Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:In today's NY Times:
Written by:
Scientists Teleport Not Kirk, but an Atom
By KENNETH CHANG

nd the beryllium atom said to the Starship Enterprise, beam me up!

Two teams of scientists report today that for the first time they have teleported individual atoms, taking characteristics of one atom and imprinting them on a second.

In physics, teleportation means creating a replica of an object, or at least some aspect of it, at some distance from the original. The act of teleporting always destroys the original - not entirely unlike the transporters of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies - so it is impossible produce multiple copies.

The prospect of using teleportation to move large objects or people remains far beyond the current realm of possibility. But it could prove an important component of so-called quantum computers. Scientists hope that one day such computers will tap quantum mechanics to solve complex problems quickly by calculating many different possible answers at once; computers today must calculate each possibility separately.

The two teams, one at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., and one at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, worked independently, but the experiments were similar, using a process proposed by Dr. Charles H. Bennett, a scientist at I.B.M., and others in 1993.

"This will be an important part of attempts to build quantum computers," said Dr. H. Jeff Kimble, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. He co-wrote a commentary accompanying the two research papers on the experiments, which appear today in the journal Nature.

"This is a complicated thing that begins to work," Dr. Kimble said. "We've reached this point on our journey and it's really quite significant."

Several scientific groups, including one led by Dr. Kimble, previously teleported photons, and scientists at the University of Aarhus in Denmark reported in 2001 that they had teleported the magnetic field produced by clouds of atoms.

In the new experiments, both teams of scientists worked with triplets of charged atoms trapped in magnetic fields. The Colorado team used beryllium; the Innsbruck researchers used calcium.

The feat of teleportation is transferring information from atom A to atom C without the two meeting. The third atom, B, is an intermediary.

The three atoms can be thought of as boxes that can contain a 1 or a zero, a bit of information like that used by a conventional computer chip. The promise of quantum computers is that both a zero and a 1 can exist at once, just like the perplexing premise described by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrdinger in which a cat in a box can be simultaneously alive and dead until someone looks inside.

First, atoms B and C were brought together, making them "entangled" and creating an invisible link between the two atoms no matter how far apart they were. Atom C was moved away. Next, A and B were similarly entangled.

Then the scientists measured the energy states of A and B, essentially opening the boxes to see whether each contained a 1 or a zero. Because B had been entangled with C, opening A and B created an instant change in atom C, what Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," and this, in essence, set a combination lock on atom C, with the data in A and B serving as the combination.

For the final step, the combination was sent and a pulse of laser light was applied to atom C, almost magically turning it into a replica of the original A. Atom A was teleported to atom C.

"It's a way of transferring the information," Dr. Rainer Blatt, leader of the Innsbruck team, said.

A quantum computer could use teleportation to move the results of calculations from one part of the computer to another. "Teleportation in principle could be done pretty quick," said Dr. David J. Wineland, head of the Colorado team, noting that directly moving atoms containing intermediate results would almost certainly be too slow.

In the current experiments, the teleportation distances were a fraction of a millimeter, but in principle, the atoms could be teleported over much longer distances. The teleportation was also not perfect, succeeding about three-quarters of the time.

"We're not doing very well yet," Dr. Wineland said. "All of these operations have to be improved."

Teleporting a much larger object, like a person, appears unlikely, if not entirely impossible, because too much information would have to be captured and transmitted.

"It's certainly not useful for any beaming in the 'Star Trek' sense," Dr. Blatt of the University of Innsbruck said. "Consider even some molecules or something small like a virus. I cannot imagine it. As far as I can see, it's not going to happen."






-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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MiG
MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG
Member Since: 16th Apr 2004
Total posts: 3415
Posted:I still reckon that sooner or later, they'll figure out how to move large things. give it 10-20 years, and i think that scientists will say that people transporting will be within the realms of possibility, if not actually happening.

"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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Pink...?
Pink...?

Mistress of Pink...Multicoloured
Location: Over There
Member Since: 6th Apr 2002
Total posts: 6140
Posted:I like the whole Willy Wonker Chocolate Vision method of transportation.

I agree with MiG just give it time. I mean i doubt people even imagined what technology we have now 20 years ago!


Never pick up a duck in a dungeon...

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:MiG, I hope not, because if so, you're going to be out of a job!

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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MikeIcon
MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA
Member Since: 27th Mar 2003
Total posts: 2109
Posted:Written by:
I agree with MiG just give it time. I mean i doubt people even imagined what technology we have now 20 years ago!


Erm, quite wrong since I believe Star Trek is over 20 years old by now smile

I do agree on the main point though. Considering teleportation is possible on an atomic scale, that means its possible on a larger one... It may not be possible within the near future, or even distant future, but they pretty much just proved that it IS physically possible.

Sigh... I hope I dont die before they figure out how to make humans immortal because my end goal iin life is to know the secrets of the universe. I would happily give my life for one second of infinate knowledge.


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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DeepSoulSheep
DeepSoulSheep

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Berlin
Member Since: 25th Sep 2002
Total posts: 2617
Posted:I'm all for getting fired along in a tube like James Bond (was that From Russia with love" r something) or futurama styleeee cool

I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

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Faberg
veteran
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Member Since: 26th Aug 2003
Total posts: 1459
Posted:Written by: DeepSoulSheep

I'm all for getting fired along in a tube like James Bond (was that From Russia with love" r something) or futurama styleeee cool



you could always get some practise in by becoming a human canonball wink


My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely smile

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MiG
MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG
Member Since: 16th Apr 2004
Total posts: 3415
Posted:well, i've heard people saying that this generation will be either the last ones to die, or the first to live forever. Which is a little scary.

"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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GottaLoveIt
GottaLoveIt

Sponge
Location: Stevenage
Member Since: 21st Sep 2003
Total posts: 883
Posted:If it was the first to live forever and everyone got immortalised... I think there'd be a mass suicide period because not everyone would want to live forever.

Maybe they mean we'll live forever because we'll always be on some computer record somewhere???

I dunno.... ubbloco

EDITED_BY: GottaLoveIt (1087568800)


Monkeys monkeys and bananas

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:We haven't figured out how to stop aging, we've just figured out how to keep aged bodies running longer. The lifespan has not increased, life expectancy has.

We're far from eternal youth.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)
enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Member Since: 8th Jun 2004
Total posts: 456
Posted:Well, if the limit is "too much information" will have to be transmitted, the advances in information storage and transmission over the past 20 years should let us believe it's POSSIBLE that the barrier will be overcome in the next 20. This would not solve the problem of arriving as a steaming pile of mush, of course.

And speaking of Star Trek, we're using antimatter even today. As Lighting has reason to know; so far it's just medical technology, but can other uses be far behind?

MiG, I don't think we're quite as close to that kind of Vingean Singularity as you do...though we have figured out a huge chunk of what makes aging happen, and Gen Y can expect to live to be 120 (or so I'm told). The posthuman era is, alas, out of reach for such as me, and probably for them as well.

So we won't be immortals; some of us may be emortals, however, if only medical nanotechnology would get in gear already...and I want my translator microbes! (Kidding - those don't work for fundamental reasons of logic, whereas the barriers to emortality are strictly technological.)


"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:But Xopher, there is such a thing as "too much information." It may simply be that there isn't enough space in the entire universe to store enough information to move a human. Just as there are certain equations that are theoretically solvable, but even the fastest possible computer would take longer than the age of the universe and require more memory than there is information in the universe to do. There may actually be a fundamental barrier.

However, something about Star Trek transporters always made me wonder: If a person is going to suddenly materialize or dematerialize in the middle of somewhere...

1) How do you get their feet to land precisely on the ground (especially in uneven terrain)?

2) What do you do with the air that occupies the space where the traveler is supposed to materialize? I mean, you can't very well evacuate the target with a force field of some sort, because then you'd transport your subject into a vacuum, which would make it a pretty traumatic and painful (and dangerous) practice!


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)
enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Member Since: 8th Jun 2004
Total posts: 456
Posted:You're right about information, but redundancy helps cut down that problem some...I don't know. It certainly takes more matter to describe than to be described. Plus Uncertainty means you can't get ALL the information describing any elementary particle. So you may be right. Hmmmph.

1) We can already read a license plate from orbit. Couple of centuries on, sensors that can find the exact location and elevation of a flat spot don't seem unlikely. Neither do computers that can make the calculations to match the foot location with the ground.

2) The transporter always works two ways simultaneously, beaming up the air while the person beams down. Again, care is taken not to beam the person into an unliveable environment, and thus the air beamed up is also harmless. You COULD beam a person into stone, resulting in a) a swift and painful death and b) a stone statue of the person in question on the transporter pad. That's all Old Trek; by TNG they have new compensators that make all that moot.

If I were you, I'd wonder first about the thermodynamics of the situation. Given the difference in potential energy between the ship in orbit and the planetary surface, you'd be beaming down flaming, screaming, exploding people, and beaming up frozen corpses. Obviously they compensate for that in some way. (That's one thing I liked about Back To The Future; someone was paying attention to the fact that a DeLorean that leaves a flaming trail on departure will be damn cold on arrival.)

But in a series that talks about the transporter storing the "genetic pattern" of people in order to reconstruct them, we're not exactly talking hard science. (So, my friends Carl and Martin, identical twins (both of whom spin fire, incidentally), are indistinguishable from a transporter point of view? And would all their tattoos vanish? Come to that, why does anyone have scars/a haircut/clothing after transport?)

I'd throw up my hands, but the thumbs get caught in my throat.


"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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MikeIcon
MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA
Member Since: 27th Mar 2003
Total posts: 2109
Posted:Written by:
We haven't figured out how to stop aging, we've just figured out how to keep aged bodies running longer. The lifespan has not increased, life expectancy has.

We're far from eternal youth.


We may not be as far as you think. I saw a television show once that talked about this. I dont remember any speciffics but I remember them saying that they found a way to double the life span of sheep and the gene or chromosome that is needed to do this is also present in humans. They also said that people that are very old eventually stop aging and that if they could find the switch inside humans that controls that, we could be youthful forever.


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)
enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Member Since: 8th Jun 2004
Total posts: 456
Posted:Let's just hope that the treatment causes sterility. Otherwise the Game of Blood and Dust will have a clear winner all too quickly.

Even with sterility, it will be a problem. Right now there are more people alive than have lived and died since humans first stood up and grunted. Imagine even two extra generations alive, and you see the problem.

Of course, if this treatment becomes available, it will only be available to the very rich, at least at first. If they (for the reasons above, plus the selfishness which is intrinsic to such people) keep it from the masses, we could end up ruled by a small number of ageless clans, pawns in their wars among themselves, their prey when their jaded appetites turn to grotesque violence.

They can call themselves "the Kindred."

As the Dark God says, "Life is immortal because the living must die."


"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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WryTerra
WryTerra

The reason we say "European"
Location: Cheltenham
Member Since: 13th Jan 2003
Total posts: 912
Posted:Written by: ICoN

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Written by:</font><hr />
I agree with MiG just give it time. I mean i doubt people even imagined what technology we have now 20 years ago!


Erm, quite wrong since I believe Star Trek is over 20 years old by now smile




Yes, and people who work on Star Trek's production have said, with regards to why Enterprise appears to be technologically superior to a show set some time after, "My mobile phone is smaller than Kirk's communicator and computers are more advanced than what you saw. My laptop's smaller and better looking than the console on Janeway's desk even."

So yeah, I think that goes with the "Couldn't perceive 20 years ago what we'd have today" theory.


"We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty" - Mal Reynolds

"I can't tell the difference between an electron and a cat" - Brother of a friend

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)
enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Member Since: 8th Jun 2004
Total posts: 456
Posted:Star Trek INVENTED the flip phone, conceptually. Also the multiple-status medical monitor. (Heard an interview on the radio with the first guys who built one of the latter. They saw it on Star Trek and said "Hey, that would be really useful - and we can build one." So they did.)

SF comes up with a lot of concepts before anyone in formal R&D ever thinks of them. They get no credit, but that doesn't change the actual sourcing of the idea.

Arthur C. Clarke proposed putting an object in orbit to relay signals long before anyone else.

Finally, robotics owes its name, at least, to Isaac Asimov. As the field was being pioneered in reality, some wanted to call it robotology, but others insisted it be called robotics; at least one of these was originally inspired to work with robots by reading "I, Robot" (a good book currently being raped and pillaged for a cheeeesy Hollywood trashfest) and other Asimov classics.)


"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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