In science fiction, wormholes in the cosmos serve as portals through spacetime through which spacecraft can easily travel unimaginable distances.
Scientists have long sought to better understand this phenomenon of the universe and announced on Wednesday that they had succeeded in creating two tiny black holes simulated on a quantum computer and transmitting a message between them through the equivalent of a tunnel in the space-time.
The feat was achieved through a “baby wormhole”, said Maria Spiropulu, a physicist at Caltech University, co-author of the research published in the journal Nature.
But humanity is still a long way from being able to send people or other living beings through portals like this, she said.
“Experimentally, for me, I’d say it’s far, far away. People come up to me and say, ‘Can you put your dog in the wormhole?’ So no,” Spiropulu joked when answering questions from reporters. “But it’s a big step forward.”
“There is a difference between something that is possible in theory and possible in reality,” added physicist and study co-author Joseph Lykken of Fermilab, the US laboratory for particle and accelerator physics.
“So you can sit back and wait to send your dog through a wormhole. But we have to start somewhere. And I think it’s just exciting that we can get our hands on it.”
The researchers observed the simulated wormhole dynamics in a Google quantum device called the Sycamore quantum processor.
A wormhole – a break in space and time – is a phenomenon that acts as a bridge between two distant regions of the universe. Scientists call them the Einstein-Rosen bridges, after the two physicists who described them – Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.
These wormholes are consistent with Einstein’s 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 found a quantum system that exhibits key properties of a gravitational wormhole, but was small enough to implement on existing quantum hardware.
“That’s what we can say at this point: we have something that, in terms of the properties we observe, looks like a wormhole,” Lykken said.
The researchers said no space and time rifts were created in physical space in the experiment, although a traversable wormhole appears to have arisen based on quantum information teleported to the experiment. using quantum codes in the quantum processor.
“These ideas have been around for a long time and they are very powerful ideas,” Lykken said.
“But at the end of the day, we’re in experimental science, and we’ve been struggling for a long time to find a way to explore these ideas in the lab. And that’s what’s really exciting. It’s not just, ‘Hey Well, wormholes are cool.” It’s a way to really look at these fundamental problems of our universe in a lab setting.”
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