The Quantum World

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wormholes in the 'Kingdom' of the Social Imagination?

In 1935, physicists Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen used the theory of general relativity to propose the existence of "bridges" through space-time. These paths, called Einstein-Rosen bridges or wormholes, connect two different points in space-time, theoretically creating a shortcut that could reduce travel time and distance. Wormholes contain two mouths, with a throat connecting the two. The mouths would most likely be spheroidal. The throat might be a straight stretch, but it could also wind around, taking a longer path than a more conventional route might require.

Einstein's theory of general relativity mathematically predicts the existence of wormholes, but none have been discovered to date. A negative mass wormhole might be spotted by the way its gravity affects light that passes by. Certain solutions in general relativity allow for the existence of wormholes where the mouth of each is a blackhole. However, a naturally occurring blackhole, formed by the collapse of a dying star, does not by itself create a wormhole.

Ironically, this is idea of wormholes and blackholes exists in the social imagination. Scientists use the social imagination, there is no other. They do not have some special access by use of equations to another kind of imagination, but theirs is one we could call expanded as in they have a willingness or desire to stretch the imagination they have gained socially.

What is interesting for me as a sociologist who sees only the social imagination as the source of reality even cosmic is that in the discussion between physicists and cosmologists about the existences of wormholes and blackholes and including all others kinds of matter that they have imagined and experimentally interacted with, sounds like and is simply proof of the workings of the social imagination daring its own abilities.

This is made evident when we we read that the first problem among them to discussed is the size of wormholes. Some imagine that primordial wormholes are microscopic. However, as the universe expands, others imagine that it is possible that some may have been stretched to larger sizes.

Another problem for these scientists in their social imagination comes in the form of stability. Can the social imagination sustain this idea over a period of time... this idea of wormholes and blackholes? You see, the social imagination even among scientists changes.  I smile when I see that their imaginations change as they discuss how a wormhole can contain "exotic" matter which could stay open and unchanging for longer periods of time. And, yet, they seem to shrink in their social imagination when imagining how when adding exotic matter to a wormhole might stabilize it, there is still the possibility that the addition of "regular" matter would be sufficient to destabilize the portal - wormhole.

So, you see that it all depends on the social imagination!

*used a reference ~  http://www.space.com/20881-wormholes.html

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