Traversable Wormholes Can Exist, But They’re Not Very Useful For Space Travel, Physicists Say

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A new study from physicists at Harvard and Stanford says that wormholes can exist but they’re not very useful for humans to travel through. “It takes longer to get through these wormholes than to go directly, so they are not very useful for space travel,” said the author of the study, Daniel Jafferis. From the report: Despite his pessimism for pan-galactic travel, he said that finding a way to construct a wormhole through which light could travel was a boost in the quest to develop a theory of quantum gravity. The new theory was inspired when Jafferis began thinking about two black holes that were entangled on a quantum level, as formulated in the ER=EPR correspondence by Juan Maldacena from the Institute for Advanced Study and Lenny Susskind from Stanford. Although this means the direct connection between the black holes is shorter than the wormhole connection — and therefore the wormhole travel is not a shortcut — the theory gives new insights into quantum mechanics.

“From the outside perspective, travel through the wormhole is equivalent to quantum teleportation using entangled black holes,” Jafferis said. Jafferis based his theory on a setup first devised by Einstein and Rosen in 1935, consisting of a connection between two black holes (the term wormhole was coined in 1957). Because the wormhole is traversable, Jafferis said, it was a special case in which information could be extracted from a black hole. “It gives a causal probe of regions that would otherwise have been behind a horizon, a window to the experience of an observer inside a spacetime, that is accessible from the outside,” said Jafferis. The physicists presented their results at the 2019 American Physical Society April Meeting in Denver, Colorado.


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