Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spae/Time, Casimir Effect and Exotic Matter in LOST Season 4 Finale

Lost TV s Time Travel – Casimir Effect on Lost Season Four - Popular Mechanics:

Michio Kaku a professor of physic at the City University of New York and author of "Phyics of the Impossible' wrote the following at Popular Mechanic about the space/time issues on LOST in season 4.

"The new wrinkle on all of this is that exotic matter, if it exists, could allow for trap doors in the stage of space-time. People can suddenly fall through these trap doors and re-appear in a different space and time, like the characters on Lost particularly Ben . These are wormholes, or shortcuts through space-time. The simplest example of a wormhole would be Alice s Looking Glass. Another example would be a folded sheet of paper: By punching a hole in the folded paper, you can show that a wormhole is the shortest distance between two points. So the Orchid Station was probably built around a meteorite made of exotic matter that hit the island.

But unlike exotic matter, negative energy has actually been created in the laboratory. It was first predicted to exist by Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir in 1948, and actually measured in 1958. For example, two uncharged parallel metal plates would normally be stationary. This is a state of zero energy. But Casimir showed that quantum effects within the vacuum push the two plates together. Since you have extracted energy from a system with zero energy, you have created negative energy. However, the Casimir effect is very tiny; in the experiment, the force was only 1/30,000 the weight of an ant. So all the bizarre electromagnetic disturbances in Lost are due to somehow creating a large Casimir effect with electric plates.

But what would a wormhole machine that can bend space and time into a pretzel look like? It would be truly gigantic. First, you would need the equivalent of a black hole to create a hole in space, and then negative energy or exotic matter to stabilize the hole so it didn't collapse on itself. The amount of exotic matter necessary to build a time machine would be about the mass of Jupiter. So the machine, instead of moving just the island, might have unintended consequences, such as actually eating up the entire earth! "

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