The idea of finding a wormhole in our Solar System is the dream of many astronauts. Such structures could allow us to travel to other galaxies in just a few seconds, just like in the scenario for the Interstellar movie directed by Christopher Nolan. It was perfectly stipulated in the film that wormholes are not naturally occurring phenomena. Someone or something has to put it there for humans to use it. Perhaps an advanced extraterrestrial civilization or a deity might do it. Who knows?
Astrophysics acknowledges the existence of wormholes only as theoretical objects. They could also exist somewhere in space, but no astronomer or scientist has ever discovered one so far. Someone thought that it would be a good idea to simulate a wormhole in a lab.
Studying how wormholes work using quantum computing
Universe Today reveals the new world premiere that scientists can boast about: a quantum computing experiment targeted at the studying of how wormholes work. It’s important to keep in mind that an actual wormhole hasn’t been created. The new experiment only allows the probing of connections between quantum physics and how wormholes are presented in theory.
Maria Spiropulu, who is the physics Shang-Yi Ch’en Professor at Caltech, explained in a news release:
We found a quantum system that exhibits key properties of a gravitational wormhole yet is sufficiently small to implement on today’s quantum hardware,
This work constitutes a step toward a larger program of testing quantum gravity physics using a quantum computer. It does not substitute for direct probes of quantum gravity in the same way as other planned experiments that might probe quantum gravity effects in the future using quantum sensing, but it does offer a powerful testbed to exercise ideas of quantum gravity.
Daniel Jafferis of Harvard University, along with Alexander Zlokapa (BS ’21), who’s a former undergraduate student at Caltech, are the first authors of the new study.
In a nutshell, wormholes are shortcuts through spacetime. Instead of traveling from one galaxy to another the “predictable” way, meaning by following a relatively straight path, using a wormhole, if you somehow gain access to one, will allow you to take a shortcut through both space and time. To understand the concept in a better way, you can imagine yourself on a sheet of paper. If you want to travel from point A to point B on that paper, you must take the classical way of choosing a straight line. But similarly to how a wormhole would work, you can also bend the paper so that the two points, A and B, will automatically be a lot closer to one another. Now you can follow a much shorter path to reach point B from point A. Now you may try to imagine the Universe as a sheet of paper to get the full idea of how wormholes are supposed to work.
Albert Einstein confirmed almost a century ago that the concept of a wormhole is in perfect accordance with his famous general theory of relativity. There’s no wonder why wormholes are also called ‘Einstein-Rosen bridges.’ Both Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen confirmed their hypothetical existence. For those unaware, Rosen was an American-Israeli physicist, and one of his major points of interest was the structure of the hydrogen atom.
Although the existence of wormholes hasn’t been proven yet, as no such object was ever seen in the Universe so far, these structures should be able to connect distances as long as billions of light-years or even very short distances such as a few meters.
The new study was published in Nature.