Could wormholes really exist?
We asked two experts this mind-bending question
“Wormholes should exist in nature, because they are predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity which is the theory that also predicted black holes, cosmology, neutron stars, the gravitational lensing of galaxies, gravitational redshift and time dilation, bending of light by stars (gravitational lensing) amongst other things.
“All of these astrophysical phenomena have been repeatedly observed to high precision and thus verify general relativity theory. There is no reason why wormholes should not exist based on a very well tested theory whose other predictions have been verified as previously mentioned. Another prediction of general relativity is gravitational waves, and there has been a search for their existence going on for over 50 years. This search is now ramping up with a major British astronomy program dedicated entirely to detecting them.”
“I would completely agree that most likely they are just a theoretical construct. It’s very unlikely that we will ever see the more standard kind of wormhole – the one that you could transverse through, as seen in science fiction movies.
“According to our understanding of physics, those seem almost impossible and we certainly haven’t seen one. Even if they exist, I’m not sure how to hunt for them. One could not measure the existence of a wormhole directly without sending in two observers into the two connected black holes [which could also form the basis of a wormhole]. If they meet in the middle, there’s a wormhole. If not, then there’s no wormhole. In any event the more-fortunate outside observers would never know the outcome of the experiment.
“Of course that doesn’t mean that one should stop looking, we should always look for what’s out there, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
Read all about wormholes in issue 24 of All About Space – on sale 3rd April!
Image Credit: Institute for Advanced Studies (top) and University of Washington (bottom)