www.whyville.net Jul 26, 2009 Weekly Issue

Science Specialist

Movies, Photons and the Mysteries of Teleportation

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Recently there have been a lot of movies that use "advanced" scientific principles to wow the audience. If you're like me then you have probably wondered how close we actually are to some of these fanciful claims and have tried to get more information on the real science behind the movies. The problem we run into here is that the science behind the movies is very advanced and most of the people who understand it can't explain it to an average person. So that's why I am doing this blog. I will, to the best of my abilities, explain the movie science so that we can all understand it.

This week I'm going to explain teleportation. Teleportation has been central to many recent movies, namely Star Trek and Jumper. In these movies, teleportation is achieved through advanced science and superhuman abilities. However, even in our time teleportation is happening through science. Photons, particles of light, have been teleported about a yard (three feet) successfully at California Institute of Technology as well as several other sites. There scientists use a concept call entanglement to get around the problem caused by the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. The principle basically states that you can't know both the speed and the exact position of a particle at the same time because knowing one interrupts knowing the other.

"Jumper" & Real Teleportation

Entanglement happens when two particles are brought together in the proper way so that when separated they react to each other so that "if you tickle one the other one laughs," according to Cal Tech physicist Dr. Jeff Kimble. One particle then gets mixed with the information getting teleported. On the other end the scientists add the other particle and the information is teleported. This is similar to the way that two cups and a string work as "telephones" the cups are photons and the string or entanglement allows information to be transported. Without both particles or cups the information cannot be sent.

Hoping this helps!

-Justin D.

Author's Note: This post is from one of our summer interns, Justin.



Editor's Note: For more blogs from Dr. Rabiah, visit Science Chicago's website at: http://www.sciencechicagoblog.com


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