Student Seminar

Boldly Going: Exploring the Alcubierre Warp Drive

Meagan Stewart, SFU Physics
Location: C9000

Friday, 03 February 2023 01:30PM PST


In humanity’s quest to explore the stars, the distance we can travel is greatly limited by the speed of our ships. Even if we were to create a rocket that moved close to the speed of light, relativistic effects such as time dilation would complicate communication. Science fiction solved these issues by imagining, in Star Trek’s case, a warp drive: a superluminal engine that could warp spacetime around the ship in order to propel it. In 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a spacetime metric consistent with Einstein’s equations that would describe the behaviour of such an engine, known now as an Alcubierre drive. This talk will outline the theory behind Alcubierre warp drives, the conditions needed for one to hypothetically be created, and the drawbacks they don’t tell you about on the bridge of the Enterprise.