Sunday, June 17, 2007

Needles in a Haystack

Some scientists believe mini-wormholes are everywhere. These beliefs are wrapped tightly in theory, not in the actual observation of the phenomenon. We cannot know when or where to find them because the enormous force needed to create an opening cannot sustain for long. It's the equivalent of the sun glinting off a needle in a haystack at precisely the right moment to capture a glimpse of what's inside. But what is a wormhole, exactly?

The best explanation I've read comes from a book called Weird Science by Michael White. In it, a diagram of a two-sided funnel stretches lengthwise. Because of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, the measurement of time is dependent upon the velocity of the observer. Picture a stick-figure man rotating around the bottom of the funnel in a clockwise motion at the speed of light. This man is "here" in present time, but by looking through the worm-like tunnel, he can see himself in the future, assuming his future stick-figure self on the opposite funnel is rotating at the same direction and speed.

If the two men are moving at different speeds, the two ends are at different times, creating a time machine capable of turning a seven day cycle, for example, into what would seem like the blink of an eye.

Of course, the human body is incapable of withstanding the force needed inside a wormhole. Science is working on creating receivers that could transmit past or future information, where holograms from the past would appear clearer than nebulous images of the future.

The moral and political implication of such a discovery is staggering and the basis of the stories I gravitate toward. Certainly within the next two generations' lifetimes, such a thing will be possible. Who will regulate this kind of power? I can't think of anything, save an apocalypse, that would so dramatically alter the scope of a human lifetime. The capacity to re-write history or steer clear of future events makes great fiction for now, much as tales of space travel captivated our ancestors. How long until the time travel stories of today become an antiquated part of our history and we must face choices in the climate of an altered reality?

Today :: thunderstorms and suitcases


Sandra Ferguson said...

What a twisted sense of reality you have. I love it.

Great article about Einstein in last month's Reader's Digest. Did you know he was so late in talking that his parents (and doctors) feared, he'd never speak. The man was simply storing up knowledge until he needed it. My guess he would have understood wormholes and the significance of leaving the past in the past or the future unaltered.

Sherry Davis said...

God, I love the way you think!