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The Sound of Science - 'How do worm holes work?'

NIU STEAM
NIU STEAM

The Sound of Science - 'how do worm holes work?'

Welcome to The Sound of Science from WNIJ and NIU STEAM. It’s a weekly series explaining important STEM concepts. Today’s hosts are Jeremy Benson and Newt Likier.

We have a question here from Alli, who asks “How do worm holes work?”

This is a hard one to answer because everything we know about worm holes right now is theoretical, even down to whether they exist! But if we assume that they’re out there, we can start thinking about them with the help of Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen. Their equations interpret space itself as moving toward a gravity source, not just the objects in it.

Imagine you have a chair sitting on top of a rug. If you pull the edge of the rug, the chair moves toward you. In this example, the rug is space, and the chair is literally anything that exists in space. So, space moves objects around, but those objects don’t necessarily move through space. If the rug of space time itself gets pulled into a black hole, could it come back out somewhere else, like pulling a towel through a ring?

Einstein and Rosen theorized that white holes could exist as an opposite to black holes. While a black hole sucks space time in, white holes would theoretically spit it back out. If a black hole were connected to a white hole, then something could plausibly enter the black hole and exit through the white hole.

Even if a bridge between two points in space time exists, we aren’t sure objects could cross that bridge. It’s very possible that anything that enters the black hole is just obliterated by the crushing force of gravity. Worse than that, since this bridge would be very unstable, anything that tries to cross could very well cause it to collapse.

In the 1970s, physicists worked out a theoretical way to stabilize a worm hole. However, their solution requires something with negative mass, and just like white holes, an object with negative mass has never been observed.

But just because we don’t have evidence of it yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

This has been The Sound of Science on WNIJ, where you learn something new every day.

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