Shortcuts in Space-Time

Beth and I watched a documentary called How William Shatner Changed the World, hosted by Shatner and about how scientists and inventors were inspired by Star Trek. Honestly, I had trouble staying awake through the whole thing, but not because it was boring. I was just tired. Anyway, one of the subjects discussed was that of the wormhole, a commonly used means of travel in Trek series after the original one. I’ve always thought of them more as wishful thinking than anything else. After all, what could be more convenient than instantaneous transportation, especially through the vastness of space? There is some actual science behind them, though, with the basic idea being that, since mass curves space and time, it would theoretically be possible to bypass the resulting curve.

The documentary demonstrated it by showing cheese sticking together at the top of a folded mini-pizza, which immediately reminded me of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and its description of five-dimensional travel being like folding a piece of string so you don’t have to travel along the whole thing. The book used the term “tesseract” to describe this, when as far as I can tell a tesseract is actually a hypothetical cube extended into the fourth dimension, but the idea seems otherwise accurate.

Anyway, the more proper name for a wormhole is an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, named after the scientists who proposed its existence. Even if wormholes do exist, it looks like you would need something called exotic matter to get them to stay open for more than an instant. So the idea of using them like warp zones in a video game is highly unlikely.

Such a thing would certainly come in handy, though.

This entry was posted in Astronomy, Science, Star Trek and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Shortcuts in Space-Time

  1. *ahem* in which I blatantly leave a link to the post in which I discuss the connections between wormholes and wrinkles in time:

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