We’ve all seen Star Trek, with its ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ moments (yes, I know it was never said in the original series, Mr Nerd of Ohio). People zapping from one place to another, via a special machine, with no ill-effects. It looks great, doesn’t it?
Matter transference, or teleportation as it is also known, is a common element of many a scifi TV series – but does it have any grounding in fact? Could we actually transfer ourselves from one place to another without having to travel the conventional, slow, way?
Well, you may be surprised to learn that recent discoveries in quantum theory suggest there may be a grain of truth in moving matter from one place to another without effort. Is this yet another instance of science fiction predicting science fact?
As mentioned briefly in my blog from May 27th, entitled Spooky Parallels, quantum theory has, for the first time in the history of physics, put forward some ideas which allow us to think seriously about things which up until recently would have been laughed out of the science lab.
Other worlds, multiverses, parallel universes, different planes of existence – suddenly, with experiments showing particles can exist in more than one place at the same time, they don’t seem so ridiculous after all. Our rules of physics, seemingly so concrete, seem to be getting more wibbly with each passing experiment.
Quantum entanglement has shown that, very simply put, related particles can be effected by each other, no matter how far away they are. In theory, that means in the distant future it may be possible to transfer the information from one set of particles to another set on the other side of the world.
Whether this means we can move something as complex as a human being without chopping off an arm or rearranging internal organs remains to be seen. But it certainly means the barriers to it happening are being broken down.
Maybe our great-great-grandchildren will be able to beam up after all.