All Episodes

May 10, 2022 50 mins

Daniel and Jorge talk about whether loopholes and wormholes will let you escape black holes.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:08):
Hey, hoor hey, I thought of a new genre of movies.
Oh nice, Does it involve banana punts? Sadly, no, I'm
thinking of a mashup of science fiction in your classic
bank heist genre. Oh you mean you want to steal
some science fiction books? Or is it mostly about portraying

(00:30):
physicists as cool thieves. I'm thinking about thieves that use
science fiction to steal stuff, like opening a wormhole into
a bank vault. Don't doesn't Marvel do that already? Marvel
does everything. The wizards count as scientists more. Instead of
being a science thieve, you could maybe use science fiction
to protect your valuable stuff. Oh I like that. Maybe

(00:51):
I could hide all my gold inside a black hole. Yeah.
You might never see it, but it'll be safe. At
least I'll know that it's growing in there. Yeah. I
guess it's a crewing, isn't it. It's a creating interest.
It's compounding for sure. Hi. I'm or handmade cartoonists and

(01:20):
the creator of PhD comics. Hi, I'm Daniel. I'm a
particle physicist and a professor at UC Irvine, And sadly,
I have no skills that can contribute to a bank
heist and not even driving. You can't drive. You could
be the getaway driver on a spaceship. Maybe I'm a
very very safe driver, so I'd be like stopping at
all the crosswalks, you know, observing all the traffic rules. Yeah, yeah,

(01:42):
you're fired, Daniel. From my high stand, I can't say
I'm sorry about that. But wouldn't physicists be good at
planning to heist? You know? Aren't you good at like,
you know, thinking things through and being analytical and you know,
being detailed oriented. Yeah, I can make a university budget
for our bank heist that includes like head rate and
stretches out over five years. That sounds great. Yeah, Or

(02:04):
you could write the grand proposal for startup ones, you know,
to the mafia. What experts are they going to get
to review that? They're all in jail, you know, so
they're easy to get to. You could apply to the
National Stealing Foundation. But anyways, welcome to our podcast Daniel
and Jorge Explain the Universe, a production of I Heart
Radio in which we attempt to steal all of the

(02:26):
jewels of knowledge that the universe has hidden away here
and there we take your mind to the inside of
black holes. We dropped them through wormholes and do crazy
new locations in the universe. We try to snatch all
the juicy tidbits that explain how the universe actually works,
have it got to be the way that it is,
and what it's crazy future holds, and we explain all

(02:48):
of them to you. Yeah, because it is a pretty
amazing universe full of incredible and valuable discoveries out there
just sitting there, just waiting for a crafty physicist to
crack the safe and get to all the shiny knowledge.
I like thinking of the secrets of the universe as valuable,
like I could auction them off as n f T
s or something. You would profit from the East, Daniel,

(03:10):
You wouldn't just be like a robbin hood physicist where
you steal from the universe and then you you distributed
to people in need. Well, that's the really cool thing
about knowledge is that if you share it with people,
it doesn't get diluted. Right, have a pile of gold
and you give half of it to somebody, you have
as much gold. But if you know the secrets of
the universe and you share it with somebody, then you
have somebody to talk to about it. So it's like

(03:31):
even more valuable, right, But then if you make it
into n f T that's the opposite of that. That's
why I wouldn't turn the secret to the universe into
n f T s. That's why we share them freely
on this podcast. Yeah, and that's why we don't make
a lot of money, I guess, because this podcast is
for free, because making money is not the goal here.
The goal is to celebrate knowledge. That's right. This podcast

(03:53):
is a steal in itself. You are stealing knowledge from
our brains. You stole my punch line then. But it
is a pretty incredible universe full of interesting places, and
some places are sort of harder to get to than others.
In fact, there are places in the universe that might
be impossible to get to or at least to get
knowledge out of. Yes, the jewels of knowledge and not

(04:16):
just littered on the streets. They are sometimes hard to find,
and you actually do need a physicist or two on
your team Oceans thirteen or Oceans nineteen or whatever the
sequel will be in order to extract those jewels from
the universe. Sometimes you just have to perform a clever experiment.
Sometimes it seems like the universe is doing its best
to keep its jewels hidden from us. Yeah, and Daniel,

(04:39):
how many people work in your collaboration at the Large
Chundren Collider? Like a few thousand? You know, I'm not
even sure what the number is to within a hundred.
It's somewhere between five thousand and six thousand authors on
every single paper I see. So your sequel would be
Oceans five thousand, five hundred plus or minus five hundred.
Your movie title needs an error? Are that's right? What's

(05:01):
another hundred authors on a paper anyway? Really? Between friends? Yeah?
Though sometimes it seems like, no matter how many henchmen
you have in your gang m it seems that the
nature sort of like you're saying, it has places in
the universe that it just doesn't seem to want to
let you get to. And it's especially tantalizing and frustrating
when we know the secret is in there, when we

(05:22):
have found this physics vault and we just don't know
how to crack it. We know that the answers are
waiting behind a wall, and if we could only get
in there, we could learn something deep and true about
the universe, like the Ultimate Heist. I am warming up
to this movie idea. It's starting to seem interesting sci

(05:43):
fi heist doctor Strange's ocean. Well, I think one of
these places that are really hard to get to the universe,
as you mentioned, are black holes. Black Holes are extremely
difficult to get to or at least survive getting into,
and maybe even impossible to get anything out of. And
yet we know that hidden inside a black hole are

(06:06):
critical details that will reveal to us the true nature
of space and time. How does space come together? Is
gravity a quantum force or the curvature of space time?
What is the smallest unit of space? What is actually
going on inside a black hole? All of those answers
are available to anyone who falls into a black hole. Yeah,

(06:27):
but just to be clear, Daniel, it's not like you
go into a black hole and it's all there on
a textbook or you know, a sign. It's like you
want to get into a black hole just so you
can do experiments there and then see what you know
these how these rules of the universe change inside of
one experiments. I'm expecting a ted talk when I get
there by by the physicists that I threw in before me.

(06:50):
That's what I have students and post docs for right. Right,
I thought you were going in first, Daniel, I'm never
going in first. You know that when the aliens arrive,
we're sending other people first. I'm gonna be in like
the fifth wave. Another reason why I'm not in a
bank heist. That's right, you just want to sit at
home and count the knowledge later. But you're right that
the secrets of the universe are not just laid out

(07:12):
for us in an already written paper or a ted talk.
We would have to do some observations, but I don't
think it would be that tricky. There are some really
big questions that different ideas about what might be going
on inside a black hole are extremely diverse from there's
a tiny singularity of infinite density too. There is nothing
inside a black hole because everything's smeared along its surface,

(07:32):
and so a lot of things could be very quickly
ruled out once you get inside. I wonder if it's
possible for you to get into a black hole, get
ready to do your experiments, and to figure out that
you didn't bring the right equipment. Are you You just
have no idea how to test for these things? Yeah, well,
people can always throw stuff in after you go right.
So if I ever go to a black hole, I
would just want my students to just keep throwing equipment

(07:54):
in after me in case I need more stuff, just
in case, because he wouldn't be able to like tell
them possibly what you need, right, you know, as computers
get better, I want them to just keep throwing in
more computers so I keep doing more analysis. Also, maybe
some lunch, you know, a little s q to table
would be nice. Maybe a bed might be good too.

(08:16):
But yeah, it's interesting to think about what's inside of
a black hole, and it's sort of frustrating to think
that even if you do get in, and even if
you bring the right equipment and do the right experiments
and figure out how the universe actually works, you might
not be able to come out and tell other people.
It's incredibly frustrating. You know, there are some kinds of
knowledge that we know are out there. We also know

(08:37):
that eventually we'll get them, Like, for example, what's going
on on the surface of exoplanets fairly nearby. We don't
have the technology today, but eventually we'll have powerful telescopes
to image those services, will send robotic probes. We'll figure
it out. We might even get some samples returned in
the far far future. But black holes are so much
more frustrating because it seems like it might actually be

(09:00):
impossible to get the information out of there, or maybe
not according to the theory. Black holes are space time
I don't wish you can't get out of but there
are sort of loopholes in the theory that might let
you come out. I love loopholes in physics theory. Instead
of being like a physics bank heist, sometimes I want
to be a physics lawyer, want to argue in front

(09:20):
of the court of the universe, like actually your honor
it says here. I think you mean actually your honor
according to uh this paper from thirty years ago. And hey,
we do discover these loopholes, and sometimes these loopholes are
really important. Like we all know that you can't travel
faster than the speed of light. On the other hand,
it seems like it might be theoretically possible for things

(09:43):
to move away from each other faster than the speed
of light if the space between them expands. It's an
awesome kind of loophole because it solves the problem. You
don't actually want to travel through space faster than light.
You just want to get somewhere faster than light could have.
So that's a really wonderful kind of loophole in the
kind that we might be able to use to crack
open a black hole. Yeah, because space is but a

(10:04):
pretty a pretty interesting thing. It's not just like an
emptiness out there. It's it's sort of this thing that
can squish and may bend and sometimes maybe even have
shortcuts in it. It's a really difficult concept for people
to grasp. I think a lot of people are still
stuck with sort of Isaac Newton's idea of space is
like the emptiness to backdrop the stage on which the
universe happens, not actually a part of the universe, but now,

(10:26):
as you say, we know it's a dynamical thing that
responds to the stuff that's in it. Yeah, and in
particular it sort of allows for two things that may
let you come out of a black hole. And those
two things are warp drives and wormholes, which I'm still
waiting Daniel for you guys to make it a reality. Well,
I sent that grant application to the Daniel Science Foundation

(10:47):
into the National Thieves Foundation, and I'll let you know
when I hear no it's a national stealing foundation. That's
why wrong email address. But you're right that these are
theoretically allowed in the universe. General relativity in our knowledge
of physics says that it might be possible to shortcut

(11:09):
to places in space to get from one to the
other without going through all the space in between. That's
a wormhole, or to squeeze space in front of you
and expand it behind you to create a warp bubble
and get places faster than light could have. That's a
warp drive. They might be theoretically be allowed. Yeah, And
we've talked about both of those things in our podcast.

(11:31):
If you're interested in going deeper, you can search for
those episodes, but we didn't sort of talk about maybe
using them to get out of a black hole. And
a lot of folks out there have been writing in
asking me if it's possible to use warp drives and
wormholes as a loophole into black holes. And so today
on the podcast we'll be tackling can you escape a

(11:56):
black hole with a warp drive or warmhole? Now, Daniel,
are people asking you this because they're thinking of going
to a black hole or are they stuck in a
black hole? And if they're stuck in a black hole,
how did they get the message to you? I got
this weird email with no return address you. It's just
like emptiness from like three trillion years ago. No, I

(12:17):
think people are planning their vacations, and you know, they
want to think about what happens with my family and
I fall into that black hole, and you've got to
be prepared. You know, some people are really safety conscious,
like how many people can I bring back? And can
I you know, maybe leave some of them behind and
hopefully No, that's kinda that's kind of dark. I think
listeners are really curious about this seeming impenetrability. Anytime you

(12:40):
hear about something being totally impossible in physics, it makes
you wonder if there's not just like another clever angle
or some loophole to exploit. And of course we're all
curious about what's inside black holes, and so if you
found a way to siphon off that information, it would
be pretty fascinating. Yeah, and so this is pretty mind
bending and space bending stuff. You know, black holes bend

(13:02):
space a lot, and warp drives and warmholes also bend space.
So you know, I can I can see how people
might think like, hey, what if I use one to
solve the other? And so we were wondering how many
people had thought about this possible combination of things black holes,
warp drives, and wormholes, and how they can be used
together or used against each other. So Daniel went out

(13:22):
there into the wilds to the internet to ask people
this question. And thanks very much to all of you
who volunteered to answer crazy, unexpected questions about loopholes in
general relativity without any chance to prepare or take a
graduate level class in advance. And if that sounds fun
to you, please don't be shy. Right to me two
questions at Daniel and Jorge dot com and I'll set

(13:44):
you up with some crazy questions. So think about it
for a second. Do you think you can escape a
black hole with a warp drive or warmhole? Here, it's
what people had to say. I'm not really sure how
a warp drive works, but if you are changing the
shape of space or of space time, then it seems
like you could get yourself into position where the gravity

(14:06):
of the black hole doesn't hold you as tightly as
it does in normal space. Well, for sure, Jean Lopeicar
would try to use the warp drive, depending will how
close we would be to the black hole. But if

(14:27):
we are in the no escape area where the light
doesn't go out, I don't see how we can get
out of there. I think even if your maths and
simulations tell you in some way to escape a black hole,
the fact that you've been spaghettified is going to slow

(14:47):
you down to some extent. I don't think you could
use a wormhole, but I'm pretty sure you could use
a warp drive. I think a warp drive would do it.
But unfortunately I can't tell you why. I think at
because of the prime directive. Well, since warp drives are
fantasy at this point and wormholes are theoretical at best,

(15:12):
I would say no, you cannot because we do not
know much about these modes of travel. I am gonna
say no because I don't think anything can escape a
black hole. All right. Not a lot of optimism here.
Some people are like, Nope, Nope, I don't think so.
I like the person who said John looked the card

(15:33):
when he us a warp drive. I think that could
be a good life philosophy. You know what, would John
looked the card? Do? Yeah? And it made me wonder.
I've seen a lot of episodes of star Chek the
Next Generation, but I don't remember one where they fall
into a black hole and use a warp drive to escape.
Even on that show where the science is like, how
can we say very flexible, I don't remember them using

(15:54):
this particular trick. Oh. Interesting, they didn't make it so,
But of course there's probably a listener out there who's
seen every episode ten times and can correct me. So
if the Enterprise he uses a warp drive to escape
a black hole, please send us a note. I think
they used to in one of the movies. Didn't they
use something to sling shot, like around some of the

(16:15):
sun or something, and then to go faster than light
and travel back in time. It wasn't that a plot
of one of the movies. Yeah, they did go back
to present day San Francisco to save the humpback whales
and one of them, and they did that by going
faster than the speed of light to go back in time.
But I don't think a wormhole or warp drive was used. Yeah.
I guess a warp drive is pretty normal for them,

(16:35):
Like they just have one in their ship. Everybody has one. Yeah,
which makes you wonder why do they need to sling
shot around the Sun in order to go fast in
the speed of light when they got the warp drive
right there. But as we say, the science is flexible.
I see, it's a black hole of real science. No,
I love that show. You don't have to be all
hard science fiction. Have a good time, but it does
help right, that more fun. It's a different kind of universe,

(16:57):
and I like all the universes, from the true physics
universe as we actually live in to the crazy goofy
universe of Star Trek. Yeah. Alright, well, let's get into
this question, Daniel. Can we use a warm hole or
warp drive to get out of a black hole? Maybe
step us through this first? Why is it hard to
get out of a black hole in the first place?
Black Holes are hard to escape because they do more

(17:19):
than just pull on you. Everything that has gravity is
pulling on you, like the Sun is pulling on you,
the Earth is pulling on you. Black Holes are a
great example of how gravity is more than just a force.
It's actually the changing of the shape and the organization
of space itself. So the reason that we feel gravity
is not because there's a Newtonian force between stuff. But

(17:40):
because having mass in space changes the shape of space,
and when the shape of space changes, you get this
fictitious forces, a feeling that there's a force there changing
the paths of particles. And that's what gravity is. It's
a fictitious force which appears when space is curved, and
black holes are the most incredibly intense curvature. They change

(18:02):
the shape of space so much that space becomes one
directional inside the black hole. Every future you have inside
a black hole only moves you closer to the center. Yeah,
it's like being sort of trapped in a bubble of space.
Although Daniel, just to be clear, Um, I know that
the gravity as as a space time bending thing is
sort of the prevailing view, But like you were saying

(18:23):
at the there are some questions about gravity that we
still don't know, right, Like, there's still the possibility that
gravity is a force and it has a forced particle.
That's the description we get from general relativity, which so
far has survived every experimental test we've thrown at it,
even really really precise ones about the warping of space
and frame dragging. Check out our episode on gravity Probe B.

(18:47):
It's predicted the existence of black holes, which appeared. However,
the place where we expect general relativity to break down
is when it gets really really intense over really really
short distances, when quantum gravity becomes relevant, when we need
to understand how quantum particles interact gravitationally, for example, inside
a black hole. So the best place to figure out

(19:08):
why general relativity is probably wrong is inside a black hole.
So you're right, this description of gravity as a bending
of space time is very effective, but it is a
classical theory and is likely incorrect. It's the new classical theory,
I guess, because there's a previous classic. There's like a
classic classic theory, which is a Newtonian view. Right, that's right.
But by classical we don't mean the old delicious formula

(19:30):
that you loved when you were a kid. We mean
that it's not quantum mechanical. General relativity as we use
it assumes that space is smooth and continuous, there's an
infinite number of locations between every two points, that objects
have perfect paths, that if they are here and then
they are there, they must have followed a path in between.
But we know the universe is different from that. We

(19:51):
have strong evidence that quantum mechanics is the nature of
space time. We just don't know how to unify those pictures. Yeah,
it's it's sort of like the neoclassical view now, because
we know that there might be big changes coming soon. Yeah,
and specifically, general relativity predicts at the heart of a
black hole is a singularity. But it's not really fair
to call it a prediction. It's more like a failure.

(20:12):
General relativity predicts something which is essentially impossible and infinitely
dense point, so most theorists see this as the breakdown
of general relativity. This is the point where general relativity
no longer works and has to be replaced by a
quantum theory. So it's not like we really expect there
to be a singularity at the heart of these black
holes because that's what Einstein predicted. We expect to find

(20:34):
something else which helps us change general relativity, which shows
us how to refine it and extend it so that
it does apply to those crazy circumstances. But I guess
even before you get to that singularity, a black hole
is such that even if you get near it, you're
sort of trapped inside of it. If you get beyond
the event horizon of the black hole. You're saying that
there's like nowhere for you to go because all of

(20:57):
space time sort of curves around you, and anywhere you
try to go, it just pulls you closer to the center. Yeah,
and people think about the inside of a black hole
as this barrier past the event horizon. Remember, the event
horizon is not like a physical place. It's not like
there's a gate there with some guard locks you in
and says you can't leave. It's just an effective location.

(21:18):
It's just if you venture past this point, then your
light cone, your future, everything that you can affect in
the universe is now trapped inside this radius around the
black hole. So it's sort of like a point of
no return. It's like if you're trying to drive fast
around an icy turn. You know, when you've lost traction
and you're just not going to make it and you're
gonna slide out. That's the point of no return. The

(21:40):
event horizon is sort of like that you got a
little too close and now all of space is leading
you eventually towards the center. Yeah. I think it also
it's kind of like if you're trapped in a pit
on the ground, and it's it's sort of like the
point where the walls of the pit get go beyond vertical,
Like once they're vertical or more than vertical or leaning
towards you, there's almost no way you can climb out.

(22:02):
And so, according to classical general relativity, everything that happens
inside the event horizon eventually hits the singularity, and there's
no way for information to pass out of the event horizon,
including you or any signals you want to send, or
any notes or ted talks you compose while you're inside
the black hole, yeah, or any science fiction novels or
TV shows that you come up within there. All right,

(22:25):
So that's a black hole, and so theoretically it's all
sort of impossible to get out of it, or so
we thought. There are sort of loopholes to this theory
that might let you get out, maybe a warm hole
or a warp drive, and so let's get into whether
or not we can use them to get out of
a black hole. But first let's take a quick break.

(22:55):
All right, Daniel, help, I'm stuck inside of a black hole?
What can I do? And if you can hear me,
you're probably in here with me, in which case. Uh,
we're both doing exactly. That's never the phone call I
want to get. The call is coming from inside the
black hole. You're inside the black hole too. That's the
combination sci fi horror movie genre. Yeah, well, there you go.

(23:17):
That's the first scene in your movie. Somebody has to
steal us out of the black hole. It's a rescue
movie exactly, which is what John goes, Well, WHOA, now
we can cast the Rock. I would rather put my
faith in the Rock's hand and John Cena, I don't know.
How about uh boy, who would win in an armed
wrestling contest or a physics test? The Rock for sure?

(23:44):
How about both? We could get them both in the movie.
But one of them could play you, the other one
could play me. I think you have an over density
of muscle and you might create your own black hole,
and then it would be counterproductive. They'll have to diet.
Maybe you're stopped working out. But I'm curious about your
suggest in there. If you had to choose, who would
you prefer plays you in the movie, The Rock or

(24:05):
John Cina or the Rock for sure? Yeah, you're gonna
shave your head, So if you can play I think
it'd be easier to get him a wig. But either way,
I guess we would need one of their help to
get out of the black hole, because black holes are
almost maybe impossible to get out of, except that maybe
there's the idea that we could use a loophole in
the theory, one or two loopholes, either a warmhole or

(24:26):
a warp drive. So maybe let's go through him one
at a time. Daniel, Um, how does the warp drive
even work? So warp drive is a really cool idea,
and let me stress that it's theoretical. We have these
equations that suggest it might be possible, but there's a
whole lot of question marks and engineering hurdles to overcome
before we actually build a warp drive and use it

(24:47):
to shoot off and explore the universe. The basic idea
is that if you can manipulate the curvature of space,
you might be able to accomplish what you want, which
is to get from here to somewhere really really far
away without having to travel through all of that space.
And the idea is that space is flexible, and so
for example, if you can squeeze the space between here

(25:10):
and your destination and at the same time expand the
space behind you. You can effectively move a little bubble
of space faster than the speed of light, because while
there are rules about how fast you can go through space,
there are no rules about how fast the curvature of
space can change. Yeah, so this is kind of one
flavor of war drives. You know, it's it's all sort

(25:32):
of fantastical at this point in theoretical and there are
many different ways to kind of pull off a war drive, right,
I mean, we talked about this in one of the
chapters in our book. Freaquently asked questions about the universe. Yeah,
there are lots of crazy ideas out there. I think
the one that's closest too plausible is called the al
Qbair drive, named after a Mexican physicist who came up
with this idea. He discovered that there's a solution to

(25:54):
Einstein's equations for general relativity which can accomplish this. So
if you could bend space in this way, then theoretically
you could take a little bubble and warp it across
the universe. The question at the end of his paper, though,
is can you bend space in this way? You know,
Einstein's equations are very tough to solve, and it's not

(26:14):
always clear that you can accomplish this kind of curvature
just because you want to WHOA Okay. First of all,
if you're interested in learning about all the other crazy
ideas for warp drives, please check out our book Frequently
Asked Questions about the Universe and b there's an actual
paper where someone proposes a warp drive. Is this like
a sub genre of physics papers? This is a sub

(26:36):
genre of physics papers, and it's one that's growing recently.
People are working on all sorts of crazy stuff exploring
the potential consequences for faster than light travel or closed
timelike curves. In general relativity, a lot of people are
exploring sort of the edges of the fabric of gr
what it can predict and how it can be manipulated.
This is a paper that came out more than ten

(26:56):
years ago, so it's been around for a while. Oh man,
that means that somebody has had ten is to be
working on this. This is not the fringe, right, This
is sort of like between the mainstream and the fringe.
But these ideas are being taken seriously, and I mean
this paper is correct. If you could bend space in
this way. It would accomplish that, but you know, of course,
there's no guarantee that you can bend space in this way.

(27:17):
Einstein's equations say if you have an arrangement of matter
and energy in a certain way, they tell you how
space bends. This is sort of going the opposite direction.
It says, Oh, I want space to bend this way,
what arrangement of mass and energy do I need? And unfortunately,
the answer and the paper is you need some weird
stuff like negative energy matter like matter with negative mass,

(27:38):
which we don't know if it exists in the universe. Well, okay,
let's take a step back though first and maybe step
through this idea so that you're saying that one way
to do a warp drive is to somehow, like if
I want to get from here to another star, one
way to do that is to squish, like move forward,
but squish the space in front of me so that

(27:58):
it's smaller, shorter, so that if I take like one step,
I'm actually going ten thousand steps or something like that.
And in the meantime, to like make up for it,
I have to expand the space behind me, because I'll
step through this crunch space, and then I have to
let it go back to normal behind me. Well, you
don't want to actually step through the scrunch space because
then you get torn apart by these tidal forces. But

(28:21):
what you can do is have a little bubble, and
that bubble can get closer to your destination. So imagine,
for example, you step into our work bubble and then
you squeeze the space between you and Alpha centauri and
then you step out of the work bubble. It's sort
of like stepping onto a moving walkway. So you step
sideways into the bubble, you can press the space in

(28:41):
front of you, and then you step sideways out of
the bubble again. So you're saying the bubble moves. It's
the bubble moves. Yes, So you don't actually go through
crunch space. You don't go through crunch space. You don't
want to. Like that space is extraordinarily curved and you
would feel very strong forces. So in this version the
warp bubble, you don't actually go through crunch. The bubble
itself moves right. And space can do this kind of thing.

(29:04):
Space can distort, it can bend, you can twist, you
can get reconnected, all sorts of crazy stuff. I see
like you sort of. I guess I'm controlled visualizing this bubble.
So like, inside the bubble is regular space that is
comfortable for me. But just outside of the bubble, you're
saying space is crunch and then somehow the bubble moves,

(29:24):
but I do to move, or the bubble moves, but
I stay in place. That's right. You have an inertial
frame inside the bubble, so you're not moving relative to
the bubble, but the bubble is moving relative to the
rest of space. And that's accomplished also because there's a
part of space behind you that's expanding. So that's what
this bubble does, is it compresses the space in front
of you and expands the space behind you. I don't

(29:47):
need to move, like, wouldn't the bubble move away from
me or past me? You're inside the bubble and so
you have no velocities, no forces on you relative to
the bubble. The whole bubble moves, including you. WHOA, it's
almost um. I guess you're trying to go on a
train track and you're what you're like, you're scrunching all
the tracks in front of you. Yes, it's a lot

(30:07):
like sitting on a train. Right on a train, you
don't move relative to the train. The train moves relative
to the track. So that's what you're trying to accomplish here.
I see, the bubble is a train, and space is
a track, and I'm scrunching the track in front of
the train, and then the train moves through the scrunch space.
And one complication is, of course, how do you get
space to scrunch in front of you and to expand

(30:29):
behind you, because it has to scrunch ahead of you
before you get there. And here's a key problem is
that you inside the bubble can't do anything to the
universe outside the bubble while you're inside. So if you
need space to be scrunched in front of you, you
need some sort of space scrunching device in front of
you which either has to travel faster than the speed
of light. If you know how to do that already,

(30:51):
you don't need a war bubble, or you need to
like lay a track and advance somebody's like go before
you and build the space crunching track between you and
alpha centaur, you know, or to accomplish this scrunching right, Oh,
I get it, yeah, Because you're in the train moving
like you can't reach out, like you can't have an
arm sticking out of the train ahead at like seventy
miles ahead of you and scrunch the tracks in front

(31:13):
of you. Because if you get an arm out that far,
you might as well just hop on the arm and
go forward. Maybe the rock can do that, right, Yeah,
with the help of John Cena, one of them could
toss the other. There you go. Now it's a train
highest Rescue movie. Throw John Cena from the train. Yeah. Okay,

(31:34):
So you're saying, in this version of a warp drive,
which is kind of like the front runner in terms
of the theory in the community, you kind of have
to like build a track ahead of time, sort of
like a like a tunnel almost in space before you
can war drive. It's not like you can just warp
drive anywhere. You have to lay down this magical track. Yeah,
it's sort of like a hyperloop. And let's clarify, Like

(31:56):
the idea that's out there is if you can bend
space in this way, you can move a warp bubble
through space. The question is, then how do you bend
space in this way? And one idea people have is
make this basically like hyperloop train track that bends space
and find matter with negative energy density to bend the
space behind you. There might be other ways to accomplish

(32:16):
this curvature. That's just one idea how to accomplish this
particular curvature of space that would effectively give you a
warp bubble. But I guess I would this work. So
let's say we lay out this hyperloop or warp drive
loop from period of office and TORI, and along the
this tunnel there's some sort of like device or material
that somehow like puts out negative mass energy. Is that

(32:38):
what you're saying. Yeah, the whole warp bubble needs to
be surrounded by weird negative energy density to separate the
bubble from the rest of the universe so we can
move faster than light. There's a strange connection between negative
energy density and faster than light travel. But the theorists
tell me that this is not something that's actually well

(32:58):
understood even theoretically, and we have no idea how to
make something with negative energy density anyway. Right, But but
I guess what I'm saying is that it would need
to be somehow selectively activated, right like this tunnel would
need to be lined with this negative energy matter or generators,
and then you need to sort of like activate them

(33:18):
as your bubble goes along. I think that's true, because
what you want is space to be curved right in
front of your bubble and space to be expanded right
behind your bubble. And so it sounds like a pretty
complicated engineering problem. A little bit, A little bit. There's
definitely some details to work out here, although you know,
they have made some progress. And the first generation of

(33:39):
the idea they thought it would take as much matter
as is contained in the observable universe to accomplish this
squeezing of space. Now they've got it down to like
some fraction of the mass in Jupiter, So you know,
that's progress. Yeah, that's a huge amount. That's a huge difference,
huge savings. That's right. We've broadened down from seventy two
good jillion dollars to only sixteen jillion dollars. That's right. Yeah,

(34:02):
we've gone from the rock salary to um the actor's salary.
But I think you're what you're saying is that the
main problem is that it depends on this weird thing,
which is something with negative energy, which we don't even
know if it's possible, or we have no idea how
to do. There's only one scenario in general relativity, as
far as we understand it, where space can expand, and

(34:22):
that's if you have a lot of potential energy inside
some quantum field in space. And we talked about this
as a potential source for inflation in the very early universe.
When the universe did exactly that, it expanded and the
in phloton field with a lot of potential energy might
have accomplished that. And currently today the universe is expanding
fairly gently thanks maybe to the cosmological constant, which might

(34:43):
be a source of potential energy in space driving dark energy.
So we do see that the universe is expanding, space
can expand, although controlling dark energy is not even an
engineering problem, it's just fantasy. WHOA all right, I have
a question about that. And also let's getting too whether
you can use maybe warm holes instead to get out
of a black hole. But first let's take another quick break.

(35:17):
All right, we're trying to get out of a black hole, Daniel,
and we can't afford the Rock or John Cena to
help us here, being on a train low budget black
hole escape Heist movie. That's right, we only have enough
money to fill up Jupiter. It makes me kind of wonder, like,
you know, you're talking about dark energy and how it's
expanding space and whether or not we can maybe harness

(35:39):
them of this negative energy that might exist to maybe
create a warp drive. Could could just use dark energy
or this negative energy to just basically like punch a
hole in a black hole? You know what I mean? Like,
could we just you know, use somehow theoretically, is it
possible to manipulate this and just kind of create an
escape hatch potentially, And that's sort of what a warp

(36:00):
drive might be doing. Now. In our universe, there is
dark energy. Space is expanding, and so, for example, black
holes that exist out there in our universe right now,
they're existing in the context of space that is expanding
underneath them. And people write to me sometimes they ask,
like can dark energy pull apart a black hole? As
far as we know, black holes do survive dark energy

(36:22):
because they're out there in the universe and they've lasted
for billions of years. And the effect of dark energy, remember,
is to expand space. And so fundamentally, if you have
a homogeneous if you're like expanding all of space. At
the same time you're just stretching the black hole. You're
just moving the event horizon further out. It's like expanding
the black hole. Nothing that was inside the event horizon

(36:43):
ever gets out of the event horizon. If you're smoothly
expanding all of space. What we're talking about what the
warp drive though, is like, could you expand just part
of space? Could you like distort it, make like this
weird bubble or divot, so the event horizon actually like changes,
it's no longer a sphere, and you can like slip
it behind you. You can get out from inside the

(37:03):
black hole. Yeah, it's theoretically possible, right, like because the
black hole is bending space itself, but then you're sort
of bending it back in certain places. It's not even
theoretically possible. I would say it's like maybe potentially theoretically possible.
There's a lot of issues there, right, but maybe theoretically possible.
It's still theoretical possible. It may be theoretically possible. Expanding

(37:25):
the space behind you can sort of like move you
further from the center of the black hole. Right if
you specifically expand that space that's between you and the
singularity and not the spaces between you and the event horizon.
Then you're sort of moving closer to the event horizon.
If you do that enough, you might be able to
pop out of the event horizon. But according to some

(37:45):
particle theories that I talked to, if you do that,
then you don't really have a black hole. To them,
a black hole is something with an event horizon that
nothing can escape from. And so if you like construct
a warped tunnel out of a black hole, they say, well,
it wasn't really a black hole. They're purists. I see,
they're black hole purists. They're like, well, if you can

(38:07):
escape one, then it's not a black hole. Yeah, exactly.
But the bigger problem is an engineering one, which is
how do you build the track. If you're inside a
black hole and you want to warp bubble out of
the black hole, then you need this warp drive track,
this hyperloop we talked about, this construction of this crazy
matter to get you out, And if you're inside, then

(38:29):
you can't go out to build this track, so you
sort of can't build your way out of it. I see,
if it's possible, then it's not impossible, So you could
sort of do it if you built the warp drive
track in advance, Like you see a black hole, you
build this warp drive track into the black hole, then
you can jump in and ride it back out. But
the particle theory purist would say, well, when you built

(38:50):
that warp drive track, you sort of like created a
divot in the black hole already and you didn't really
go into the event horizon. Yeah, it's like you punched
a hole in it. Uh, and you went into the
whole of the black hole, but you didn't actually touch
the black hole exactly. So either you bend in advance
and you're sort of sitting in the dip in the
event horizon, or you go inside, but then you can
no longer build your way out, and like, that's a

(39:11):
loophole in the loophole of the loophole. There are a
lot of holes in this theory, Daniel, And there are
a lot of holes, And we haven't even talked about
wormholes yet. Yeah, let's get into our last kind of
hole for a black hole, because that would make it
all whole, and that is a wormhole, which is maybe
another possible way to get out of a black hole.
And so Daniel, we've talked about warmholes before and how

(39:33):
there may be at the center of black holes. I'm
actually more optimistic about the wormhole approach than the warp
driver approach. You're more optimistic, more optimistic, less optimistic. But
let's let's let's find out. Well, there's lots of different
varieties of wormholes. So the variety of wormholes that are
inside a black hole, sometimes called an Einstein Rosen bridge,

(39:54):
is a tricky concept. Some theorists say it's just a
mathematical artifact of choosing a weird core in it system.
It can't actually exist in nature. But the idea is
to connect black hole interiors. So you have like two
black holes and they have the same singularity and the
same interior, the same event horizon, even though one is

(40:15):
in one place in the universe and the other is
in another place in the universe. That's not very useful.
It just means that if you fell into a black hole,
turns out you're inside two black holes. But you could
change black holes in case you get bored of one,
you know, kind of like during the pandemic, you just
change rooms you work in for some variety. But you're
just still home, man, You didn't go anywhere. That's the problem,

(40:39):
al right. So that kind of warmhole wouldn't help you.
There's another kind of wormhole. You have a black hole
where the singularity is connected to a different kind of
object called a white hole, which is like the opposite
of a black hole. Black Holes something you fall into
and can't escape. A white hole is something you can
shoot out of, but you can't ever go into. So
these are like one way tunnels in space. Theoretically, nobody's

(41:01):
ever seen a white hole or a wormhole, but in principle,
you could fall into that black hole and then get
shot out the other side of the white hole, right
like one of them. The black hole is this hole
that's sucking stuff in, and the white holes is presumably
other point in space that's just viewing out stuff constantly. Yeah,
And so you could go into the black hole and
you couldn't leave the black hole itself. You couldn't pass

(41:23):
through the event horizon the other direction, but you are
no longer inside the black hole, so that sort of counts, yeah,
I guess, And and you would be you would shoot
out of the white hole, I guess on the other
side wherever that is. But that's not so useful again
because you don't know where that is. That doesn't solve
the problem of I've fallen into a black hole and
I can't get up right. Well, it does solve it.

(41:45):
You just end up somewhere else, have no idea where
you are. Yeah, that's true. Oh I'm in the other
side of the universe. Yeah, it looks like I'm still
going to miss much. And I said, still can't tell
anybody exactly. But a more exciting possibilities to you sort
of a generic wormhole, a wormhole that doesn't require a
black hole. A wormhole most generically, it's just a connection

(42:06):
between two points in space. Let's say these two points
are effectively next to each other. If you're in one spot,
you can just sort of step to the next one.
And these two points in space don't have to be
like normally near each other. You can have this point
in our solar system just be connected to that point
in another solar system. We don't know how to build
a wormhole like that, but theoretically they are possible. We

(42:28):
think they can exist. So the idea is, maybe you're
inside a black hole, you somehow make this kind of
wormhole appear, so you can just sort of like step
through it and appear on the other side of the wormhole.
I see. So you're saying that not all wormholes happen
at the at the center of black holes. Like, theoretically
I could have a wormhole right next to me, right
here and not die, but it would just be this

(42:51):
weird arrangement where like I stick my hand in to
the wormhole and it's connected to you know, another point
in space where you'd see my hands sticking out. Its
sound is like totally bonker science fiction. But it's a
solution to Einstein's equations, and again we don't know how
to make it happen. Keeping one open also requires negative
energy density matter, which again may not exist. But if

(43:12):
it did, then the wormhole itself is not inconsistent with
the rules of general relativity. And recently there's been some
progress in understanding black holes that suggests that this might
really be possible. Interesting, So, okay, so maybe step me
through the solution here. You're saying that I would maybe
if I'm able to create a wormholes, I would create
one that starts here next to me, and and the

(43:34):
other side of the wormhole is like maybe just inside
the event horizon of a black hole. Is that what
you're saying, Like, so I stick my hand in, and
my hand would be inside of a black hole, but
I'm able to pull it out. Yeah. So you stick
your hand in and you have your phone inside the
black hole, you take a bunch of pictures, you pull
it back out. You have pictures from the inside of
a black hole. Right that, they're all black. Obviously, I

(43:57):
think my phone has any kind of special you know,
graviton detecting sensors that's coming out in the next Apple iPhone.
I think, Oh, I see, Yeah, I think that Samsung
one is already there's an app for that. Yeah, they
keep sticking more and more cameras and the back of
your phone. Now that sounds like crazy science fiction, and
it probably is because we don't know how to build

(44:18):
a wormhole. We don't know how to make that happen.
To say, I want a wormhole from here to the
center of that black hole. But in principle, there's nothing
preventing us except that we don't know how to do it. However,
recently we talked about whether maybe information can leak out
of a black hole, whether maybe like there's a quantum
entanglement between the Hawking radiation generated the event horizon and

(44:39):
the stuff that fell into the black hole a long
time ago. And theorists now think that that quantum entanglement
might be accomplished by wormholes, that there might effectively be
information wormholes that connect the inside and the outside of
black holes, and so potentially, if you're inside a black hole,
there are already these wormholes you need to get information out.

(45:00):
Other theorists think that this is complete and utter nonsense. Wait,
what you're saying that maybe wormholes are like, maybe black
holes already have wormholes in them. That Hawking radiation, this faint,
these faint emission of particles, that the edge of black
holes might be leaking out information that fell into the
black hole. Remember the black hole information paradox is, Information

(45:22):
can't be deleted from the universe, but stuff falls into
a black hole and then it evaporates where that information go. Recently,
people think, oh, probably that information is encoded in the
Hawking radiation that was admitted, which means they must be
somehow quantum entangled, and they suspect that's done with wormholes.
So we think that nature maybe already has wormholes from

(45:43):
the inside to the outside of black holes, so that
information can leak out before the black hole disappears. Other
theorists think that this is complete and utter nonsense. So
you might not be able to stick your hand inside
a black hole, but you might be able to like
transform it and into information, send it inside the black hole,
and then send it back somehow, like some sort of

(46:05):
weird wormhole based information teleportation. Right, But I guess what
aren't these Hawking radiation? You know, isn't it sort of
like random on the surface of a black hole. It's
not like there's a hole in the black hole where
stuff is radiating. It's like it sort of happens randomly
all over the black hole. Well that's what Hawking thought.
Hawking thought that the radiation was random, that it didn't

(46:25):
reveal anything about what happened inside the black hole. It
was only dependent on the black hole's mass and temperature.
But these recent developments suggests that it might not be random,
that it might actually be indicating information about what's inside
the black hole. But it's all very exploratory and none
of that is final. It's like maybe theoretically possible. I'd
say two maybees maybe but even if it is possible,

(46:48):
it's not something you could use to get out of
the black hole, right, Like it maybe allows information to
come out, but like sticking a whole Daniel through, it
might not be possible. But what am I other than information? Right?
If you could tear you apart, read all my quantum information,
send that information outside the black hole, reassemble me, that
would be me getting out of a black hole. Well,

(47:08):
but you would still be in the black hole like that,
that version of you is still stuck in there. We
just get a fresh copy of you, know, because when
you read the quantum information of something, it destroys it.
That's the no cloning theorem that says that you can
read and transmit quantum information, but doing so destroys the original.
So it would be sort of like beaming out of

(47:29):
a black hole. And so then there's a philosophical question
about whether the originally was killed and the new you
is actually you or not. But your information will have
been teleported out of the black hole. Well that's wild.
But that again, that's assuming you can somehow control this
hawking radiation, and we don't even know if it happens.
Like you can establish like a channel for it, right,

(47:49):
Like it could just be happening all over the black hole. Yeah,
and nobody even seeing Hawking radiation. So this is like
beyond theoretical. This is speculation on speculation to the speculation squared.
I see. But I guess even if you warm hole
into a black hole, wouldn't you get destroyed at some point?
Or would you say, you sort of warm hole to
a point inside the black hole where you can still survive. Yeah,

(48:11):
really big black holes, you can survive near the event
horizon without getting pulled apart by the title forces. So
that is potentially possible. Although whether you can assemble the
delicate machinery you need to read your entire quantum state
and teleported back out of the black hole. Yeah, that
seems like a stretch. It just booked a hole in
the whole of the whole of the loophole. Holy, holy moly,

(48:36):
Holy Dwayne Johnson all right, well, um, it sounds like, um,
maybe there is a way to get out of a
black hole. You know, maybe it won't be through a
war drive, although if we figure out negative energy and
how to make it, maybe it might be possible, And
it might be possible through a warm hole although it's
um it's gonna be pretty hard and we have no

(48:57):
idea how to do it. It's gonna be tricky, but
might be that getting information or people or phones out
of black holes moves from the category of totally impossible
to really impractical. We don't see how this is going
to happen, but maybe in a thousand years, which is
a big step forward, very special thanks to bar Action Scheney,
who consulted on this episode. Any inaccuracies in the physics

(49:18):
are our responsibility, not his. Yeah, and then we'll take
a big step back when all the physicists say, wow,
but that's not a black hole. Then you can get
something out of it. It stops being a black hole
if you can get if you can get anything out
of it, that's right. That's the most annoying answer possible. Actually,
there's a loophole. Will actually your loophole means it's not

(49:39):
a black hole. But then if there's a loophole, then
it's not a loophole anymore. I'm going to escape that loophole.
I don't even know what I just said. All right, Well,
something to think about, and maybe there's hope for those
of us who plan to go into a black hole
in the future, or for those of us who just
desperately want to know what is the fundamental nature of
space and time? Very special thanks to Baracra Scheney, who

(50:01):
consulted on this episode. Any inaccuracies in the physics are
our responsibility, not his. How does this universe actually work
at the lowest level? What really is the fabric unreality?
The answer is waiting for us inside a black hole. Yeah,
just make sure you have a good getaway car and
the latest phone. Well, thanks for joining us. I hope
you enjoyed that. See you next time. Thanks for listening,

(50:32):
and remember that Daniel and Jorge explain the Universe is
a production of I Heart Radio. Or more podcast from
my heart Radio visit the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Ye
Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Daniel Whiteson

Daniel Whiteson

Jorge Cham

Jorge Cham

Show Links

AboutRSS

Popular Podcasts

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.