No one would like confirmation of the Alcubierre warp drive metric being realized in the real world more than me. However, this is a good time to remind the media and public that a publication does not mean confirmation of this or any other result. Publication in a peer reviewed journal simply means that 2-3 outside experts looked at this paper and can find no obvious reason to think it is false. Confirmation would mean an independent team of researchers trying to replicate this effect in their own laboratory. Then publishing their result. Confirmation would preferably this effect being reliably and robustly replicated in numerous independent labs.

This is where I fear we could all easily suffer confirmation bias because something like Warp drive is something so many theoretical physicists would love to see happen. Even proof that it can exist even at the nano scale. This is where Dr White’s particular history comes in for you see he has been researching this very sort of thing for a while 1. This could lead to him being particularly expert at spotting a warp bubble. This could also make him particularly prone to seeing an effect and declaring it to be a warp bubble.

I work on what were once kooky modified gravity theories that can be tested using what were once thought undetectable gravitational waves. For a long time, this was not thought to be an interesting area of physics as string theory took up all of the oxygen. In hindsight everyone acts now as if it was always obvious LIGO would work. Before the first detection this was not the case. This effect could be real, but everyone needs to just keep calm and carry on.

This is not to denigrate his work. Work like his must be done or else we will never possibly overcome the light speed barrier or go beyond some form of rocket powered space travel.

To White's teams credit their paper is more reserved than the press reporting. 

If you liked this article please take a look at my substack.


2.) Worldline numerics applied to custom Casimir geometry generates unanticipated intersection with Alcubierre warp metric Harold White1,a, Jerry Vera1 , Arum Han Eur. Phys. J. C (2021) 81:677