No, Kids, That's Not How Teleportation Really Works

Illustration for article titled No, Kids, Thats Not How Teleportation Really Works

I know how much all of you wanted to believe that the teleportation effects in Jumper were based on real science, but it turns out tragically not to be true. Popular Mechanics has roped an actual physicist, Dr. Max Tegmark of MIT, into explaining the difference between what Hayden Christensen and Jamie Bell do in Jumper, and what would happen in the real world.

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Though Tegmark gives director Doug Liman credit for trying to get the science right, he points out:

I think Liman had in mind that there was supposed to be some kind of wormhole through space-time, and that's how it was supposed to work. The ones we know of in physics don't just appear out of nowhere, and they're very unstable. If you try to fly through them, the whole thing collapses into a black hole. It's still an open problem in physics—whether all wormholes are unstable or whether by putting dark energy in them you can make them stable, and whether or not traversable wormholes are actually possible . . . [Also] as you convert yourself into pure energy, you correspond to many, many megatons of energy. If you unleash that in an uncontrolled way, it would look like a giant nuclear bomb—and you didn't see anything like that in the movie.

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Damn, I wish we had seen that in the movie, though. Further proof that science can be cooler than fiction.

Jumper Movie Teleportation [Popular Mechanics]

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DISCUSSION

braak
Chris Braak

@doctor_cos: I think the point here is that if you're on the equator, you're moving faster relative to the Earth's core than when you're on a pole. So, if you just popped from the middle of the planet to the end, theoretically you ought to rocket off into space.

It's not the teleportation that provides the intertia.

I remember Nightcrawler having to have to deal with stuff like that. Like when he was in an airplane that was crashing, and he was trying to avoid just teleporting out of it, because he'd still be going a hundred miles an hour when he re-materialized.