Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle refers to the fact that we can know a particle’s position, and we can know its momentum — but we can never know or measure both simultaneously. Ever since the German physicist Werner Heisenberg introduced the idea of this limitation back in 1927, it has been treated as a fundamental given for physics researchers (as well as a frequently misused as a metaphor). Scientists have desperately looked for workaround, but have come up short until now. Turns out there’s a solution involving wormholes and time travel.
A study conducted by Chinese physicists and published in Nature posits using wormholes to travel back in time would allow humans to finally beat the uncertainty principle and measure the position and momentum of a particle at the same time. How would this work? Wormholes are a theoretical phenomenon that basically connects two separate points in spacetime — as little as a few feet in distance, or light-years apart. Those points could be in two different universes or two separate points in time itself. But that’s no problem for a wormhole — it is the tunnel that gets you from point A to point B by shortening the physical or chronological distance to be traversed.
Wormholes, if they exist, could make it possible for us to conduct interstellar travel and time travel. The latter function is particularly interesting. If the two openings of a wormhole were close enough, observers could potential exit just before they entered and stop themselves from doing so. This is essentially a more specific version of the grandfather paradox. The result is what’s called a “closed timelike curve,” a series of actions that take place in a perpetual loop but don’t catalyze other actions. This does not solve anything, Heisenberg-wise, to scientists who have rejiggered the paradigm into an “open timelike curve.” This model assumes that the two ends of the wormholes are so far apart that future and past selves cannot interfere with each other.
And that’s where the Chinese researchers got interested in applying wormholes to the uncertainty principle. They investigated the potential of an OTC to measure the properties of particles accurately and precisely. In essence, if you line up a system of particles together before they enter an OTC-driven wormhole, they will exit from the other side almost exactly lined up with one-another. If all the particles are synchronized together like this, you don’t have to worry about making individual measurements for each one — you can just measure single momentum of one and the position of another and apply that information to all particles of the system individually.
This is exciting stuff in and of itself, but there are actual applications you can pull out from this work. A computer system that could determine the momentum and position of a particle simultaneously would work even better than quantum computers, and be capable of solving problems well beyond the scope of today’s technology.
Of course, there’s that one snag: We’d have to harness the power of wormholes and master time travel. This is far, far beyond what humans are even remotely capable of doing, let alone understanding. Wormholes might not even exist!
So, Heisenberg FTW. But at least scientists have a strategy.