Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thor and the Einstein-Rosen Bridge

Relocation always takes a toll on one's life.  I am speaking from experience as this is my second move in 2 years.   Worst of all, the 9 to 5 in Hong Kong is sometimes like the 9 to 10, especially when you work in a foreign company and expected to do early morning or evening meetings with North America. As a result, I have lost a lot of blogging time. Luckily, I recently managed to squeeze in time to watch the movie Thor, in 3D!

I went to the movies not expecting any physics lessons, but Natalie Portman mentioned a number of astrophysics concepts, including the Einstein-Rosen Bridge that connected Asgard to Earth. In a layman's world, this bridge is more commonly known as a wormhole. A wormhole is essentially a warp in space-time, thus creating a shortcut for traversing between two physical points in space and time. Think of the analogy of drawing two points on a piece of paper placed on a table. When the paper is lying flat, the distance between the two points is X cm. If you start pushing the piece of paper and hence the points towards each other, you are essentially warping the piece of paper, and hence bringing the two points physically closer to each other (less than X cm). The newly created direct path between the two points is the bridge (or tunnel)

The applications of a wormhole will feast anyone's imagination. After all, who would not like travelling to the other end of the galaxy, see what is there, and be able to come back to Earth in a matter of days? While the theory is sound however, the power required to generate a wormhole presents a daunting road block. To create one of these astronomical marvels, one will need the energy of star, which is much more than anything humans have ever been able to harness in our entire history. Never say never however, because where there is a will, there is a way!


-PTS

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