Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fun Facts: Students calculate how much time is required to perform teleportation as seen on Star Trek

Photo of James Doohan as Scotty from the
television program Star Trek
The University of Leicester's Journal of Physics Special Topics is a yearly publication that features papers by 4th year Master of Physics students. The students are encouraged to select imaginative topics and four students decided to assess the power and time required to send the data that represents a human from earth to a location in circular orbit above the earth in their paper entitled 'Travelling by Teleportation'.

The students assumed that the data of a human, represented by the DNA pairs of the genome, could be the basis for the information that would be transferred. From this they calculated the basic data to fully map the human brain and then assumed that a bandwidth of 29.5 to 30 GHz would be used. Based on this it would require up to 4.85 quadrillion years to complete the transfer of data. To put this in perspective the universe is believed to be only 14 billion years old.

Their calculations also showed that the energy required for teleportation is dependent on bandwidth. So decreasing time creates an increase in power consumption. In short it will be a very long time before teleportation will be quick and energetically cheap.