Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teleportation


There are many methods by which I go about composing a blog post. 



One of them is to randomly Google a phrase or concept that deals with “this kind of thing.”  Today, I did just that with “teleportation.”



We’re all familiar with it, even if it’s through the consumption of fiction.  You’re standing in one place and then via sophisticated technological conveyance, you suddenly appear in another part of the globe.  How likely is that ever to be a reality?  Utterly improbable as the science goes, it would seem.



Or is it?  A search revealed this link from a news source that I typically avoid altogether.  It states that last year, Science magazine named teleportation the “biggest breakthrough of 2010.”  Quantum physicists at the University of California at Santa Barbara performed an experiment based on the theory that any object that exists in the universe also exists simultaneously in a parallel universe.  These researchers developed a device, “a tiny metal paddle just barely visible to the naked eye,” and then cooled it into a “ground state,” the lowest state of energy allowable according to quantum mechanics.  They then produced a vibration in the object to the point where it vibrated both a minor amount and a considerable amount all at the same time.  In other words, it existed in two states at once.  Thus, teleportation is found to be theoretically possible.



How, you might ask?  It’s quantum mechanics.  I have about as much understanding of that as I do string theory…which is to say I’m murky with it at best.  This U of C experiment was not, however, the end of work with teleportation.

Last April, researchers at the University of Tokyo were able to teleport light waves from one location to another.  Or rather, caused the waves to exist in two separate locations.  Granted, light is not matter (or is it? Whole ‘nother can of tuna) and the breaking down and reassembling of light is a far less complicated process than it would be for an object.  This is not to knock the success of the teleportation experiment.  Doing it with light is quite an achievement.  The transference of such data on a quantum level has massive implications for computers.  “Quantum computers,” if developed, would be able to operate on quantum mechanical algorithms, allowing for insanely fast computations.  It would mean a whole new world of data usage. 



Which is not to say we would be “beaming” ourselves or anything else to other locations any time soon.  I am actually ok with that fact.  As much a futurist as I am and as nice as it would be to travel anywhere instantaneously, I am not keen on the idea of something “scrambling my molecules.”  That is as someone else once put it.



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2 comments:

  1. Great post Jon.

    The 2010 experiment is pretty tame compared to what's coming in the future. However politics will get in the way. Here are some facts on the subject in case you're interested.

    http://futurefactoids.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/facts-about-teleportation/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you sir for the note! And I will indeed check out those links.

    ReplyDelete