In physics, a wormhole, also known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge (and less commonly as an Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge or Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen bridge), is a hypothetical topological feature of spacetime that is essentially a "shortcut" through space and time.
Our universe at home within a larger universe? So suggests wormhole research PhysOrg - April 7, 2010
In physics and fiction, a wormhole is a hypothetical topological feature of spacetime that would be, fundamentally, a "shortcut" through spacetime. Although they are very popular in science fiction, there is no actual evidence that they exist. For a simple visual explanation of a wormhole, consider spacetime visualized as a two-dimensional (2-D) surface (see illustration, right). If this surface is "folded" along a (non-existent) third dimension, it allows one to picture a wormhole "bridge". A wormhole is, in theory, much like a tunnel with two ends each in separate points in space-time.
There is no observational evidence for wormholes, and, although wormholes are valid solutions in general relativity, this is only true if exotic matter can be used to stabilize them. Even if the wormhole is stabilized, the slightest fluctuation in space would collapse it. If such exotic matter (that is, matter with negative mass) does not exist, all wormhole-containing solutions to Einstein's field equations are vacuum solutions, which require an impossible vacuum, free of all matter and energy.
There is no evidence or experimental suggestion that wormholes do exist, except as predictions of certain (exotic) physical models. Wormholes allowed by current physical theories might arise spontaneously, but would vanish nearly instantaneously, and would likely be undetectable.
The American theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler coined the term wormhole in 1957; however, in 1921, the German mathematician Hermann Weyl already had proposed the wormhole theory, in connection with mass analysis of electromagnetic field energy.
Lorentzian wormholes known as Schwarzschild wormholes or Einstein-Rosen bridges are bridges between areas of space that can be modeled as vacuum solutions to the Einstein field equations by combining models of a black hole and a white hole. This solution was discovered by Albert Einstein and his colleague Nathan Rosen, who first published the result in 1935. However, in 1962 John A. Wheeler and Robert W. Fuller published a paper showing that this type of wormhole is unstable, and that it will pinch off instantly as soon as it forms, preventing even light from making it through.
Before the stability problems of Schwarzschild wormholes were apparent, it was proposed that quasars were white holes forming the ends of wormholes of this type.
While Schwarzschild wormholes are not traversable, their existence inspired Kip Thorne to imagine traversable wormholes created by holding the 'throat' of a Schwarzschild wormhole open with exotic matter (material that has negative mass/energy).
Lorentzian traversable wormholes would allow travel from one part of the universe to another part of that same universe very quickly or would allow travel from one universe to another. The possibility of traversable wormholes in general relativity was first demonstrated by Kip Thorne and his graduate student Mike Morris in a 1988 paper; for this reason, the type of traversable wormhole they proposed, held open by a spherical shell of exotic matter, is referred to as a Morris-Thorne wormhole.
Later, other types of traversable wormholes were discovered as allowable solutions to the equations of general relativity, including a variety analyzed in a 1989 paper by Matt Visser, in which a path through the wormhole can be made in which the traversing path does not pass through a region of exotic matter. However in the pure Gauss-Bonnet theory exotic matter is not needed in order for wormholes to exist- they can exist even with no matter. A type held open by negative mass cosmic strings was put forth by Visser in collaboration with Cramer et al., in which it was proposed that such wormholes could have been naturally created in the early universe.
Wormholes connect two points in spacetime, which means that they would in principle allow travel in time, as well as in space. In 1988, Morris, Thorne and Yurtsever worked out explicitly how to convert a wormhole traversing space into one traversing time. However, it has been argued that a time traversing wormhole cannot take a person back to before it was made (due to the wormhole, and the associated pathway through time, not being present earlier).This conclusion is disputed.
Wormhole Is Best Bet for Time Machine, Astrophysicist Says Live Science - August 26, 2013
The concept of a time machine typically conjures up images of an implausible plot device used in a few too many science-fiction storylines. But according to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which explains how gravity operates in the universe, real-life time travel isn't just a vague fantasy. The concept of a time machine typically conjures up images of an implausible plot device used in a few too many science-fiction storylines. But according to Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which explains how gravity operates in the universe, real-life time travel isn't just a vague fantasy. Traveling forward in time is an uncontroversial possibility, according to Einstein's theory. In fact, physicists have been able to send tiny particles called muons, which are similar to electrons, forward in time by manipulating the gravity around them. That's not to say the technology for sending humans 100 years into the future will be available anytime soon, though. Time travel to the past, however, is even less understood. Still, astrophysicist Eric W. Davis argues that it's possible. All you need, he says, is a wormhole, which is a theoretical passageway through space-time that is predicted by relativity.
The theory of general relativity predicts that if traversable wormholes exist, they could allow time travel. This would be accomplished by accelerating one end of the wormhole to a high velocity relative to the other, and then sometime later bringing it back; relativistic time dilation would result in the accelerated wormhole mouth aging less than the stationary one as seen by an external observer, similar to what is seen in the twin paradox. However, time connects differently through the wormhole than outside it, so that synchronized clocks at each mouth will remain synchronized to someone traveling through the wormhole itself, no matter how the mouths move around. This means that anything which entered the accelerated wormhole mouth would exit the stationary one at a point in time prior to its entry.
For example, consider two clocks at both mouths both showing the date as 2000. After being taken on a trip at relativistic velocities, the accelerated mouth is brought back to the same region as the stationary mouth with the accelerated mouth's clock reading 2005 while the stationary mouth's clock read 2010. A traveller who entered the accelerated mouth at this moment would exit the stationary mouth when its clock also read 2005, in the same region but now five years in the past. Such a configuration of wormholes would allow for a particle's world line to form a closed loop in spacetime, known as a closed timelike curve.
It is thought that it may not be possible to convert a wormhole into a time machine in this manner; the predictions are made in the context of general relativity, but general relativity does not include quantum effects. Some analyses using the semiclassical approach to incorporating quantum effects into general relativity indicate that a feedback loop of virtual particles would circulate through the wormhole with ever-increasing intensity, destroying it before any information could be passed through it, in keeping with the chronology protection conjecture.
This has been called into question by the suggestion that radiation would disperse after traveling through the wormhole, therefore preventing infinite accumulation. The debate on this matter is described by Kip S. Thorne in the book Black Holes and Time Warps, and a more technical discussion can be found in The Quantum Physics of Chronology Protection by Matt Visser.
The Roman Ring, which is a configuration of more than one wormhole. This ring seems to allow a closed time loop with stable wormholes when analyzed using semiclassical gravity, although without a full theory of quantum gravity it is uncertain whether the semiclassical approach is reliable in this case.
The impossibility of faster-than-light relative speed only applies locally. Wormholes allow superluminal (faster-than-light) travel by ensuring that the speed of light is not exceeded locally at any time. While traveling through a wormhole, subluminal (slower-than-light) speeds are used. If two points are connected by a wormhole, the time taken to traverse it would be less than the time it would take a light beam to make the journey if it took a path through the space outside the wormhole. However, a light beam traveling through the wormhole would always beat the traveler. As an analogy, running around to the opposite side of a mountain at maximum speed may take longer than walking through a tunnel crossing it.
In general relativity, a white hole is a region of spacetime which cannot be entered from the outside, but from which matter and light may escape. In this sense it is the reverse of a black hole, which can be entered from the outside, but from which nothing including light may escape. White holes appear in the theory of eternal black holes. In addition to a black hole region in the future, such a solution of the Einstein equations has a white hole region in its past. This region does however not exist for black holes that have formed through gravitational collapse, nor are there any known physical processes through which a white hole could be formed.
There are no eternal white hole solutions. White holes must either evaporate in a finite time through emission of matter or must be connected to a future black hole region through an Einstein-Rosen bridge.
Like black holes, white holes have properties like mass, charge, and angular momentum. They attract matter like any other mass, but evaporate or form a black hole before any attracted matter can reach it.
In quantum mechanics, the black hole emits Hawking radiation, and so can come to thermal equilibrium with a gas of radiation. Since a thermal equilibrium state is time reversal invariant, Stephen Hawking argued that the time reverse of a black hole in thermal equilibrium is again a black hole in thermal equilibrium.
This implies that black holes and white holes are the same object. The Hawking radiation from an ordinary black hole is then identified with the white hole emission. Hawking's semi-classical argument is reproduced in a quantum mechanical AdS/CFT treatment where a black hole in anti-de Sitter space is described by a thermal gas in a gauge theory, whose time reversal is the same as itself.
White holes appear as part of the vacuum solution to the Einstein field equations describing a Schwarzschild wormhole. One end of this type of wormhole is a black hole, drawing in matter, and the other is a white hole, emitting matter. While this gives the impression that black holes in our universe may connect to white holes elsewhere, in reality, this is untrue, for two reasons. First, Schwarzschild wormholes are unstable, disconnecting as soon as they form. Second, Schwarzschild wormholes are only a solution to the Einstein field equations in vacuum (when no matter interacts with the hole). Real black holes are formed by the collapse of stars. When the infalling stellar matter is added to a diagram of a black hole's history, it removes the part of the diagram corresponding to the white hole.
The entropy of a black hole is the horizon area in Planck units, and this is the most entropy which a given region can contain. When an object is emitted out of a white hole, the area of the horizon always decreases by more than the maximum possible entropy that can be squeezed into the object, which is a time-reversed statement of the Bekenstein bound. So the existence of white holes that are not part of a wormhole is doubtful, as they appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics. However, a White Hole can exhibit Hawking Radiation and emit higher levels of this radiation in shorter periods of time, thus allowing White Holes to barely exist for periods of time.
Recent Speculations (2010)
A more recently proposed view of black holes might be interpreted as shedding some light on the nature of classical white holes. Some researchers proposed that when a black hole forms, a big bang occurs at the core, which creates a new universe that expands into extra dimensions outside of the parent universe.
The initial feeding of matter from the parent universe's black hole and the expansion that follows in the new universe might be thought of as a cosmological type of white hole. Unlike traditional white holes, this type of white hole would not be localized in space in the new universe, and its horizon would have to be identified with the cosmological horizon.
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