Eric Weinstein and George Ellis battle over Einstein’s relevance in today’s perception of the universe. This was taken from the debate ‘Down the wormhole,’ which was filmed at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales in May of 2023.

Watch the full debate at…

At the highest speeds of current rockets, it would take more than 100,000 years to reach the nearest star. For Hollywood and the many who want to believe in the possibility of space travel across the galaxy, the solution is wormholes, swirly tubes that allow us to cross vast tracts of the universe and time in a magical jump. Compatible with Einstein’s theories, scientists have been reported to have even created them. But critics claim this is false, arguing that we have no evidence for such a thing. The experiment was a simulation of a wormhole and was not real. And even if holes in space time existed travel along them would be impossible.

Should we accept that wormholes are an invention we want to believe but for which there is no evidence? Should we reluctantly conclude that space travel to habitable planets is never going to take place and we will always be alone in the universe? Or is it just possible that our sci-fi imaginings will successfully drive invention?

Eric Weinstein is a mathematical physicist and the host of the podcast The Portal. He is the former Managing Director of Thiel Capital in San Francisco and was formerly a Co-Founder and Principal of the Natron Group in Manhattan as well as a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University in the Mathematical Institute.

George Ellis is a distinguished professor at University of Cape Town in South Africa. He co-authored ‘The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time’ with physicist Stephen Hawking, and is considered one of the world’s leading theorists in cosmology.

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