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10.18.19
Slow Going

Harvard Physicist: Wormhole Travel Is Possible, but It’s Not Fast

April 15th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Hard Science
Kristof Wesely

Scenic Route

The idea of wormholes — tunnel-like bridges connecting two points in space-time — has been around for decades, with many speculating that wormholes could enable interstellar or even intergalactic travel.

Now, Harvard physicist Daniel Jafferis has a dose of good news and bad news for fans of the sci-fi staple: wormholes exist, but they’re unlikely to serve as galactic shortcuts.

“It takes longer to get through these wormholes than to go directly, so they are not very useful for space travel,” Jafferis said in a news release.

Wrinkle in Time

On Saturday, Jafferis presented a new theory on wormholes at the 2019 American Physical Society April Meeting in Denver. He and his co-authors used quantum field theory tools to show that wormholes could exist and that wormhole travel is possible — but rather than being a shortcut, it’d be a longer path between two points.

Still, while Jafferis’ wormholes couldn’t help us zip around the universe, he does think his theory could be useful in another way.

“The real import of this work is in relation to the black hole information problem and the connections between gravity and quantum mechanics,” Jafferis said, later adding, “I think it will teach us deep things about the gauge/gravity correspondence, quantum gravity, and even perhaps a new way to formulate quantum mechanics.”

READ MORE: Travel through wormholes is possible, but slow [American Institute of Physics]

More on wormholes: Here’s What We’d Need to Transform Wormholes Into Intergalactic Shortcuts