TELEPORTATION various authors
Teleportation is the transfer of matter from one point to another, without the matter traversing the intervening space in material form. It is a staple of both science fiction and fantasy literature, as well as a current subject of physics research. In physics, the quantum information present in the state of individual atoms or photons has been teleported at least 600 metres (1,969 ft) to another quantum system via the technique of quantum teleportation.
The teleportation of humans, animals, inanimate objects, etc. has been depicted in many works of science fiction, but currently the teleportation of living or inanimate objects is considered to be beyond the capabilities of modern science.
The word “teleportation” was coined in 1931 by American writer Charles Fort to describe the strange disappearances and appearances of anomalies, which he suggested may be connected. He joined the Greek prefix tele– (meaning “distant”) to the Latin verb portare (meaning “to carry”). Fort’s first formal use of the word was in the second chapter of his 1931 book, Lo! “Mostly in this book I shall specialize upon indications that there exists a transportory force that I shall call Teleportation.” Though Fort added, “I shall be accused of having assembled lies, yarns, hoaxes, and superstitions. To some degree I think so myself. To some degree, I do not. I offer the data.” Fort suggested that teleportation might explain various allegedly paranormal phenomena, although it is difficult to say if Fort took his own “theory” seriously, or instead used it to point out what he saw as the inadequacy of mainstream science to account for strange phenomena.
The word “teletransportation” (which simply expands Charles Fort’s abbreviated term) was first employed by Derek Parfit as part of a thought exercise on identity.
- 2006 – Physicists demonstrate the first successful entanglement of the quantum states of photons (in a laser beam) with the quantum states of physical matter (atoms of cesium in gaseous form).
- 2004 – Physicists carry out successful teleportation with particles of light over a distance of 600 metres (1,969 ft) across the River Danube in Austria.
One means of teleportation proposed in fiction (e.g., The Fly, Heroes, Star Trek) is the transmission of data which is used to precisely reconstruct an object or organism at its destination. However, to travel from one point to another instantaneously (faster than light travel) is, as of today, believed to be impossible. The use of this form of teleportation as a means of transport for humans would have considerable unresolved technical issues, such as recording the human body with sufficient accuracy to allow reproduction elsewhere (i.e., because of the uncertainty principle). There’s also the philosophical issue of whether destroying a human in one place and recreating a copy elsewhere would provide a sufficient experience of existential continuity. The reassembled human might be considered a different sentience with the same memories as the original, while the original human would have ceased to exist. Furthermore, if several copies were constructed using merely descriptive data, but not matter, transmitted from the origin and new matter already at the destination point, each would consider itself to be the true continuation of the original; moreover, because each copy constructed via this data-only method would be made of new matter that already existed at the destination, there would be no way, even in principle, of distinguishing the original from the copies. Many of the relevant questions are shared with the concept of mind transfer.
Dimensional teleportation is another proposed means of teleportation. Often shown in fictional works, particularly in fantasy and comic books (e.g., the X-Men characters Nightcrawler, Deadpool; the planeswalkers of Magic: The Gathering), it involves the subject exiting one physical universe or plane of existence, then re-entering it at a different location. This method is rarely seriously considered by the scientific community, as the currently predominant theories about parallel universes assume that physical travel is not possible between them.
A wormhole is a hypothetical shortcut through space and time, which allows transit faster than light, while avoiding the problems posed by the uncertainty principle and potential signal interference. Its mechanism is also used in theories about time travel. This kind of topological shortcut would eliminate many probable objections to teleportation on religious or philosophical grounds, as they preserve the original subject intact—and thus continuity of existence.