A wormhole! What an amazing concept — a secret tunnel that connects two different regions of space! Could real ones exist? Could we — or our dogs — travel through them, and visit other galaxies billions of light years away, and come back to tell everyone all about it?
I bring up dogs because of a comment, quoted in the Guardian and elsewhere, by my friend and colleague, experimentalist Maria Spiropulu. Spiropulu is a senior author on the wormhole-related paper that has gotten so much attention in the past week, and she was explaining what it was all about.
- “People come to me and they ask me, ‘Can you put your dog in the wormhole?’ So, no,” Spiropulu told reporters during a video briefing. “… That’s a huge leap.”
For this, I can’t resist teasing Spiropulu a little. She’s done many years of important work at the Large Hadron Collider and previously at the Tevatron, before taking on quantum computing and the simulation of wormholes. But, oh my! The idea that this kind of research could ever lead to a wormhole that a dog could traverse… that’s more than a huge leap of imagination. It’s a huge leap straight out of reality!
What’s the problem?
Decades ago there was a famous comedian by the name of Henny Youngman. He told the following joke — which, being no comedian myself, I will paraphrase.
- I know a guy who wanted to set a mousetrap but had no cheese in his fridge. So he cut a picture of a piece of cheese from a magazine, and used that instead. Just before bed, he heard the trap snap shut, so he went to look. In the trap was a picture of a mouse.
Well, with that in mind, consider this:
- Imaginary cheese can’t catch a real mouse, and an imaginary wormhole can’t transport a real dog!