Wormholes make for great science fiction. The greatest Star Trek of them all, Deep Space Nine, thrived on the fact that the greatest Star Trek villains of them all, the Dominion, made their way into the Federation’s part of the galaxy through a wormhole. And, of course, there is that other show that ripped off DS9’s idea. Is a wormhole more than just science fiction or is it real?
A wormhole at this point is as hypothetical as the concept of an James Cameron movie fraught with multiple levels of meaning. Yes, both could exist, but only one is probable and, well, it’s got nothing to do with terminators or poor little rich girls meeting rich little poor boys on board an ill-fated ship. The wormhole theory is based on the great human idea of the shortcut; a tunnel that connects two universes to another in such a way that one doesn’t have spend a billion lifetimes shutting around to get between the two. Albert Einstein was one half of the dynamic duo that led the way to the adoption of the possibility of the existence of wormholes. The other was a man named Nathan Rosen and they presented to the world the then-radical but now widely accepted idea that that time and space are curved and that the interior of a black hole could potentially open to reveal another universe. This idea is known today as the Einstein-Rosen bridge, but who wants to watch a Star Trek about a station in deep space that is sentinel over an Einstein-Rosen bridge?
Most people think of the wormhole as a tunnel connection two difference universes, but there is another possibility as well, perhaps infinitely more fascinating. What if this tunnel connected one universe, but two different places in time? In other words, a wormhole could just as easily connect us here in the early 21st century with our universe as it will look in the 27th century…or the 5th century before Christ. Either way it is an interesting idea well worth pursuing intellectually if not economically. Who wouldn’t like to step into a tunnel and wind up on the over side the universe or in a different universe or in the same universe but at a different time? Unfortunately, that may be impossible. Utterly impossible. Most scientists who even accept the concept that a wormhole could exist also posit the notion that if it does then it will only exist in a very fragile state and for not a terribly long time. Even worse, it could collapse upon any travelers at a moment’s notice.
I say if we find one, let’s test it with Dick Cheney.