Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Traversable Wormholes And Time Machines May Not Be Usable

According to a new paper by researchers Roman Buniy and Stephen Hsu, traversable wormholes and time machines cannot be both stable and predictable. Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen published the first scientific paper on wormholes (also called Einstein-Rosen bridges) in 1935, describing how it might be possible for two distant regions of space-time to be connected through a tunnel-like spatial shortcut.

The basic idea of a wormhole derives from a simple analogy. If the universe is like the skin of an apple (from a topological viewpoint), a worm trying to crawl to diametrically opposite points could save time by boring through the apple, rather than staying on the surface. Another version of this kind of analogy uses the idea that you can bring two distant points on a sheet of paper together - by folding the paper.


(Wormhole diagram)

The resulting "wormhole" consists of two or more "mouths" (or holes in the surface) connected to a "throat" which provides the passage.

A traversable wormhole could be used for either travel from one point to another, or from one time to another. Unfortunately, according to the paper, quantum effects are necessary for the construction of stable traversable wormholes. This would cause the wormhole to behave unpredictably; you might not know where (or when) you would come out. Wormholes and time machines cannot be both predictable and stable.

"We aren't saying you can't build a wormhole. But the ones you would like to build - the predictable ones where you can say Mr Spock will land in New York at 2pm on this day - those look like they will fall apart," Dr Hsu said.
(From Wormholes no use for space travel)

This is very bad news for science fiction fans. Wormholes have been used by generations of sf writers to enable ships to travel between stars in the time it takes to turn a page. In his 1934 story Xandulu, Jack Williamson writes "I can fold space as readily as you double a sheet of paper. I can reach through hyperspace where distance means nothing."

In his 1939 novel Gray Lensman, E.E. "Doc" Smith refers to "Dirac Holes" and "hyperspatial tubes" that can be used instead of being forced to traverse normal space. By the time Isaac Asimov's Foundation series debuted in 1950, hyperspace travel was commonplace.

What would it be like to step through a wormhole? Frank Herbert described a jumpdoor's "vortal tube" in this way:

The jumpdoor began to hum with its aura of terrifying energies. The door's vortal tube snapped open. McKie tensed himself for the syrupy resistance to jumpdoor passage, stepped through the tube. It was like swimming in air became molasses - perfectly normal-appearing air. But molasses.
(Read more about the vortal tube.)


(If you could see a wormhole)

Read more at Semi-classical wormholes and time machines are unstable (pdf) and the news story Wormholes no use for space travel.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/24/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 15 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.' - Dom Passante, 1939.

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1961.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.'

TeslaBot Uber Driver (2024) And The Automatic Motorist (1911)
'Robots have worse problems than anybody'

DiffuseBot Uses Generative AI To Invent New Soft Robots
'It embodies several small-scale multiple stampers, apparently for dealing with sheet metal.'

Philips Smart Palm Recognition Smart Deadbolt
'A palm lock must be keyed to one individual's hand shape...'

BMind Smart Mirror from Baracoda
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who has the greatest wellness of all?

Ballie Your AI Robot Companion From Samsung
Projects your content anywhere you like.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.