NEWS: Tardis-Warp FTL

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 04:18:26 -0500

> Now Chris Van Den Broeck of the Institute for Theoretical
> Physics at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, has
> resurrected Alcubierre's proposal. The trick lies in using a
> strange form of warped space, involving a "bubble" with a large
> internal volume but a tiny surface area.
> To picture how it works, first imagine space having just two
> dimensions. Then suppose there is a bubble which is connected to
> this flat space by a very thin neck. Inhabitants of this
> two-dimensional world would find that this neck has a very
> small circumference, but the inside of the bubble has a large
> surface area. In the real world, says Van Den Broeck, these 2D
> circumferences become surface areas and surface areas become
> volumes: "You can have regions of space that appear small from
> the outside, but have huge internal volumes."
> Science fiction fans will instantly recognise this as one of the
> key properties of Dr Who's Tardis, which looked like a police box
> but had a spacious interior. But the real appeal of such bubbles is
> that their small surface area can be created with very modest
> amounts of energy. In his paper, published on the Los Alamos
> general relativity pre-print service, Van Den Broeck uses
> Pfenning and Ford's results to show that a bubble big enough to
> contain a starship could be formed using just a gram of suitable
> space-warping material. And with the space warped conveniently
> around the ship, once again destination and departure are brought
> together, allowing the ship to move faster than the speed of
> light.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
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