Squeezing the Vacuum


This column is about a new development in the theory of wormholes. At Vanderbilt University, David Hochberg and Thomas W. Kephart have discovered that gravity itself can produce regions of negative energy. Within these regions, we may conjecture, stable wormholes may form naturally, particularly during the early Big Bang. A wormhole is a geometrical shortcut in curved space-time with the topology of a cup handle which, in principle, allows movement from one point in space-time to another without the necessity of traversing the intervening space-time interval. This provides a physical basis for two traditional gimmicks of science fiction: faster-than-light travel and time travel into the past and the future.



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