Running late, I ignore the clothes strewn across my bed and dig through the kitchen junk mail in a desperate bid to find my keys. The Quartz clock ticks You’re late and I yearn to snap my fingers and conjure up a fairy god-mother who can transport me to my preferred destination. Within seconds.
Nup. No fairy god-mothers lurking in my garden or wardrobe. Instead, I’m hoping that quantum physics will one day create real-life wormholes (or portal travel), thanks to cutting edge research in superconductors and magnetic fields. Check out this quantum levitation experiment, presented by the Tel-Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy’s Super Conductivity Group at the Association of Science-Technology Centers Annual Conference at Baltimore on the weekend:
What is a wormhole? In physics, it is a hypothetical shortcut through spacetime – a connecting point between two far-flung regions of space (or time), a by-product of Einstein’s general relativity field equation. Madeleine L’Engle illustrated the idea in her YA novel A Wrinkle in Time (devoured while I was in junior high) where a tesseract (wormhole) was able to bend the space-time continuum to create a portal from one area of space to another. Although the two locations could be some distance apart, you could make them touch if you “wrinkled up” the space between them, enabling you to travel from one point to the other in seconds.
Okay, so it’s a huge leap from using magnets and superconductors to levitate a train, and using them along with silly amounts of energy to wrinkle up space-time, but hey, that’s what fictional super-scientists are for, right?
Wormholes are already a reality in my Shahkara trilogy, where Megalio scientists have invented Caladene, a fictional superconductor to outclass all previous superconductors. Half-human, half-Taloner, Shahkara is unable to return to her secret parallel world (Gorias) after losing the spell that conjures up the Twilight Mists. Instead, she must rely on the scientists to portal her home – until they reveal they need an address. Now, Shahkara is forced to check back into Hotel Earth until she finds the ancient coordinates to her homeworld.
I have always loved reading and writing about portals. There’s something about the wormhole concept that enables it to be recycled over and over again, each time with a new slant, each time bringing it renewed popularity – from earlier films and TV series such as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Star Trek and Sliders through to Stargate, Torchwood and the Fringe.
For now, neither wormholes nor fairy god-mothers will save me from my deadlines. I’m forced to chain my keys to my bag to ensure a fast getaway. One day – maybe – our scientists will realise this technology and then all of us can experience the magic of a wrinkle in time. It’s an idea worth savouring or at least exploring through our own writing… and I suppose it’s time to get back to it now!
PS: Here’s the inside on how quantum levitation works: