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Why will we never have teleportation al la Star Trek?

Why will we never have teleportation al la Star Trek?
Roger Jones from Southampton (Age 55+)

Is human teleportation (like on Star Trek) possible?
Arthur Baker from Greater London
Age 5-14

How close are we to using teleportation as a means of (carbon free) transport, and how much computing power would it require to operate?
Sharron Vass from Edinburgh (age 35-44)

In the future will it be possible to to teleport from one place to another in less than ten seconds without damaging your body and if it is than how?
Sam Pryde from Somerset (age 5-14)


2 Responses

  1. As science fiction author, and inventor of the communications satellite, Arthur C. Clark said:
    ‘When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.’

    There are certainly lots of difficulties with beaming people about, let alone the fact we don’t really know where to begin with the problem. Examples are that it would take an enormous amount of energy to break a person up into his or her constituent particles, and it would take an enormous amount of information to record how to put them back together again. It would also be incredibly hard to measure the positions of all the particles well enough to be confident of putting them in the right place too, and actually getting each particle to the right place at the other end would also be an unimaginably hard problem to solve. And you’d have to do it all very fast – there’s not much good making the head appear if it’s several minutes before the rest of the body gets through! There are also big questions about how you’d go about making sure you got all the information you needed to the other end, which can be a tricky problem in quantum mechanics (although scientists have copied or ‘teleported’ the state of just one particle to another there’s a long way to doing that with anything remotely complex, let alone a whole person).

  2. Quantum teleportation has been acheived recently, that is the teleportation of a quantum state. Therefore, if we could know the total state (=wavefunction) of the person we would like to teleport and if we had exactly the right composition of materials at the destination we could in principle teleport the person!

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