Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time travel-- Impossible or impossible for now?

We've all watched sci-fi shows and movies with time travel where something is either sent backwards in time or forward into the future. In various shows, a person is usually the one going back and forth (usually with the aid of some kind of device). The idea is based on Einstein's general theory of relativity, suggesting that time slows down for objects moving at high speeds. it also suggests that space and time get pulled out of shape near an accelerated or rotating object.

In the 1920s and 1930s, scientists that an infinitely long cylinder spinning at speeds close to the speed of light could be used to warp space-time. Many experiments have been done, including one by Carrol Alley who synchronized two atomic clocks and put one on an airplane. The one on the plane became microseconds behind the one on ground, suggesting that perhaps time had slowed with the speed of the plane.

And in 2001, Ronald Mallet theorized that the gravitational field produced by a laser beam could be manipulated to allow time travel. Wormholes have also been theorized to perhaps allow instant travel from one point to another (whether it's to one point in time to another or one dimension to another).

However, physicists at Hong Kong have recently demonstrated that a photon cannot be accelerated beyond the speed of light, implying that time travel is impossible at least in one area. The research team, working to Einstein's special theory of relativity (that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light) showed that this is true.

What do you think? Do you think time travel is possible through other means? If you could go back in time, where would you go? Or would you go into the future?

Read the article here.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting ideas. This assumes a sort of travel speed. There are other articles showing that some things technically go faster than the speed of light. The action of tachyons hasn't begun to be adequately explained. The ability to transfer between branes and then back again at a specific point in time--especially if one steps into an existence outside of space/time--hasn't been fully explored either.

    Then, I'm a fantasy writer. :D

    I like to imagine that our world hasn't discovered the levels of possibility. Sort of like we used to think molecules were the smallest aspect of things. Oh, wait, then there are smaller ones than that. :D

    Thanks for sharing about time travel and the latest experiments in Hong Kong re: acceleration.

    If I could time travel, I would visit them all--past and future and parallel universes.