem to be making progress. Researchers announced Wednesday that they created two tiny simulated black holes — those extraordinarily dense celestial objects with gravity so strong that not even light can escape — in a quantum computer and transmitted a message between them through a tunnel in space-time
It was a “wormhole for babies,” according to Caltech physicist Maria Spiropulu, co-author of the research published in the journal Nature. But scientists are a long way from being able to send humans or other living things through such a portal, she said.
“Experimental, for me, I’ll tell you it’s very, very far. People come up to me and ask, ‘Can you put your dog in the wormhole?’ So no,” Spiropulu told reporters during a video briefing. “… That’s a huge leap.”
“There is a difference between something that is possible in principle and possible in reality,” added physicist and study co-author Joseph Lykken of Fermilab, the US particle physics laboratory and accelerator. “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 can get our hands on it.”
Researchers observed wormhole dynamics on a quantum device from Alphabet Google called the Sycamore quantum processor.
A wormhole – a rift in space and time – is considered a bridge between two distant regions of the universe. Scientists call them Einstein-Rosen bridges after the two physicists who described them – Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.
Such wormholes are consistent with EinsteinHis 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.
Spiropulu said the researchers have discovered a quantum system that exhibits key properties of a gravitational wormhole but is small enough to be implemented on existing quantum hardware.
“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 we’re looking at, looks like a wormhole.” Lykken said.
The researchers said no space-time rift was created in physical space in the experiment, although a traversable wormhole appeared to have appeared based on quantum information teleported using quantum codes on the quantum processor.
“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 we’ve been struggling for a very long time now to find a way to explore these ideas in the lab. And that’s what’s interesting about this. It’s not just “Well.” , wormholes are cool.’ This is a way of looking at these fundamental problems of our universe in a laboratory setting.”