One is a magic number. It is probably the first number we learn and in learning it, it opens up a whole new world. However, there is more to one than just the first number we use to count. It is the beginning of everything and it denotes individualism and uniqueness. One is one step from nothingness (zero) and one step from plurality (2). But that’s all nice and ordinary. There’s much more that one can be used for.

Let’s start with an example that a lot of people are familiar with. With those who have done algebra before (which, I assume, is most of you), the power of one is readily apparent. By multiplying/adding/subtracting/dividing one side of an equation and doing the same to the other side with the same value, you can manipulate numbers and sets of numbers into whichever shape and form you want.

This works because you’re changing the values on either side in equal measure, thus maintaining equality on both sides of the equation. This means that, in essence, any equation is just 1=1 (which, when you think about it, is quite obvious).

One also has the unique property of being able to be raised to any power and still remain itself. The same applies to when you take its root (no complex numbers here). One is also the quotient of any number divided by itself. There are many more of these properties that you’ve no doubt learned in your algebra classes.

The main topic today, however, is more interesting. We’re talking about wormholes. Like black holes, wormholes have never been observed directly but there has been evidence of their influence and the math also seems to back their existence (many other things seem to say that wormholes can’t exist). Basically, a wormhole is when spacetime is “folded” over to create a shortcut over long distances. The passage that forms is called the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.

But even if wormholes could exist, it would be highly unstable and too radioactive to interact with. So, let’s just say that, for the sake of argument, we found a way around the radioactive part of the problem and managed to create a wormhole that is big enough for us to get through (which in of itself is a big problem since whatever wormholes do exist are super tiny and they close right after they open). The reason that these guys can’t stay open for longer periods of time (besides the fact that they shouldn’t exist because they violate a whole bunch of rules about the universe) is because of the implosive pressure exerted on it. Now, I know I’m being super vague, but all this stuff is pretty complicated so I’ll just link below to a couple of websites that contain more substantial information.

To counteract this pressure, you need negative mass to maintain a wormhole for any meaningful length of time. This is not to be confused with negative matter. Negative mass is different from negative matter since negative matter still has positive mass.

So, where can we get our hands on something that has negative mass? Well, the answer lies in the field of quantum mechanics (Get it? Field? anyway…). Along with all the other crazy stuff happening in the microuniverse, there exists “exotic” particles. Spontaneously, all over the universe, random particles pop into existence and then disappear. When these particles pop into existence, another particle that is the exact same except with negative properties also form. Then, these two particles pop back together and it disappears. This is where all of this tie back into the concept of one I was talking about earlier. Since the negative particle and the positive particle have exactly opposite properties, it’s like adding -1 and +1 and getting 0. Because of this, these particles don’t technically violate the Law of Conservation of Matter (or energy, depending on what particles you’re using).

However, even if you’re able to obtain enough negative mass (which by itself is already extremely difficult, to say the least), you’d need somewhere to put all the positive mass that you need to conjure up to go along with it in order to maintain the Law of Conservation of Matter. For a wormhole that is the size of a door that stretches the distance of a football field, a Moon’s amount of mass needs to be created and balanced out with its negative counterpart. If you’ve violently jumped into a kiddie pool, then you know what happens when you suddenly displace so much mass/ matter and replace it with something else– only its consequences are far far more far-reaching. But say that we somehow have a way to go around that problem as well. What then?

Now that you’ve created a wormhole, then what? No one knows. If you jump in, you might get ejected into a different time, a different place or a different universe altogether. Or, more likely, you’ll burn up with the radioactivity generated by the mashing of atoms into a space much smaller than what it should be. And that’s not even talking about black holes or white holes. Either way, although we’re able to theorise about such things, we don’t know 100% whether wormholes or black holes actually exist. But perhaps someday, we might have a Tardis of our own and be able to travel through time and space. Until then, I guess we’ll just have to have more physicists digging into the secrets of the universe.

That’s all for this time. I’ll talk to you on Wednesday.

If you guys have any theories or ideas you want to put forth, leave’em in the comments and we might make a post about it. If you have any additional information that you want to share about this topic, tell us! We’d love to hear what y’all know.

Some reference websites

Black Holes, White Holes and Wormholes

A slightly more academic explanation

The creation of a pseudo-wormhole by humans in a lab

Some scholarly background information