Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Wormholes for Dummies Question .

  1. Feb 26, 2009 #1
    Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    First let me say, I am not a scientist, I'm an MBA type, but I am fascinated with physics and the Universe and have the utmost respect for those of you who actually understand it.

    I was recently watching the Science channel and there was a show on the universe and specifically on wormholes and possible time travel, etc. While I totally get the possibility of traveling into the future via climbing on a spaceship and going at the speed of light for a few light years and then returning back to earth (yeah, I know all about the physical limitations, ultra doses of radiation, etc. but just work with me) and having time have passed much faster than while you were on the ship. What I don't get is some of the theory they discussed on time travel using a wormhole.

    I understand the theory of having two openings in space connected by the "tunnel" but here's where I get confused. First, the analogy they gave was a flat piece of paper with two circles drawn on it, then the paper was folded so the two holes could basically be connected via a tunnel between them. Are they saying that space is curved or are they just showing a visual that if there were such tunnels that you can cover vast distances through a "shortcut"? Secondly, they discussed time travel possibilities leading to the past via a wormhole. This I don't get at all. First, I believe that time is linear and much like a memorex tape that you pull the tabs off of so that it can never be recorded on again, BUT for the sake of theory..... How do you go backwards in time using a wormhole? If the spacetime is the same in both locations involved in a wormhole, how does one end become the past?

    Hopefully, this is not too elementary for someone to answer. I appreciate the time and help!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2009 #2

    Nabeshin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Hello!

    Your acceptance of traveling to the future and difficulty to understand a wormhole theory of travel to the past is natural, namely because "time travel to the future" is an actual phenomenon, whereas wormholes aren't much more than science fiction at this point. As per Special and General relativity, time slows down for someone who is either a) moving close to the speed of light or b) near a large gravitational body. So either of these will cause you to "travel through time" by making yourself appear younger (i.e go on a rocket trip for 3 years to find everyone back home has aged 30).

    I haven't read any pop-sci books on wormholes in a while so I'm not exactly sure how they could be theorized (theorizing about a very theoretical construct.. hah!) to time travel, so someone else will have to let you know about that one.
     
  4. Feb 26, 2009 #3
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Thanks for the reply Nabeshin. The theory they discussed in terms of time travel with wormholes had something to do with moving one end of the wormhole at or near the speed of light so that when you went in one end and came out the other end, the time would be different. I never quite grasped the concept.

    One other question, what exactly causes time to slow when you are traveling at or near light speed? I know that's probably not an easy to answer question.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Feb 26, 2009 #4

    Nabeshin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Well, time slows down for an object traveling near the speed of light (be careful; nothing with mass can travel at the speed of light) because the speed of light has to be constant for all observers.

    I could give a long and probably difficult to follow explanation, so I'll let a video do it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHjpBjgIMVk&
     
  6. Feb 26, 2009 #5
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Wormholes are created if you apply enough mass to a certain point in space, which creates this "tunnel". Wormholes have also been figured to be a way to travel through time.

    Wormholes are considered possible based on Einstein's theory of relativity, which states that any mass curves spacetime. If you want to create one of these wormholes, you need to apply enough mass in 2 different places of the universe, this is easier explained by a sheet of paper folded and then punching a whole through both layers. But the complication, and obiously left out question, is, since our universe is not 2 dimensional it will be a lot harder to figure out exactly where to apply the 2 masses.
     
  7. Feb 26, 2009 #6

    Nabeshin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    You glossed over the most important part! If you want to interpret a black hole as a "hole in spacetime", then you have to accept that any wormhole entrances will also be black holes (or at least appear to an outside observer to be a black hole). I.E Good luck using them for anything.
     
  8. Feb 27, 2009 #7
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Thanks for the explanation.

    You always see these sci-fi movies that propose that one could travel through a black hole or wormhole to another dimension or another place in space. I guess I could more easily understand a wormhole because I assume there could actually be a "tunnel" connecting the two ends that would hypothetically allow for something/someone to travel through it; however, my understanding of a black hole is that not even light can escape it, so you would be ripped to shreds upon entering it.

    Is there any real difference in the two or are they basically the same thing? I know what causes a blackhole, but it sounds like a wormhole might be slightly different in that you would have to find two places in space and have enough mass in both places to "create" a tunnel between the two, correct? It almost sounds like a wormhole is made up of two inverted blackhole cones. Does that make sense?
     
  9. Feb 27, 2009 #8
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Black holes are unstable wormholes, which makes them impossible to use for any purpose. The wormholes that you might have seen in TV shows such as Stargate, they are controlled wormholes. But reality and science fiction are completely different.

    Black holes are a huge mystery for everyone, we have no idea what might be on the other side of a black hole, and even attempting to find out will prove to be impossible. A black hole have, as previously mentioned, an incredibly strong gravitational field which will literally pull apart anything that comes close to it.

    Physicists theorize that there are something called "white holes" that are the opposite of black holes, but they are both connected through a wormhole. These "white holes" spout out what the black hole sucks in, but remember this is only theorized.

    The amount of energy we need to create a wormhole is the equivalent of an exploding star, this is energy that our science of today will never be able to create or harvest, but maybe in the distant future, we just might be able to.
     
  10. Feb 27, 2009 #9
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Thanks. This actually makes total sense to me.....which is scary!

    It's funny how growing up and even as an adult I would see movies, like Stargate, and say "wow, that's cool how that works." Now that I have a general understanding of all this I watch a show and say
    "wow, I can't believe people believe this could really happen!"

    I was watching LOST this week and as they were talking about using a wormhole to travel back and forth between this Island and Tunisia I got totally turned off by it and I caught myself just shaking my head saying "what crap!" Funny what a little education will do to your perspective on things. :)

    Thanks again.
     
  11. Feb 27, 2009 #10

    Nabeshin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    There is nothing to indicate that there would be an "other side" of a black hole. There is no reason to suspect that a black hole would "connect" with any other point in space. (This is assuming you interpret the singularity as being a "rip" in spacetime)

    Nothing more than curious musings. You don't have to be a physicist to imagine this, it might as well have been Joe the Plumber. Fantasy, basically, so I wouldn't consider it a theory at all.
     
  12. Feb 27, 2009 #11
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Do you even know the meaning of the word theory?
     
  13. Feb 27, 2009 #12

    Nabeshin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  14. Feb 27, 2009 #13

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    Certainly. It doesn't mean a random musing unsupported by evidence.
     
  15. Feb 27, 2009 #14
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    I didn't mean to start an argument over the meaning of theory, but thanks for all the feedback just the same.

    I am slowly but surely starting to understanding some of the basics to astrophysics, astronomy and cosmology. Thanks again.
     
  16. Mar 9, 2009 #15
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    ]
    Hi, let me help you understand this. First: the paper: yes, space can be warped just like a paper can, but the problem is energy. It takes alot of energy to warp the fabric of space, this is why the technology to do this has not been developed yet. This is how space warping works: first, two points are established, ex: pluto and Earth. Next the machine used to make the wormhole is activated, next the space between point A and point B is warped or folded. And finally, a wormhole forms to connect the two points.
    Okay, now that the wormhole theory is out of the way, we can talk about time travel. I know of a method, not too far off time travel that uses wormholes. Have you ever heard about alternete reality? Well, some people think that wormholes, can not only warp space, but also time. This type of wormhole is called an inter-demnsional bridge. (google it, and you will find out what it is.) Hope this information was helpful.
     
  17. Mar 16, 2009 #16
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    I have said this over and over again, and I will say this once more: black holes CANNOT in any way produce a wormhole. (Review my article: why white holes do not exist in the astrophysics section.)
     
  18. Mar 17, 2009 #17

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    I don't think you'll find anything like this in the peer-reviewed literature.

    This either.
     
  19. Mar 17, 2009 #18
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    I found this presentation from Kerr Fest 2004 regarding wormholes which looked like it might be of interest-

    'Kerr black hole and rotating wormhole' by Sung-Won Kim-
    http://www2.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/kerrfest/Kim.pdf

    Kerr-fest 2004 programme (including the presentation above)-
    http://www2.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/kerrfest/

    Djrob99, I can recommend 'Black Holes, Wormholes & Time Machines' by Jim Al-Khalili as a 'pop' science book.
     
  20. Mar 17, 2009 #19
    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    So do you agree or disargee that white holes can exist?
     
  21. Mar 18, 2009 #20

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Re: Wormholes for Dummies Question.....

    I disagree that Physics Forums is the place to discuss ideas that are unsupported by the literature.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Wormholes for Dummies Question .
  1. Cosmology for dummies (Replies: 23)

  2. Wormhole question (Replies: 3)

  3. Wormhole question (Replies: 2)

  4. Wormhole generator? (Replies: 3)

Loading...