Word of the Day – Wormhole

Word of the Day : November 15, 2021


noun WERM-hohl

What It Means

wormhole is a hypothetical structure of space-time that is envisioned as a long thin tunnel connecting points that are separated in (well) space and time.

// Some science fiction writers speculate that wormholes are the intergalactic highways of the future.

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“Imagine space as a vast sheet of paper. You live at one end and you want to travel to the other end. Ordinarily you’d have to trudge across the entire length of the page to get there. But what if you folded the paper in half instead? Suddenly, where you are and where you want to be are right next to each other. You simply have to jump that tiny gap. We call these objects wormholes because it is like a worm trying to navigate its way around an apple. To get from the top to the bottom it has two choices: Crawl around the outside, or chew a shortcut through the middle.” — Colin Stuart, Space.com, 13 July 2021

Did You Know?

If you associate wormhole with quantum physics and sci-fi, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that the word has been around since William Shakespeare’s day. To Shakespeare, a “wormhole” was simply a hole made by a worm, but even the Bard subtly linked wormholes to the passage of time; for example, in the poem The Rape of Lucrece, he notes time’s destructive power “to fill with worm-holes stately monuments.” To modern astrophysicists, a wormhole isn’t a tunnel wrought by a slimy invertebrate, but a theoretical tunnel between two black holes or other points in space-time, providing a shortcut between its end points.