The concept of a “wormhole” was first suggested by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen in 1935. According to them, it is a theoretical “bridge” through folded space-time that could provide a means of travelling vast distances in mere seconds.
A wormhole could be key to finding out what happens to information once it passes beyond the event horizon of a black hole, according to a new study by scientists from Cornell University and RIKEN in Japan.
“We discovered a new spacetime geometry with a wormhole-like structure that had been overlooked in conventional computations”, physicist Kanato Goto said. “Entropy computed using this new geometry gives a completely different result”.
According to Einstein’s general relativity theory, nothing that falls into a black hole can escape its clutches. In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking calculated that a black holes should emit radiation every time it consumes something, which led to a paradox: as a black hole is set to evaporate entirely at some point, so will the information about the contents it consumed. This would breach the fundamental rule of quantum physics that says information cannot disappear from the Universe.
“This suggests that general relativity and quantum mechanics as they currently stand are inconsistent with each other”, says Goto. “We have to find a unified framework for quantum gravity”.
It appears that black holes can mimic wormholes, thus providing an escape route for information – which, Goto noted, is not a wormhole in the real world, but rather a way to mathematically compute the entropy of the radiation.
“A wormhole connects the interior of the black hole and the radiation outside, like a bridge”, he said.
However, the basic mechanism allowing information to be carried away by the radiation remains unclear. According to Goto, “we need a theory of quantum gravity” in order to know more about how to resolve the black hole paradox.