What If...

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Location : Earth 1, The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 1913

Professor Einstein sat at his desk. “I cannot get these figures to fit, George. I keep proving and disproving myself. My work suggests that the universe is expanding and even the presence of black holes! It must all be wrong!” Einstein sounded like a broken man. Years of ideas, attempts and errors were taking their toll.

“Well, Mr Einstein," replied George, Einstein’s supportive assistant, “are you right about this General Relativity Theory? There are only two possibilities: yes or no”. Watching Einstein toss yet another sheet of workings into the waste paper basket, George quipped, “ It may be worth reviewing that geometry you were looking at?”

Location : Earth 1, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 1933

Having successfully presented his general theory of relativity, 17 years earlier, Einstein paced the floors of his lab. It was midnight and Einstein was muttering to himself as the radio played in the background. He was agitated. The reality of the many years he had spent working on his theories, yet never knowing if his predictions were right was torturing him. “Never in my lifetime will the instrumentation required to measure these ripples in space-time be developed,” he admitted. He sat quietly, pondering this.

Eventually, his attention was drawn to the radio. A discussion on futuristic space travel got him thinking. ‘If the technology on this Earth is too far behind, maybe somewhere else in the universe WILL have the technology,” he thought to himself.

Einstein had a plan. It was dangerous but he needed answers. The only way he could do this was by way of one of his newer theories - a bridge that could link two different points in space-time - a wormhole.

Months later, a nervous Einstein entered his lab. The wormhole was ready. He knew this had to be done quickly - otherwise the wormhole may collapse. A few faithful physics and mathematical colleagues had pulled together to make this happen. They knew how much this meant to Albert Einstein. However, no-one was more positive than Einstein himself. He bid his collaborators “ auf weidersein,” entered the wormhole, which he just about squeezed through, and was gone.

Location: Earth 2, Year: 2017

A dazed Einstein came to. He had made it! He studied his surroundings. He was on Earth, he was sure of that. But this was a more advanced Earth, well ahead of his time. As he looked around he could see buildings that he vaguely recognised. It dawned on him that although he had travelled a huge distance in space time, he was still at Princeton. He couldn't contain himself. “ Now to have some questions answered,” he told himself as he strode off in search of the Department of Physics.

There were a handful of people in the library when Albert Einstein entered but his arrival went unnoticed. He knew exactly what he needed. He found an assistant and asked for information on the Nobel Prize Winners in Physics. The information was handed to him. Einstein took a seat and prepared himself. His heart was pounding inside his chest so loudly that he was convinced the other library dwellers could hear it. This was to be a defining moment for him - Were his predictions correct?

As he turned the pages, tears ran down Einstein’s face. The words, “ detection of gravitational waves,” “The Ligo Project,” and the names “Weiss,” “Thorne” and “ Barish ,” jumped out at him. He was amazed to read that the detection had involved over 1,000 researchers from 20 different countries. Then there was the explanation - “ …ripples in space time caused by the collision of two black holes….” Einstein was incredulous - he was right about the existence of black holes too! He was overcome with emotion - because there, printed in black and white, were the words, “.. the waves were predicted by Albert Einstein, a hundred years ago.” There, he had it. Proof at last! Feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, he rested his head on the table.

Then it dawned on him - a hundred years ago! He flicked back through the Nobel Prize pages to the year 1921- the year he won it. Alongside his biography, was a photograph of an older looking Einstein and his year of death -1955. How could he exist in two different planets millions of light years apart? His only explanation was that two microbes had become entangled at some point in space-time and landed on these two different planets suitable for life ( Earth 1 and 2). These entangled microbes would be the first organisms of evolution on both planets. On the Earth that Einstein was now on, he hypothesised that time was ticking a lot faster than on his original Earth. Therefore, he thought, the microbe on Earth 2 evolved quicker than its entangled partner millions of light years away. However, in order for this phenomenon to happen his theory of time dilation would have to be true.

Einstein’s thoughts were interrupted. “Excuse me,” came a voice, “ My name is Ethan McColgan. I'm doing my PHD here in quantum physics. My interests are wormholes and trying to take forward the unified field theory - of course, proposed initially by Albert Einstein. You look uncannily like him!”
“ Well, Mr. McColgan,” replied Einstein, “I'm a physicist myself, with ideas, I think, well ahead of my time.” Einstein thought for a second. He liked this young student. “ Do you have time for a chat?” Einstein asked, “ I think you may be VERY interested in what I have to share with you!”

Location: Earth 2, Year 2025

Quantum physicist, Ethan McColgan presents his theory on, “ Passages Through Space-Time and the Formation of Wormholes, ” to a packed audience. His colleague, who had a rather unusual moustache, sat at the back of the room, and smiled from ear to ear.

About the Author: 
I am 14 years old and really enjoy physics at school. I found the story about the detection of gravitational waves especially interesting. I attend The High School of Dundee, in Scotland, where I am in Form 3.