Science in 140 characters: Teleportation troubles

From Star Trek to The Fly to Doctor Who, hundreds of science fiction stories have extensively used interstellar transporters, much to the delight of nerds across the world.

Written by Jamie Mullick | Published:March 20, 2016 2:02 am

TWEEt 759

@Pzmyers

P Z Myers, Biologist

No fictional technology has captured the imagination of sci-fi writers like a teleporter. From Star Trek to The Fly to Doctor Who, hundreds of science fiction stories have extensively used interstellar transporters, much to the delight of nerds across the world. However, biologist P Z Myers tweeted an article which took a rather serious look at what using such a technology would entail. The article states that for a teleporter to work, it would have to rip people apart atom by atom, and assemble them in the exact same layout in a different location. However, the article says that such a device violates the no-cloning system of quantum mechanics. “It is impossible to create an identical copy of a quantum state without destroying the original — in fact, you have to destroy the original arrangement in order to extract all the necessary information from it to construct the new, teleported state,” it says. Which essentially means that the teleportation device would have to destroy the original “you” before it can create you again moments later at the target destination, which would make it a suicide box. It also means that in the scientific sense, what arrives at the destination would not be you, but instead a clone of you that was created moments after the original “you” was destroyed atom by atom.

Killer treatment

@Davidbrin

David Brin, Science writer

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it is not the original tumour that causes most of the damage, it is usually once it metastasises and attacks other organs that it begins to get lethal. But researchers last week published findings that have come up with an approach that tricks the metastasis tumours into swallowing poison. Though the new technique has been only tried on mice so far, but according to an article tweeted by science writer David Brin, trials will be launched on humans this year. The treatment uses a chemotherapeutic agent called doxorubicin (dox). But when dox is injected into the bloodstream, it also attacks the heart muscle. In the new treatment, the medicine is instead into the bloodstream. Scientists use something called a “nanomedicine” to deliver the treatment to the target tissue, without causing any damage to other organs.