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Wormholes: Are they practical?

  1. Aug 5, 2007 #1
    I was just wondering since I discussed this with some people before, but exactly how likely is it that wormholes in space-time are possible to use for transportation methods or some other form of practical use? One thing I heard as a most likely problem with it is the fact that the massive force involved in them would most likely destroy anything that would go through it - is there any possible theorem that could lead to some sort of process to keep it from feeling the weight on it as it goes through?
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  3. Aug 7, 2007 #2

    George Jones

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    Over the last twenty years there has been a lot of theoretical study of traversable wormholes, i.e., wormholes through which a person can make a return trip without experiencing body-altering tidal and g-forces, and without experiencing time dilation (you don't to return and find that you're older than your children).

    A stable traversable wormhole requires "exotic" matter to hold it open, and exotic matter is such that some observers measure its density to be negative.

    There are some hints from quantum theory that exotic matter is theoretically possible, but not everyone agrees on how much is needed, how much is posibble, etc.

    Your question lies in an area of active research.
  4. Aug 7, 2007 #3


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    Oddly, enough, even though I haven't gone through a wormhole, I'm already older than my children!
  5. Aug 7, 2007 #4

    George Jones

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    Readinmg this actually made me laugh out loud!

    For the sake of other people reading this thread, In my first post I meant to write:

    you don't want to return and find that you're younger than your children
  6. Aug 7, 2007 #5
    Just to pick on it further ;-) Any relativistic travel (sans wormhole) should suffice to return younger than your children, the wormhole trick is returning older than your parents!
  7. Aug 7, 2007 #6
    I remember hearing about requiring exotic mass to create one. Is there any such element or substance with negative mass known to people right now?
  8. Aug 7, 2007 #7
    The problem with workholes is that they are generally found by metric mechanics - you specify the spacetime structure you want and then invert to find the required energy distribution - generally finding it to be "wierd" and hence you are unsure if it's a physically valid description.
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