‘Star-Trek’ kind of ‘Warp Speed’ Possible Theoretically: Astrophysicist Lewis

Star Trek-style ‘warp speed’ space travel between galaxies is theoretically possible, based on Einstein’s Relativity theory, insists astrophysicist from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Professor Geraint Lewis, from the University of Sydney, says the futuristic concept is possible if we know how to build a warp drive. “It’s theoretically possible, but can we ever build a warp drive? We have hints that the kind of materials that we would need exist in the universe, but whether or not we could get them together and build a warp drive, we still don’t know,” he said.

Professor Geraint F. Lewis

Professor Geraint F. Lewis

All that is required to build a warp drive is to find a material that has a “negative density energy”, he reveals. “Empty space itself has a negative energy density. The big question is if we could mine it and shape it, we would basically have a warp drive there and then, but we just don’t know if that’s possible,” he said.

Prof. Lewis at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy is currently involved in research on cosmology, gravitational lensing and galactic cannibalism. He heads the Gravitational Astrophysics Group at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, whose research covers several key areas in modern astrophysics, including deciphering the nature of the dark matter and dark energy which pervade our Universe, and understanding the evolution of galaxies out of the cosmic broth that existed shortly after the Big Bang.

For this, the Gravitational Astrophysics Group uses state-of-the-art computational facilities to build model universes, modifying the underlying physics and unraveling its observational consequences. This can involve following baby galaxies to maturity, or seeing how the structure of matter can influence the paths of light rays as they traverse the Universe.

Geraint’s research is backed by some of the world’s largest and keenest telescopes to observe our own Galactic neighbourhood, uncovering the formation history of galaxies within our Local Group by identifying the tell-tale signature of ancient accretion events. These occur when one galaxy strays to close and is consumed by another, an act of galactic cannibalism, and have revealed the epoch of galaxy formation is not over, and our own Milky Way continues to grow, said his research info.

Geraint completed his first degree in Physics and Astronomy at the University of London in 1990, followed a PhD at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. He was subsequently a post-doctoral researcher in the USA and Canada, before joining the Anglo-Australian Observatory in 2000. With the University of Sydney since 2002, Geraint is keen to move ahead on war drive now.

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