Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Teleportation, or teletransportation, is the process of moving objects (or more likely with present techniques, elementary particles) from one place to another by encoding information about the object, transmitting the information to another place, such as on a radio signal, and creating a copy of the original object in the new location. The notion of teleportation was first conceived in the course of the Golden Age of 20th century science fiction literature by authors who considered necessary a form of on the spot intangible conveyance tools to hold up the narratives of their tales. Teleportation has appeared in such Sci-Fi literature classics as, A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1945), George Langelaan’s The Fly (Playboy Magazine, June 1957) and Algis Budry’s Rogue Moon (Gold Medal Books, 1960). For the most part, widespread pop-culture awareness of the teleportation concept began with the numerous Star Trek television and theatrical movie series (beginning in 1964 with the original TV series pilot episode, The Cage) that was originally spawned by the late genius television writer-producer Gene Roddenberry. On account of Star Trek, everybody in the world is familiar with the “transporter” contraption, which is used to teleport people and things from ship to ship or from ship to planet and the other way around in an instant. Persons or non-living items would be placed on the transporter pad and are from top to bottom dismantled particle by particle by a beam with their atoms being patterned in a computer buffer and converted into a beam that is directed toward the destination, and then reassembled back into their original form (with no mistake!).
Although the use of teleportation has traditionally been found only in science fiction, the theory and experimentation of quantum teleportation has been of interest to physicists. In 2001, the United States Air Force commissioned Dr. Eric W. Davis, Ph.D., FBIS, to do a scientific study of teleportation. He submitted his report (AFRL-PR-ED-TR-2003-0034) in August 2004.
The Definitions of Teleportation
In the report, a definition was given for each of the five teleportation concepts identified during the course of this study:
Teleportation – Sci-Fi: the disembodied transport of persons or inanimate objects across space by advanced (futuristic) technological means. Called :sf-Teleportation, it was only mentioned briefly in the introduction of the report.
Teleportation – Psychic : the conveyance of persons or inanimate objects by psychic means. Called p-Teleportation.
Teleportation – engineering the vacuum or spacetime metric: the conveyance of persons or inanimate objects across space by altering the properties of the spacetime vacuum, or by altering the spacetime metric (geometry). Called vm-Teleportation.
Teleportation – quantum entanglement: the disembodied transport of the quantum state of a system and its correlations across space to another system, where system refers to any single or collective particles of matter or energy such as baryons (protons, neutrons, etc.), leptons (electrons, etc.), photons, atoms, ions, etc. Called q-Teleportation.
Teleportation – exotic: the conveyance of persons or inanimate objects by transport through extra space dimensions or parallel universes. Called e-Teleportation.
The use of teleportation as a means of transport for humans still has considerable unresolved technical and philosophical issues, such as exactly how to record the human body sufficiently accurately and also be able to reconstruct it, and whether destroying a human in one place and recreating a copy elsewhere would provide a sufficient experience of continuity of existence. Religious people might wonder if the soul is recopied or destroyed, and might even consider it murder. Many of the questions are shared with the concept of mind transfer.
It is not clear if duplicating a human would require reproduction of the exact quantum state, requiring quantum teleportation which necessarily destroys the original, or whether macroscopic measurements would suffice. In the non-destructive version, hypothetically a new copy of the individual is created with each teleportation, with only the copy subjectively experiencing the teleportation. Technology of this type would have many other applications, such as virtual medicine (manipulating the stored data to create a copy better than the original), travelling into the future (creating a copy many years after the information was stored), or backup copies (creating a copy from recently stored information if the original was involved in a mishap.)
Another form of teleportation common in science fiction (and seen in The Culture and The Terminator series of films) sends the subject through a wormhole or similar phenomenon, allowing transit faster than light while avoiding the problems posed by the uncertainty principle and potential signal interference. In both of the examples above, this form of teleportation is known as Displacement. (Skynet used its displacement technology to produce a time machine, and thus named it the "Time-Space Displacement Equipment.")
p-Teleportation means of teleportation are sometimes referred to as "psychoportation," or "jaunting"; named after the fictional scientist (Jaunte) who discovered it in The Stars My Destination (also called Tiger! Tiger!), a science fiction novel by Alfred Bester.
In religious, occult, and esoteric literature, teleportation is the instantaneous movement of a person or object from one place to another, by miraculous, supernatural or psychic means rather than technological ones. For instance, in Acts 8:39, after Philip evangelized the Ethiopian finance minister, "Spirit of the Lord grabbed Philip, and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. Philip found himself in Ashdod."
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