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An illustration of a wormhole

Wormholes: Tunnels Through Space and Time

Wormholes are one of the greatest enigmas of the universe. The idea of being able to travel through space and time at the same time seems to puzzle even the greatest of minds.

What is a Wormhole?


A wormhole can be defined as a passage through space and time, that stretches across long distances in the universe.

The concept of a wormhole was first introduced in the mid-1910s by Albert Einstein. He stated that gravity is a result of deformation in space and time. Together with his colleague, Nathan Rosen, Einstein claimed that there are bridges which connect one end of the universe to the other end. These bridges are the result of deformed space warped between two points.

Theories state that the wormhole is a natural tunnel formed when a black hole and white hole are connected or joined at their singularities. Singularities are points in spacetime where gravitational forces are infinite. Once something steps into the event horizon of a black hole, it cannot escape its pull towards the singularity. Oppositely, once something crosses the event horizon of a white hole, it cannot escape its push away from the singularity.


Traveling Through the Tunnel


The idea of traveling through a wormhole has invited many theories. Scientists believe that there would be immense amounts of radiation within the wormhole. Some people believe that wormholes, like black holes, would have a strong gravitational pull. Therefore a person traveling would literally be shredded to bits.

Wormholes are also regarded as highly unstable and are known to collapse. If anything is stuck inside a wormhole when it collapses, it would be destroyed almost instantly.

Time travel has always been associated with wormholes. According to the general theory of relativity, wormholes can create changes in time as well: they would alter the space-time fabric. A particle entering the wormhole would create a closed timelike curve, where time would move slower or at a different rate than the outside. One could even move forward or backward in time.


Do They Exist?


There is still no real evidence to prove the existence of wormholes. Although the idea of a wormhole seems to add up theoretically, physics says otherwise. A wormhole would be highly unstable and would collapse and disappear quickly. This poses an enormous problem as this makes wormholes nearly impossible to locate.

Stephen Hawking believes that if wormholes were to exist, they would be in the quantum form, that is, they would be extremely small. They would be too small and unstable. Therefore they would be tiny tunnels which open and close immediately, too small and too fast for any person to even detect its existence.   

Though astronomers have been searching for decades, the existence of wormholes is yet to be proved. They are persistently trying to detect gravitational disturbances in hopes of finding a tunnel which defies the laws of space and time. Till some solid evidence is discovered, wormholes will remain to be a hypothetical concept and it will continue to mystify astronomers and space enthusiasts for years to come.