In 1916 Einstein introduced General Relativity to the world which still remains the core theory for gravitation. In his theory he stated that every object no matter how tiny or how large bend the space around it as an object bends the cloth or fabric it is placed upon.
Einstein – Rosen Bridge
The basic idea of wormholes dates nearly as far back as the concept of general relativity. Barely a few months after Einstein wrote down his equations, the first exact solution of the Einstein equations was found by Karl Schwarzschild. One of the remarkable predictions of Schwarzschild’s geometry was that if a mass, M, were compressed inside a critical radius, rs, nowadays called the Schwarzschild radius (the farthest visible point), and then its gravity would become so strong that not even light could escape. The Schwarzschild radius, rs, of a mass, M, is given by:
This led to the existence of the black holes but the formulation of black holes did not deter the theory of Einstein and he went to work with Nathan Rosen and in 1935 they produced a paper that produced evidence for a bridge between a black hole and a white hole, this was called the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
The purpose of the paper of Einstein and Rosen was not to promote faster-than-light or inter-universe travel, but to attempt to explain fundamental particles like electrons as space-tunnels threaded by electric lines of force. However science fiction took the idea of Einstein-Rosen Bridges and applied it to moving spaceships faster than the speed of light through what was now being called ‘wormholes’.
But in 1962 John Wheeler found Worm holes to be highly unstable and if opened would close up again before even a single photon could be transmitted.
This work lead there to being two different classifications of wormholes: Lorentzian wormholes and Euclidean wormholes:
- Lorentzian wormholes are essentially short cuts through space and time but they instantaneously close unless some form of negative energy can hold them open. It is possible to produce small amounts of negative energy in the laboratory by a principle known as the Casimir effect. However this energy would not be enough to keep open a wormhole.
- Euclidean wormholes are even stranger given that they live in “imaginary time” and are intrinsically virtual quantum mechanical processes. These Euclidean wormholesare of interest mainly to quantum field theorists.
Unfortunately, worm holes are currently more science fiction than they are science fact, but it is certainly testing to think about the possibilities their existence might create.