Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A wormhole is hypothetical tunnel that connects two points in spacetime. This tunnel would be a shortcut through space and time in such a way that a trip through the wormhole could take much less time than a journey between the same starting and ending points in normal space. The ends of a wormhole could be intra-universe, that is to say that both exist in the same universe, or inter-universe, existing in different universes, and thus serve as a connecting passage between the two. Spacetime can be viewed as a 2D surface, and when 'folded' over, a wormhole bridge can be formed.

A wormhole has at least two mouths which are connected to a single throat or tube. If the wormhole is traversable, matter can 'travel' from one mouth to the other by passing through the throat. While there is no observational evidence for wormholes, spacetimes-containing wormholes are known to be valid solutions in general relativity.

The term wormhole was coined by the American theoretical physicist John Wheeler in 1957. However, the idea of wormholes had already been theorized in 1921 by the German mathematician Hermann Weyl in connection with his analysis of mass in terms of electromagnetic field energy.

Wormholes arise as solutions to the equations of Einstein's general theory of relativity. In fact, they crop up so readily in this context that some theorists are encouraged to think that real counterparts may eventually be found or fabricated and, perhaps, used for high-speed space travel and/or time travel. However, a known property of wormholes is that they are highly unstable and would probably collapse instantly if even the tiniest amount of matter, such as a single photon, attempted to pass through them.