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Wormholes and Quantum Entanglement One and the Same

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Dec 04, 2013 05:03 PM EST
Black holes connected by wormhole
Quantum entanglement may be linked to the hypothetical shortcuts through space-time known as wormholes, researchers from the University of Washington suggest in a new study. Pictured here: a wormhole connecting two black holes. (Photo : Alan Stonebraker/American Physical Society)

Quantum entanglement may be linked to the hypothetical shortcuts through space-time known as wormholes, researchers from the University of Washington suggest in a new study.

Published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the report proposes a possible bridge between quantum mechanics and classical geometry -- "two different mathematical mathematical machineries to go after the same physical process," according to co-author and physics professor Andreas Karch.

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Called by Albert Einstein "spooky action at a distance," quantum entanglement refers to when a pair or a group of particles are connected in such a way that the behavior of one affects the behavior of the others. For example, if one particle has a specific spin, the other will adopt the opposite spin regardless of how much distance is placed between them, be it feet or light years.

Wormholes were first proposed in 1935 when Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen concluded that general relatively allowed for the possibility of "bridges" connecting two separate points in space-time.

According to recent research, the characteristics of a wormhole mirror those of two entangled black holes, which can vary in size from a single atom to many times larger than the Sun. Regardless of its size, however, a black hole's gravitational pull is so strong not even light can escape its grasp. If two black holes were entangled, a person on the outside of the opening of one would be unable to see or communicate with someone located outside the opening of the other.

"The way you can communicate with each other is if you jump into your black hole, then the other person must jump into his black hole, and the interior world would be the same," Karch said.

The new study, which corroborates one carried out by Princeton's Juan Martin Maldacena and Stanford's Leanoard Susskind, indicates that entanglement and wormholes "are equivalent descriptions of the same physics." the authors wrote.

According to Karch, "We've just followed well-established rules people have known for 15 years and asked ourselves, 'What is the consequence of quantum entanglement?'"

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