More About Quantum Foam
At around 10 to the power -43 of a second, time itself becomes quantised, that is it appears as discontinuous particles of time, for there is no way in which time can manifest in quantities less than 10 to the power -43 (the so called Planck time). For here the borrowed quantum energies distort the fabric of space turning it back upon itself. There time must have a stop. At such short intervals the energies available are enormous enough to create virtual black holes and wormholes in space-time, and at this level we have only a sea of quantum probabilities - the so called Quantum Foam. Contemporary physics suggests that through these virtual wormholes in space-time there are links with all time past and future, and through the virtual black holes even with parallel universes.
It must be somewhat above this level that our consciousness works, weaving probability waves into patterns and incarnating them in the receptive structure of our brains. Our being or spirit lives in this Quantum Foam, which is thus the Eternal Now, infinite in extent and a plenum of all possibilities. The patterns of everything that has been, that is now, and will come to be, exists latent in this quantum foam. Perhaps this is the realm though which the mystics stepped into timelessness, the eternal present, and sensed the omnipotence and omniscience of the spirit.
Morris, Thorne, and Yurtsever propose to create a stable wormhole, with the idea that someday we may be able to build one (or at least write a good story about it). Empty space, when examined with quantum theory on a sufficiently small distance scale, is not empty at all. Even at nuclear dimensions (10-13 cm) empty space is filled with particle-antiparticle pairs that are continually flashing into a brief existence, bankrolled on the credit of borrowed mass-energy, only to wink out of existence again as the law of conservation of energy reasserts itself. If the length-scale is contracted to a size appropriate to quantum gravity (10-33 cm) this quantum fireworks intensifies to a "quantum foam" of violent fluctuations in the topology and geometry of space itself. Quantum black holes form and vanish in a span of time of 10-23 seconds; highly curved and convoluted regions of space in ant physically allowed configuration have a similarly brief existence. In this environment Morris, Thorne, and Yurtsever speculate, it my be possible for a civilization considerably more advanced than ours, by "pulling a wormhole out of the quantum foam and enlarging it to classical size" to create a connection between two nearby points in space. This would use the well-known quantum mechanical process called "tunneling", a jump from one allowed energy state to another across a barrier of intermediate states that are forbidden by energy conservation.
To stabilize the wormhole pulled from the quantum foam, preventing its immediate recollapse, Morris, Thorne, and Yurtsever propose to use an electric field of such enormous strength that it creates enough energy in the mouth of the wormhole to force it to remain open. They suggest that this might be accomplished by placing a pair of spheres with equal electric charges at the two spatial entrances of the wormhole. The spheres would be held in place by a delicate balance, the force of their gravitational attraction just offsetting the force of their electrical repulsion. Such a system might be very small, an atom-scale opening permitting the passage of only a few photons at a time, or it might be large enough to pass a large vehicle.
by John G. Cramer
Alternate View Column AV-33
Professor Kip Thorne, of the California Institute of Technology, was stimulated, in the summer of 1985, to search for alternate wormhole solutions that would allow safe passage for interstellar travelers. His motivation was a request for help from his friend and colleague, Carl Sagan. Professor Sagan was writing a science fiction story (The novel was entitled Contact which has been made into a motion picture staring Jodi Foster as the heroine) in which his heroine needed to cross a great interstellar distance in a very short time, namely the distance between Earth and the star Vega (see figure 3). Professor Thorne was only too happy to oblige. He found a solution which was so simple that he was surprised no one had found it before. The solution has the following metric equation.
Where b(r) determines the spatial shape of the wormhole, and Phi(r) determines the gravitational redshift. This solution has the property of having no horizons or excessive tidal forces to deal with which makes it safe for humans to travel through. But it does have one unfortunate drawback. In order to hold the throat open there has to be a negative energy density inside. There is no no known material that has this property. Though electro-magnetic vacuum fluctuations are sometimes measured to have negative energy densities and are correspondingly called ``exotic''. In order to keep the wormhole open it needs to be threaded with exotic matter that will create a tension to push the walls apart. This exotic matter would have the curious effect of defocusing light as it passed through (see figure 4).
Figure 4: A traversable Wormhole threaded with Exotic Matter. Light rays passing through the Wormhole are defocused
Assuming that this exotic matter can be discovered or manufactured how would one go about constructing such a wormhole? Certainly objects such as these do not occur naturally. The answer may lie in quantum mechanics. On a sufficiently small scale the universe is probabilistic. Refer to figure 5 to see possible geometries at the quantum level.
Figure 5: Embedding diagrams of the The Quantum Foam. The geometry of spacetime on a Planck scale is probabilistic. The probability for (a) is 0.1% , (b) is 0.4%, and (c) is 0.02%
This network of wormholes and black holes is known as the quantum foam. There are certain probabilities that wormholes will pop in and out of existence at this level. If we assume that we, or some other society, are sufficiently advanced that we can observe this quantum foam and manufacture exotic matter, then it might be possible to reach into this microscopic universe and capture a wormhole. By pouring exotic matter into it we might be able to blow it up to a macroscopic size. We would then be poised to embark on the greatest journey imaginable.
Those extra dimensions are required because large-scale physics theory breaks down when it is used to describe phenomena at sub-microscopic scale. It predicts particles popping in and out of existence in what physicists have taken to calling a “quantum foam,” a violent writhing and churning that permeates all existence. Breaking that foam into extra dimensions allows string theorists to posit the existence of — surprise! — strings, tiny, vibrating loops that underlie all matter. It is precisely the way in which these strings vibrate, through both the familiar and extra dimensions, that predicts whether a region of space is occupied by an electron, a positron, some other particle, a gravitational force or nothing. At least six more dimensions than the four we observe are required to explain all the variety of particles and forces in the universe.
The theory copes with quantum foam by smearing it out and diluting it to acceptable explanatory levels. By replacing point particles with little loops of string, particles are diluted, as is the quantum foam, just enough to allow quantum mechanics and general relativity to meld smoothly together.
Contact: Bob Nelson For immediate release
Singularities can happen to stretch out in hyperspace to connect to each other for a brief time. Then, a wormhole The secret in the creation of such a wormhole lies in quantum foam, a property of space in tiny scales. The amount detail that we can recognize depends on the amount of magnification. The magnification which is necessary to analyse the quantum foam cannot be attained by any microscope. It's simply impossible to make such small structures visible, because you would - after having zoomed to the size of a nucleus (10^-13 cm) - have to magnify another 20 times by the factor of 10 until you reach the quantum foam level. The hypothetical microscope we are using, though, is able to attain this resolution.
from Voyages through Wormholes and Hyperspace Edwin Tobias or Garret
Recent advances in theoretical high-energy physics have discovered how it may be possible to evade, though not avoid entirely this fatal restriction. The speculations of mathematical physicists Michael Morris, Kip Thorne and Ulvi Yurtsever, as published in the prestigious journal, Physical Review Letters,1 have opened enchanting new vistas of what may be possible to an advanced civilization2. These trail-blazing mathematical physicists speculate that by using extremely large amounts of precisely controlled energy it may some day be possible to reach down into the quantum foam that underlies all space-time phenomena, there to seize upon, stabilize and enlarge to a usable size the two ends of a worm-hole in space, what is known as a Schwartzchild worm-hole or Einstein-Rosen bridge3. Dr. John Cramer, who is the head of the high-energy physics laboratory of the University of Washington, in a series of highly readable articles in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact and in a wide-ranging interview published in Issue Number One of the new magazine Science Fiction Review4, has explained in terms more understandable to the informed layman one way in which this process might be used to evade the constraints of the speed of light5.
Large worm-holes are not believed to exist in nature. To put this into more scientific-sounding terminology; 'the probability of the existence of worm-holes on a macroscopic scale is infinitesimal'. As is usual in such cases, the probability of a worm-hole's existence increases as the postulated size and duration decrease. At the level of 'quantum foam', where subatomic particles dance into and out of existence in countless numbers, worm-holes are thought to be extremely common. These worm-holes are tiny, and each one has such an infinitesimally brief span of existence that not even a single photon would be able to traverse its length before the worm-hole snaps shut, disappearing almost before it comes into being. Worm-holes are just a few of the 'virtual particles' that go to make up quantum foam, a realm of objects that remain in existence so briefly that their being has no effect on reality as a whole.
Keywords: science, fiction, fantasy, horror, speculation, astrophysics
To The Stars -- And Beyond!
by Norm Hartman