A team of scientists from several US research centers is making headlines around the world for having managed to send a message through a wormhole. Well, an artificial wormhole, but one would have to start somewhere.
What they have done inevitably leads us to think about cinema. And it is that this structure, whose existence in the universe has been described, but it has not been possible to demonstrate, is the protagonist of a multitude of fictional titles, from interstellar until the saga of Thorgoing through detective films, such as déjà vor.
Thanks to what these scientists have done, moreover, it has been possible to demonstrate once again that, although they always seem to be at odds, the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics could indeed have some points of convergence after all. Therefore, although this is only a beginning or, as its authors have described it, a baby wormholetheir study may still bring great findings to light.
What is a wormhole?
Wormholes were first described by physicists Albert Einstein and Nathan RosenHence, they were initially named as Einstein-Rosen bridges.
According to them, it would be bridges in space-timeor, that would allow establishing a shortcut between two points far from the universe. If we visualize space-time as a sheet of paper with several folds, these bridges would be a hole that goes through the sheet from top to bottom. In this way, to move we would not have to go through all its folds.
Since it was first described, it has been postulated that the most likely way a wormhole could originate in the universe would be by union of two black holes. Nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light. However, if two are joined, as if they were two funnels joined at their narrowest parts to give rise to a kind of diabolo, the situation would be different. In that case, perhaps a message could be passed from one end to the other.
Since this is impossible to do directly in-universe, it has been tried. simulate wormholes with computers. In fact, in 2019, an investigation was carried out in which, for the first time, it was possible to pass a message through a simulation of a wormhole.
It turned out that there were two problems. On the one hand, that they could only pass a few bits of information. And, on the other, that the transfer of the message would alter the black holes that form the bridge. Thus, one would increase its mass and the other would decrease it. Even so, it was a good start, with which this time it has gone further.
The authors of the work that has just been published in Nature have carried out a quantum simulation with a processor google sycamore. This is a processor so efficient that, according to Google, it can perform in 200 seconds the task that a next-generation supercomputer would perform in 10,000 years. There is no doubt that it has been an essential tool, therefore.
With it, they have been able to carry out the holographic equivalent of the union of two black holes as if it were a quantum entanglement. This is one of the basic mechanisms of quantum mechanics, whereby a set of entangled particles cannot be defined as individual particles with defined states, but rather as a system with a single wave function.
Therefore, they have used the quantum mechanics to describe a phenomenon that is based on the general theory of relativity. The big, described by the small: one of the great dilemmas of physics.
That alone is already a great milestone. However, even more so is the fact that they managed to pass a message of just a few bits through the generated black hole. And no need to break space-time or alter the black holes that form it. At the moment it has been a very small step, we cannot think about traveling in time or making excursions to other worlds. Although it is a good start, we still leave that to the Science fiction.
Wormholes in the movies
Although they are not necessarily described as wormholes, the cinema has been using them for years to travel through time or to other worlds. One of the best known cases is that of interstellar. To make this film, Christopher Nolan had the advice of the Nobel Prize Kip Thornewho used a wormhole as aid so that the protagonist could send a message to a specific moment in his young daughter’s past.
But there are also other examples. For example, in the saga of Thor, Earth meets Asgard through a rainbow, as described in the Nordic legends. However, scientist Jane Foster goes so far as to describe it as an Einstein-Rosen bridge. A wormhole, in effect.
And there are also artificial wormholes in the cinema. Although recreated with much more fiction than in real life. For example in Deja vuby Tony Scott, builds a bridge through spacetime to travel to four days before and keep under control the person responsible for a terrorist attack. In their case they send much more than a few bits, but that’s what movie magic is for.
What has been achieved now may seem less fascinating on the boat soon, but in reality it is much more so. Mainly because it’s true.