Juan Martin Maldacena has made many and very original contributions to theoretical physics, ranging from string theories and black holes to systems that can be built in a laboratory.

Since man has explored almost the entire planet by land, sea and air, the challenge was located in the afterlife: the vast Universe is the goal. Spaceships, sophisticated as they are, are not enough. Voyager (the one that has gone the furthest) is only 19 light hours from the Sun. A fraction of the distance from the nearest star. Nothing in terms of the immeasurable space. How to get to the stars is the big question.

But now, in theory at least, this could be possible. The Argentine physicist Juan Maldacena of the Institute for Advanced Studies of the School of Natural Sciences of Princeton, along with his colleague Alexey Milekhin of the Department of Physics of the Princeton University are not Tony and Douglas (the travelers of the well-remembered series The Tunnel of Time ), but they have described how a human being could travel into the future. The 17-page work they both published is called « Human-traversable wormholes » and open the game to illusion.

Wormholes are basically two black holes connected to each other. It is something that for now has not been discovered, and it was considered that it was impossible to cross them: whoever enters through one, could not exit through the other. As you know, So far in our universe it is not possible to go through wormholes because its stability would depend on the existence of « exotic matter » (this is beyond the liquid, gaseous or solid states).

In your work, Maldacena and Milekhin challenge that and point out that someone could enter through one mouth, exit through another and return to the starting point. In principle, they argue that the theory of quantum physics allows these trips, although they warn that this has “a trap, the time it takes to go through the wormhole should be longer than the time it takes to travel between the two mouths on the outside ”. A fact that science fiction omits.

One of the graphics of Maldacena and Milekhin’s work. A) shows the mouth of a single wormhole. B), the geometry of the wormhole connected by two throats that join.

Now, they explain, “we revise the question and get involved in some ‘science fiction’. We will introduce a ‘dark sector’ with desirable properties to construct macroscopic traversable wormholes. This ‘dark sector’ only interacts by gravity with the Standard Model. Our main point is to emphasize the coherence of such wormholes with the laws of physics as we currently know it, using only previous ideas for physics beyond the Standard Model. In particular, we will use a version of the Randall-Sundrum model ”. This model was enunciated by the scientists Lisa Randall and Raman Sundrum and tries to explain – in a few words – the dimensions of the universe. In classical physics there are up to four. They say that there are more than ten, and that they are uncountable. In addition, they question gravity, saying that it is not a force but another dimension.

« This model – Maldacena and Milekhin continue- it allows for wormholes large enough that they could be humanly traversed. Using them, one could travel in less than a second between distant points in our galaxy. A second for the observer going through the wormhole would be tens of thousands of years for someone looking at this outside. « 

Of course, for this to happen and the « trip » to be superluminal (faster than light), they need « negative energy ». They explain in their work that “if we send too much positive energy we will collapse the wormhole… to keep the wormhole open, we need Casimir’s negative energy « . And they add that « if these wormholes were in an empty flat space, with zero temperature, they could exist for a time and be passable. »

In dialogue with Infobae, Maldacena added other concepts.

-Until now, it was thought that if one entered a black hole connected to another by a wormhole, it could not get out. Why can we now say that you can travel between two black holes?

-Because there is a certain interaction between the two objects, this interaction prevents the formation of the black hole horizon and makes this wormhole (or tunnel) traversable.

– Do these « passages » exist in the universe?

-No, I don’t think they exist in our universe. What we are discussing is a mathematical solution to a particular theory. But our universe is probably not described by this theory. Even if it is, it would probably be a very difficult configuration to produce, both in natural and artificial form.

-What would that « trip » be like?

-From the outside, the configuration would seem similar to a black hole, but when falling inside one ends up leaving through another second object, also similar to a black hole.


-Is this verified microscopically?

-Not. This is simply a mathematical exercise. The aim was to show that these objects are compatible with the principles of relativity and relativistic quantum mechanics. But they require a type of matter that respects these principles, but we do not know if it exists or not in reality. It probably doesn’t exist. Previously we had written another article where there was a « tunnel » or « wormhole » that would be possible with the matter we know, but it would be very small, microscopic in size. So it will serve to travel anywhere. It would also be very difficult to produce.

-For a human being to be transported, what conditions should these « wormholes » have?

-They must be large enough so that gravitational forces do not kill us.

-You explain that the « mouths » of the wormholes should be 10 thousand km wide. Why so big?

-One would think that if the mouths were bigger than one, that’s it. However, when spacetime has a curvature there are gravitational forces that would stretch or compress us. They are similar to the forces that generate tides on earth. The size of 10,000km comes from asking that these forces be small enough so that they do not stretch us too much.

-What would happen to the person who enters? Could I come back? And in that case, when he returned, would he find the same world he left behind?

-It would take about 20,000 years to go back and forth, from the point of view of someone who stayed here. But for the traveler it would be a much shorter time, let’s say a few hours.

-Why, if someone could return, they say that one could only travel to the future and not to the past?

-They say that you travel to the future because the effect is simply that the traveler does not age, like everyone who stays outside, for him or her. A similar effect occurs when someone travels very fast, at speeds close to the speed of light (and is sometimes called the « twin paradox », although it is not a paradox, but a real effect). Traveling to the future is compatible with the laws of physics as we know them, but not to the past.

-Do you think these trips will happen in the future?

-Not. They are simply a theoretical possibility.

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