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Teleportation is the ability to transport a person or object instantly from one place to another – and it isn’t only Star Trek pseudo-science anymore. Mostly.
lllustration by Toni Karan
According to world-renowned theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, in his book Physics of the Impossible. "to teleport someone, you would have to know the precise location of every atom in a living body."
This rule is what made teleportation seem an impossible dream in the Star Trek generation because at that point even the leading minds in physics believed that knowing where every atom is in any form of matter would violate the Heisenburg uncertainty principle.
That principle states, "You cannot know both the precise location and the velocity of an electron."
Also standing in the way was Newtonian theory, which is based on the laws set down by Sir Isaac Newton. As Kaku breaks it down in his book, Newton’s theory "is based on the idea that matter is made of tiny, hard billiard balls. Objects do not move until they are pushed; objects do not suddenly disappear and reappear somewhere else."
The relatively new branch of physics that challenge these laws and rules is what is today known as quantum physics.
Kaku writes, "To impress my PhD students with just how bizarre the quantum theory is, I sometimes ask them to calculate the probability that their atoms will suddenly dissolve and reappear on the other side of a brick wall. Such a teleportation is impossible under Newtonian physics but is actually allowed under quantum mechanics. The answer, however, is that one would have to wait longer than the lifetime of the universe for this to occur."
That is the scenario for random teleportation of atoms.
In 1993, however, the IBM computer company used an experiment – ironically, it was an experiment known as the EPR experiment, designed by scientists Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen as a way to disprove the possibility of teleportation – to teleport objects at the atomic level.
According to Kaku, "Since then, physicists have been able to teleport photons … [and] within a few decades scientists may be able to teleport the first DNA molecule and virus."
While that might not sound like much, it’s a stepping-stone to being able to teleport other organic matter (like people). Other information that could make quantum computing possible, not to mention the ability to teleport DNA strands, may have many applications in the medical field.