Scientists create simulation of a wormhole and manage to transmit information

Wormholes are one of the few phenomena predicted by physics that have not yet been observed. These shortcuts through the space and time, that they can connect two very distant points in the universe, were theorized in 1935 by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen, and have intrigued scientists ever since.

Now, an American team made up of researchers from Harvard, the California Institute of Technology, MIT, among others; presents the first simulation of a wormhole, which has been carried out on the quantum computer google sycamore. According to the results of his experiment, published last Wednesday in the journal Nature, it has been possible to transmit information from one point to another through this shortcut.

How has this wormhole been simulated?

It has been shown theoretically that this phenomenon can be generated when two black holes are connected in such a way that they would function as the ends of a tunnel (the wormhole).

Representation of a wormhole. Image: Adobe Stock

Logically, it is not feasible to create two connected black holes in a laboratory. Therefore, the team of scientists turned to the world of subatomic particles, which experience a widely demonstrated phenomenon: quantum entanglement.

When two particles (A and B)—for example, electrons—interact with each other, they can become entangled, that is, share the same quantum state. This means that what happens to A will be reproduced to B.

This opens the possibility of quantum teleportationwhich is produced, for example, if a particle C is entangled with A. That third one loses its properties, which are transferred to B: the information vanishes at one point and appears at another.

The best environment they found to test these phenomena was a quantum computer, whose integrated circuits operate with quantum bits or qubitswhich are entangled particles.

Thus, they arranged two separate sets of qubits (all interlocked), which would represent the ends of the wormhole.

Then they inserted a new qubit into one of the sets and watched as all of its properties were replicated in the others at that end. Then that information disappeared and appeared on the other set of particles, just as it would if an object entered one end of the wormhole and manifested at the other.

Representation of entangled particles and their equivalent in a wormhole.  Image: Nature

Representation of entangled particles and their equivalent in a wormhole. Image: Nature

A new step towards quantum gravity

The experiment represents an important step towards the unification of the two theories that explain reality, but are incompatible: the general relativity, which describes how matter and energy warp space-time and generate gravity; and the quantum mechanicswhich explains the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles.

Since wormholes have been theorized based on gravity described by general relativity, being able to represent them by a phenomenon typical of quantum mechanics allows us to better understand a hypothesis that has gained ground in recent decades: quantum gravity.

The existence of quantum gravity would establish a basis for that long-awaited unified theory or theory of everything. That is why other investigations seek to validate this hypothesis.

What has been achieved by the new experiment “is very interesting because with a more powerful computer macroscopic systems (visible structures) could be simulated and the effects of quantum gravity on them studied,” explains Alberto Casas, professor at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, to El País. (IFT) of Spain.