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Aspiring science fiction writer

  1. Jun 19, 2004 #1
    I'm an aspiring science fiction writer and the type of science I would like to write is "hard sci-fi". That is, I want to create fantastic technologies that obey the laws of physics. I'm just trying to decide if teleportation is one of those things. Let's examine the two possibilities: quantum teleportation and matter/energy conversion.

    I read an article on the net about quantum physics and in one section, the author mentions about quantum teleportation. Here is a quote from the author:

    "Teleportation: As the probability wave suggests, you can get from Point A to Point C without necessarily passing through Point B. Small particles can jump from one location to another without actually moving through space between points, which is sometimes called a 'quantum leap'. In theory, this could be extended to larger particles."

    And here is the link:


    The aforementioned site is on quantum tunneling. Unfortunately, teleportation can only work for things at the microscopic level only, and not at the macroscopic stage. In the subatomic world, things are very fuzzy. The probability of a single electron tunneling even an inch is so improbable, that you may have to wait for the entire life of the universe and never see it happen anyway.

    The probability of TWO particles tunneling from the same place to the same place at the same time is even lower. Now, the probability of all of the matter in your body tunneling even a micrometer in the same direction at the same time is, again, so improbable, you'll never see it happen. Its more probably that your head will tunnel a few feet away from the rest of your body. Can you imagine how morbidly amusing life would be if this weren't so improbable?

    To make this even worse, we have no control over this. In fact, we can't even predict when or how it will happen. Its not just an engineering nightmare, its a line in the rule book that the universe seems to adhere to. I guess that means we can scratch off quantum tunneling as a good candidate for teleporting people.

    1) Thoughts anyone?

    Einstein has stated in his equations that matter and energy are interconvertible. An experiment at Stanford University was accomplished at S.L.A.C. (short for Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). Michael Pidwirny, the guy who wrote it claimed that it might one day be a useful means of teleportation like in Star Trek. Here is a direct quote from him:

    "In 1998 researchers at Stanford University's Linear Accelerator Center successfully converted energy into matter. This feat was accomplished by using lasers and incredibly strong electromagnetic fields to change ordinary light into matter. The results of this experiment may allow for the development of variety of technological gadgets. One such development could be matter/energy transporters or food replicators that are commonly seen in some of our favorite science fiction programs."

    Here is the website:


    Here are some links to SLAC's statements released to various publications concerning the experiment:



    Personally, I don't think that there will ever be a conventional use for converting energy into matter because of the amount of energy contained in one human being. Think about it: if one human can produce thousands of hiroshimas bombs, then you would need thousands of atom bombs worth of energy to create a turkey sandwich. That just doesn't seem practical to me. If that amount of energy were to be released when turning a man into energy, well let's just say there wouldn't be much left of anything for a few thousand miles! In any conversion of matter, some energy is inevitably lost. In addition, such conversions of particles to energy are called annihilations, that is, they are like explosions: the explosive material is completely destroyed and no memory of its original form remains.

    Now imagine for the sake of arugment that there was a way around the second law of theromodynamics. Teleportation could be accomplish by converting a person into energy and you had the technology to reverse the process. In addition, you send the information along with the energy.

    The question is, would the person survive the procedure, or would the individual cease to exist and be replaced with a replica, who was literally born into existence once the energy was reconverted back into matter with the information?

    In my view, when your body is destroy, you die. End of story. What comes out of the teleporter is an exact copy, with all your memories etc, and no knowledge that it isn't you, but it isn't. No one would ever notice the problem, so it only affects you when it happens. Unless, if you believe in souls, there are "conservation of souls" problems to deal with - does the same soul follow the body around? While in an energy state, there is no consciousness, no heart to beat, hence the person who first underwent this form of teleportation has cease to exist and replaced with a replica.

    2) What does everybody else thinks? (Note: I know this question sounds a bit philosophical but I'd be very interested in everyones' opinion anyway.)

    There is another problem with the matter/energy conversion teleporter. The thing that always bothered me about this method of teleportation is that once a crew member is converted into energy, that energy is something akin to plasma. Meaning that that energy has to go somewhere. And the only way to get rid of it is to blast a hole in the ceiling for all the energy to escape before it destroys everyone on the ship! When Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry created the transporter, he did so because he couldn't afford on his television budget to land a huge starship or shuttlecraft on a planet every week. So, the transporter was born.

    In addition, he also invented Subspace, where once the crew member is converted into energy, it is sent through subspace, exits at it's appointed destination and the process is reversed. But in real life Subspace does not exist. That being said, if you convert a person into energy and you send it to its destination such as a building, the transmitted energy would not only punch a hole through the ceiling, it would also destroy the house and everything surrounding it. Therefore, I think it would be better to convert a person into a radio signal, that way it can pass through barriers like walls and ceilings without destroying them.

    3) Any thoughts?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2004 #2
    REAL Teleportation at ANU


    Your thoughts on teleportation are as good as anybody’s at present.

    The only “official” line you’ll find on teleportation experiments being done (and with data being publicly available) are done at the ANU in Canberra, Australia (I’ve posted links on this forum to the experimental data). These teleportation experiments were crude but successful, in all respects of the developing theory.
    Drop an e-mail to the participants, if you like. I’m sure they’ll answer your questions…

    The most important point (I think) you bring up, is “outside” of science. It is the question of “conservation of soul”. This is the true key to teleportation (and, in fact, the METHOD). It will rank as a VERY important question in the near future (on a par with Human Cloning “Soul” questions…).

    Good luck with your writing!
  4. Jun 28, 2004 #3

    Hello Nommos Prime.

    Thanks for the kind words. I've heard about the teleportation experiments being done at Canberra. Do you still have the link/s?

  5. Jun 28, 2004 #4


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    If the teleportation is to dedicated locations, you could use wormholes.

    Wormholes are possible, though not observed. They are places where 2 locations in space touch, despite not being proximate to each other. If they can be created, if the ends can be moved, and if they can be made large enough to pass macroscopic objects, teleportation can be done.

    I think it is ideal for "hard sci-fi". It has the advantage that there are significant restrictions. Make teleportation too easy, and it can solve every dramatic crisis. I think you could go through every episode of star trek and solve all the problems from the transporter room.

  6. Jun 28, 2004 #5
    Dr Lam's Contact Details

    For Whitestar;

    Contact Dr Ping Koy Lam on;
    Email; Ping.Lam@anu.edu.au

    His ANU Home Page;
    http://photonics.anu.edu.au/pingkoy/ [Broken]

    Power-point presentation;
    http://photonics.anu.edu.au/pubtele/pubtele/slideshow.html [Broken]

    Hope Dr Lam responds!
    Good luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  7. Jun 29, 2004 #6


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    Only this:

    The method by which alteration of one particle in an entangled pair is able to affect the other particle in that pair is not yet known. It is widely stated that transmission of information is not possible by entanglement (I still have my doubts as to the accuracy of the statement), but what about the channel (if any) through which this entanglement takes place? The fact that the phenomenon occurs and has been observed could be a kind of evidence pointing to the existence of some sort of "subspace", through which cause is in one location can have instantaneous effects at a distant location. If entanglement itself cannot teleport a person, perhaps discovering the mechanism behind the phenomenon will reveal a teleportation method.
  8. Jun 29, 2004 #7


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    Well, quantum mechanics is clear in its own explanation of what happens; the two particles are in a single quantum state. When you observe one particle you "collapse the state", i.e. project it on one of its eigenvalues, which by definition is a pair of correlated eigenvalues of the two particles, and even though not observed, the other particle goes to its appropriate eigenvalue.

    Of course you may choose not to believe that QM and its states and operators form a deep description of nature. Then you will be forced either to invent some secret piece of classical physics to make the connection, which in my experience always winds up sounding like a piece of science fiction bafflegab, or else you can follow Carolyn Thompson, who has posted recently on s.p.r., and deny the validity of the Aspect and other experiments that confirmed the Bell inequalities.
  9. Jun 30, 2004 #8


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    One must admit, the entire idea of entanglement sounds like science-fiction from the start. Nevertheless, it appears to be a reality. Although I accept the validity of the experiments, I cannot accept the idea that these results took place for no reason. I do not think that an event occurring in one place can have an effect in another place, where said effect is transferred from one place to the other through no mechanism at all. To me, this would seem to violate causality.
  10. Jun 30, 2004 #9


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    Try the concept "both places", maybe? It really does come down to a radical acceptance of quantum basics (or not). If you keep trying to push classical concepts on the quantum reality you just frustrate yourself.
  11. Jun 30, 2004 #10
    I have sort of backed off from the discussion for a bit here, but your statement here drew me back.

    The very connection between two events, can we not consider the gravitational waves? This is a intimite connection that shoul be able to be spoken too, and the one way in which makes sense to me in using the expeirment of Glast in consideration of how this photon is affected by the graviton interaction. Do you understand?

    When identify some gap that exists, one has to ponder indeed what is hidden, or what we had not really expalined yet? So teleportation , might then indeed have this connection that until now has not made sense, and why Glast is important from the persepctive, of why Photons can be Long or Short depending on the interaction with the graviton.

    How will quantum information exchange from one place to another? The graviton tells us much about dimension and what we have not seen?:) But I could be wrong.
  12. Jun 30, 2004 #11


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    teleportation is only limited by measurement problem.

    if you can precisely measure all properties of all particles in the system A, and then 'affect' another system B so that all properties are identical to A, then you have created a copy.

    It may be possible to make such copies faster than speed of light using the particles that travel faster than speed of light. However the technology isnt anywhere there, and humans cant get a grip on HUP. HUP simply states that you cant measure with precision and accuracy both values at the same time. However the particle has a definite position and a definite velocity. Its simply isnt measurable with current 'methods' - slapping the particle around with photons disrupts its states.

    Perhaps if the research was done on the whole environment around the particle in question .. and using statistical methods, SOMEHOW, you could derive all the properties without ever touching it.

    Once that is covered.. you have to find out how to actually make changes to the properties of such small quantities like particles. Maybe current research coupled with a strong understanding of the quark model and their magnetic and other effects can shed more light on this?

    What are your thoughts
  13. Jul 1, 2004 #12

    How interesting.

    1) Where can I find out more information about this channel or "subspace"?

    2) Could entanglements be the key to one day teleportatin humans?

  14. Jul 1, 2004 #13


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    before u get anywhere near humans, you have to figure out how to READ all the properties of a particle and then COPY it to another one

    sorta like making a hard drive except you will be writing and readin on particles.

    after you have successfully done that, you have to perfect the technique and somehow (SOMEHOW) be able to read billions of atoms (10^29 billion atoms) in human body and then reconstruct all that.

    Even IF you reconstruct the body, there is still a question of the human mind.

    after all of that effort, the most you'll be able to do is to make copies of humans.

    However you are probably thinking of transfering bunch of particles from one position (x,y,z) in space to a new one some distance away. Not sure if that is even possible.. BUT. Einstein's idea on QM started off by working out probabilities of the gas collecting in one side .. it was a really really small probability that all the atoms will be in one spot after random motion.. but nonetheless significant as that brings us to planck's constant and hf and other stuff
  15. Jul 1, 2004 #14


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    They are making progress. If I am not mistaken an atom (nucleus and electron shells) has now been teleported. Next bar to jump would be a molecule, small at first and then increasing toward protein size. Then a virus. And then a living bacterium. It might take 50 years, or breakthroughs could bring us to that point in only 10.
  16. Jul 2, 2004 #15


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    AFAIK, there is no information on this mechanism, as the mechanism itself has never been observed and is not even known to exist. The properties it would have to possess in order to perform the function that it does would seem to demand that it is not a part of our normal space time. It would seem to me that its existence must be hyper dimensional, transcending our cosmos and making it very hard to detect, observe, or study.
  17. Jul 3, 2004 #16
    If my notes are correct there have been performed 6 teleportation experiments to date:
    -1997 (Zeilinger et al. teleported a qubit)
    -1997 (Rome group, with people like Boschi and De Martini)
    -1998 (Furusawa perfrmed continuous variable quantum teleportation of a state of a laser)
    -1998 (Nielsen teleported the state of a nucleus between different atoms)
    -2002 (Koy Lam teleported a quadrature amplitude of a laser beam)
    -2004 (Koy Lam experiment performing quantum secret sharing)

    I'd glad to know if other experiments has been made :smile:

    I also readtoday that Rudolph and Sanders deny the accomplishment of teleportation in the experiment of Furusawa, because in the experiment was committed the Partition ensemble fallacy. But there's controversy about this.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2004
  18. Jul 4, 2004 #17


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    I think it was Nielsen's 1998 experiment that I mistakenly thought was a complete atom (state of course, not thing).
  19. Jul 8, 2004 #18
    No atomic state has been teleported yet, though there exist a teleportation protocol for it


    I think that I'm becomed obsessed with quantum teleportation. It's really amazing that you can influence instantaneously a system in a galaxy in the other edge of the universe. Why should be this way? It really makes me feel that the entanglement is something physical. I imagine the entanglement like a rigid bar, if you push it in one end, then instantaneously the other end advances, no matter how far is it. Perhaps if you do a measurement in a system, you provoke the moving of the bar affecting instantaneously the other system...

    I shall end with a pair of questions about Bennett's protocol (this is habitually cosidered the standard protocol):
    1)When Alice entangles her qubit of the EPR state with the qubit that she wants to teleport, she then do a Bell measurement in the two qubits.But what exactly she measures?
    2)When Bob receives the two bits through the classical channel, he must perform and unitary transformation in his qubit to recover the original state. I'm afraid that I don't know what's an unitary transformation, what's it?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2004
  20. Jul 13, 2004 #19
  21. Jul 13, 2004 #20
    Just thought I would add to this thread. I am a strong proponent of how this process works in terms of my interest and how we shall describe what has always been spooky:)

    http://cfmx.physicsweb.org/objects/news/thumb/8/6/18/principle1.jpg [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
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