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Time Travel

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the gladly-pay-you-tuesday-for-a-hamburger-today dept.

Science 1191

Almost Anonymous writes "Ronald Mallett, a physicist at the University of Connecticut, believes he knows how to build a time machine - an actual device that could send something or someone from the future to the past, or vice versa. He plans to have a working mockup this fall. For all those doubters, he assures people that "I'm not a nut"." Uh-huh.

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Dungeon Siege (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297903)

Dungeon Siege is quite possibly one of the best games ever made.

P.S. It is closed source and written by Microsoft.

Hmmm, should I play Dungeon Siege or Tux Racer? I guess I will play Tux Racer since... if its not good enough... hey I can fix it myself, I have the source code.

First (-1, Troll)

Temjin (254851) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297907)

First post!

Unless someone goes back in time and beat me. :p

Re:First (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297945)

Wow, that is a weird thought! Trippy..

Hey Doc (3, Funny)

superx22x (570546) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297908)

Where do you find the Plutonium, and the Flux copacitor.

Also can you maybe make it out of, oh i dont know, a ferrari?

Re:Hey Doc (2)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297921)

Absolutely not.

Its got to be a Delorean. Definately a Delorean. Something with more battery power than the honda Insight [popealien.com]

Re:Hey Doc (1)

jdwilso2 (90224) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297946)

HAAHAA!! That's great

... I vote that we keep the origional (and only) DMC car rather than going exotic... if you can find one that isn't rusted solid ;-)

farrari is a good second choice though...

jdW

Re:Hey Doc (1)

Pravada (217899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297974)

DeLoreans don't rust! They're made out of stainless steel...

Re:Hey Doc (2)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297993)

They don't "rust" in the iron sense, but they do corrode, so beware when buying one that has been painted.

i found the queen of england... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3298007)

she just posted here [slashdot.org] .

does that help at all?

Waves of light (4, Funny)

naoursla (99850) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297909)

It is interesting that he wants to focus light in ways to distort space time. The recent time machine movie alluded to just that technique. Maybe he will go into the future, see a bunch of canabalistic humans then try to come back to warn us but over-shoot the mark and end up talking to HG Wells.

Re:Waves of light (-1)

kcin (34043) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297951)

"canabilistic humans" Oh come on, you'd have to go way into the future before blacks makeup the majority of the population.

Re:Waves of light (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297955)

The scary thing is that that could well be possible!

Governmental control...? (0)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297912)

And what about the ethics of changing history?
There would be government laws to control time travel, he believes.


Oh good. Governmental control. That makes me feel a WHOLE lot better. There's no WAY a government would misuse something as mundane as time travel...

Umm... (4, Interesting)

ByteHog (247706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297915)

Define "Working Mockup" :)

Re:Umm... (1)

xmalenko (127203) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297988)

If you actually read the article...

The professor and his UConn colleagues plan to build a device to test whether it's possible to transport a subatomic particle, probably a neutron, through time. The energy from a rotating laser beam, Mallett hopes, would warp the space inside the ring of the light so that gravity forces the neutron to rotate sideways. With even more energy, it's possible, he believes, a second neutron would appear. The second particle would be the first one visiting itself from the future.

he's not a nut... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297916)

and i'm the queen of england. any questions?

WINDOWS USERS CLICK HERE! [paware.com]

Re:he's not a nut... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297929)

thanks baby for the link, helped me get an errection :o)

Re:he's not a nut... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297983)

hey that link is some cool stuff...
thanks

Re:he's not a nut... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297986)

yeh, didn't you just die or something? Must have traveled into the future ODOODOODOODOODOOOOO

evil beings? (1)

vitalidea (571366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297917)

Uh... government control, eh? sounds like we'll have timecop pretty soon. "Going back in time is pretty good way to make money."

From the article... (4, Funny)

Silver222 (452093) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297918)

While Mallett acknowledges that sending a person through time may require more energy than physicists today know how to harness, he sees it merely as "an engineering problem."


Oh, just an engineering problem. That's great. Maybe after Mallett perfects time travel, he can get to work on cold fusion and a perpetual motion machine.


By the way, that reminds me of the Simpsons where Lisa builds a perpetual motion machine, and shows Homer. Homer gets mad and yells, "Lisa, in this house we obey the Laws of Thermodynamics!!"


I guess this guy doesn't have a Homer to yell at him.

Re:From the article... (3, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298005)

>> While Mallett acknowledges that sending a person through time may require more energy than physicists today know how to harness, he sees it merely as "an engineering problem."

> Oh, just an engineering problem. That's great. Maybe after Mallett perfects time travel, he can get to work on cold fusion and a perpetual motion machine.

Actually, I solved cold fusion last Tuesday. Unfortunately it involves "more energy than physicists today know how to harness, [but it's] merely an engineering problem." So that's alright then. Where do I collect my Nobel Prize?

Well... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297920)

If it's so good, why doesn't he make it, and ship it back to now, so he can have it right away.

hehehe

Re:Well... (1)

bigbadwlf (304883) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297937)

That's just it.

If time travel is possible, where are all the time travellers?

Re:Well... (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297968)

Didn't you read the article? They are in "parallel universes". Some people...

Re:Well... (1)

bigbadwlf (304883) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298000)

Our universe is the only one without time travellers? Wow.

Re:Well... (0, Offtopic)

vitalidea (571366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298014)

Maybe because the future hasn't happened yet.

hey... (4, Funny)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297922)

If he has a working model nexy fall, why dosn't he just send it back to our time so we have it now?

Re:hey... (2)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297948)

Some scientific theories dealing with time travel have the restriction that apparently you can't go back in time to before the invention of the time machine. I don't understand why, so don't ask me.

This would also mean that humanity is the most advanced species in the universe, since otherwise some aliens would have invented time travel before us and he would be able to bring his time machine back to the present day.

Tim

Re:hey... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297952)

nexy=next, proofreading is good

-DanThe1Man

Poignant. (5, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297923)

Whatever the viability of his claim, his motives are poignant - he wants to go back in time and warn his father, who died of cancer when he was 10, of the danger of cigarettes.

I have no idea how physicists approach the question of the creation of a contrafactual timeline which removes its own motive for existing (if his father lived, then he wouldn't create the time machine, and thus etc. etc.) But I think this is more interesting, if tragic, as a story of a man who still misses his father than as a viable line of research.

Re:Poignant. (2)

sinserve (455889) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297965)

Our emotions and primitive instincts influence our thinking.

Do you know how many of your choices were influenced by "sex" or "hunger"?

--

must be a nut... (2)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297924)

If I thought I could build a time maching, I sure as hell wouldn't tell anyone about it. I'd be using it for my own personal advantage, and maybe "for the good of mankind" after I have gone back to the 70's and bought a few thousand shares of Berkshire Hathaway [yahoo.com] stock.

Re:must be a nut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297970)

I'd use the timemachine to fuck lots of pretty young ladies

Re:must be a nut... (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297992)

What if the event of you purchasing those shares triggered off an event where the company in fact went bankrupt and we all went without whatever the hell it is that they do?

Re:must be a nut... (2)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298008)

well, i guess i'll just have to back to a point shortly before i left to tell myself not to buy them.

any movie go-er already knows.... (1)

slhack3r (324207) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297926)

it should be "uh-oh" instead of "uh-huh."

things i learned from movies #429: don't screw with the past. period.

He's either a fruit that's a little nutty... (2)

jcsehak (559709) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297927)


...or a nut that's a little fruity. C'mon, any 15-year-old who daydreamed in math class knows that we will NEVER be able to send people back in time, for the simple reason that we'd have met them already.

And what about the ethics of changing history?

There would be government laws to control time travel, he believes


Can we get Sen. Hollings on this?

Re:He's either a fruit that's a little nutty... (2)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297954)

we will NEVER be able to send people back in time, for the simple reason that we'd have met them already.

Maybe we have...

Re:He's either a fruit that's a little nutty... (2)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297989)

C'mon, any 15-year-old who daydreamed in math class knows that we will NEVER be able to send people back in time, for the simple reason that we'd have met them already.

Unless you subscribe to the theory that multiple parallel universes exist, in which case the time travelers wouldn't be traveling back to meet us, they would travel to a parallel universe. That way we wouldn't see them, and they couldn't affect their own past and cause nasty time paradoxes (paradoxen?).

Re:He's either a fruit that's a little nutty... (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298009)

Except that that assumes that the time machine can go back in time before the time machine was invented. Current theories of physics allow time machines to only go back as far as the time the original time machine was invented. So, thus, we could never visit our complete past anyway.

Re:He's either a fruit that's a little nutty... (1)

bumski (308461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298011)

There would be government laws to control time travel, he believes

Can we get Sen. Hollings on this?

More likely, there'd be time travel to control government laws. Perhaps we can get Sen. Holling with this.

laws for time travellers? who cares? (1)

kraada (300650) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297928)

from the article:
"If his idea pans out, won't there be a host of potential paradoxes, such as time travelers killing their parents and making it impossible for them to exist? No, he says, explaining that those travelers would continue to exist in a ''parallel universe.''
And what about the ethics of changing history?
There would be government laws to control time travel, he believes. "

Now, if the fact that you go back in time doesn't affect people in this time, as we exist in a parallel universe, why should we care if someone goes back in time and screws things up? They're no longer in our world, and we continue along happily without them. Good riddance!
I see no real reason to have any loyalty to versions of myself in alternate universes and alternate times . . . however, the problem is that someone could come into this universe from the future and screw things up. But then wouldn't he be governed under our laws?
Also, if someone came back from the future in this world and somebody chased them, wouldn't they end up in different universes? Why would they end up in the same parallel universe?
Basically, I see lots of really strange questions here . . . unfortunately we'll never really have any way to know the answers, because even if every time we send someone back they end up in the same universe as the person they were chasing, we still don't know that it's just a probability, and we've been lucky every time . . .
Oh, the strangeness of time travel . . .

Re:laws for time travellers? who cares? (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297990)

If every time someone time travels they end up in a parallel dimension then we every time traveller will disappear never to be seen again. We'll just assume that the device destroy them. It might be a great way to get rid of nuclear waste though.

Re:laws for time travellers? who cares? (1)

Gangis (310282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298002)

Please... Don't try to rationalize time paradoxes like this... It hurts my head. Oww...

Re:laws for time travellers? who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3298016)

You know if i kill all my possible other selves i could just get stronger and stronger. I'd be the one even. Then I could use cool lines like "I'm nobodies bitch!"

Re:laws for time travellers? who cares? (1)

$uperjay (263648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298019)

It'd be the only way to avoid creating those tricky paradoxes, see.

For this to work, you have to believe in the 'multiverse', a infinitely large collection of parallel universes that grows at an infinite rate, because whenever the state of the universe could be different, a new parallel universe spawns where it is different. For example, there's a universe where I forgot to brush my teeth this morning. An infinite number of them, actually. Even the simple flux of space that quantum mechanics dictates (the kind that makes Hawking radiation from black holes) would be enough to spawn parallel universes. So, when you go back in time, your leave your universe (because if you didn't, you'd have changed things so that you might not go into the past in the first place) and enter someone else's (who, coincidentally, is just like you). Of course, if you buy into these sorts of multiverse shenanigans, the anthropic principle easily explains away God, so there's a bit of a consequence to this easy way out of the time travel problems.

And, of course, time travel is still breaking the laws of thermodynamics, which as we all know from Doom, will summon hellspawned chaos beastlings to wreak heck on us all. So don't do that.

A good analogy that might help you wrap your mind around it is the plot of Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger. In Chrono Trigger, the heroes go and defeat a world-destroying monster called Lavos - except, this means that they wouldn't have had to go back in time in the first place, but a mind-bending paradox is averted by parellel universes popping up where they did, and some where they didn't go back in time. See? Simple. Well, maybe not. Fun game at least.

Aww... Damnit!! (1)

KanSer (558891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297930)

I thought Flux Capacitor was one of those fake science fiction things so I sold mine in that yard sale last spring... ARG!! Hmm... plutonium you say? Well... my atom poster says I can bombard U238 with neutrons and get U239 which gives me Neptunium 239 pretty fast and that changes to plutonium... woo! Now wherethe fuck do I get my particle accelerator and 12 pounds of 238. MOOOOOM!

And.... (1)

ProofOfConcept (567087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297931)

I plan on building a machine that travels faster than the speed of light. I'm not going to provide any proof, but you'll have to trust me on this one. Expect a mock-up sometime this winter.

bizarre (-1)

forkspoon (116573) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297932)

First, I would like to get to know you.

This is fucked up, time travel, it can lead to catastrophie! What happens when people go to the FUTURE and bring back crazy shit like terrible weapons? Dont the people in the future know that we will come visit them? What happens when you muck with the past?

Preliminary pictures of the device (2, Funny)

cscx (541332) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297933)

Are available here. [delorean.com]

(OT)Re:Preliminary pictures of the device (3, Funny)

DennyK (308810) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298018)

Heh...check out their Warehouse Tour... [delorean.com]

Our new Houston facility is scheduled for completion later this year. These images depict how we are getting ready for that big move, so we can bring the our excellent service one step closer to you at our new facility in Houston.

Followed by fourteen beautiful photographs of...um...boxes. And crushed boxes. And crates. And pallets. And assoted pipes and other oddments that might be identifiable if the pictures had been taken with something besides a $20 OfficeMax Special digital camera...

Some employees have way too much time on their hands... ;)

DennyK

They're all nuts (1)

FerrisOxideTheYounge (546842) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297934)

Even the guy debunking it is crazy. Asked whether time travel is a possibility, Alan Guth responds with "Definitely not within our lifetimes". What's that s'posed to mean? OK, so if time travel is a possibility at all, why would time travellers avoid our lifetimes? Does he mean all of this period in history, or just the 70s and 80s?

Re:They're all nuts (2)

doooras (543177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297976)

um... i think he is saying that WE will not have the means to travel through time during our lifetimes. Not that others can't travel to our time.

He is a nut (1)

njdj (458173) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297935)

Most physicists who are not nuts believe that traveling backwards in time is logically impossible. For example, someone could travel back to a time before he was conceived, and murder his parents.

Logically impossible... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298015)

There are plenty of things in modern physics that are "logically" impossible. Besides, the many-worlds interpretation neatly sidesteps logic for problems such as this.

Is it just me... (1)

Moonwick (6444) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297936)

...or is michael completely incapable of not adding his own stubborn bias at the end of every article he posts?

For once can't you refrain from adding your idiotic opinion at the end of everything?

Assuming he does accomplish this feat... (1)

MarcoJROM (412323) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297938)

So if he actually does manage to travel to the past, what happens to us? Do we just STOP!?
Or does everything continue as normal except for one missing professor of physics?
And if so, does his going back in time create an alternate time coexisting with our time but using the same space?

Why there will never be a time machine (3, Insightful)

D_Gr8_BoB (136268) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297939)

Say someone in the future develops a time machine using some newly discovered way of exploiting a loophole in the laws of physics. Such a machine would almost certainly be used to travel into the past. And yet in the present, no time travelers from the future have been observed.

I have much more faith in the possibility that a time machine is impossible to construct than the possibility that all time travelers in the future will be so careful that no one will notice them.

Re:Why there will never be a time machine (1)

Wheaty18 (465429) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297953)

Just to play devils advocate, why not? I'm sure that people travelling back through time would understand the implications if they messed up the timeline in any way.

Only one problem... (-1)

kcin (34043) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297940)

Oh man. AC fucked you up.

!= Movie (1)

Wheaty18 (465429) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297941)

As long as his experiments don't turn out to be as disastrous as the recent movie....

sigh... (1)

coene (554338) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297942)

If his idea pans out, won't there be a host of potential paradoxes, such as time travelers killing their parents and making it impossible for them to exist? No, he says, explaining that those travelers would continue to exist in a ''parallel universe.''

I'm not sure about anyone else, but him answering a valid question with "Parallel Universe" doesent really put me at ease about the vadility of the whole thing. Whats it worth living in a parallel universe anyways, if I cant smell it or rub it against the wall, i dont want it!

Old news, more info below (1, Informative)

sjwt (161428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297943)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Yee"
Newsgroups: sci.space.news
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2001 1:34 AM
Subject: Time Twister (Forwarded)

> New Scientist
> http://www.newscientist.com
>
> Contact:
> Claire Bowles, claire.bowles@rbi.co.uk, 44-207-331-2751
>
> EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: May 16, 2001, 14:00 EDT US
>
> Time Twister
>
> Before your children are born, their children could turn up at your door.
> Michael Brooks discovers how to turn the future into the past
>
> RONALD MALLETT thinks he has found a practical way to make a time machine.
> Mallett isn't mad. None of the known laws of physics forbids time travel,
> and in theory, shunting matter back and forth through time shouldn't be that
> difficult.
>
> The catch usually comes when you try to make it work in practice. Remember
> wormholes, those clever little tunnels in space and time that can supposedly
> be used to travel from one moment to another? On paper, they're a perfectly
> respectable way to travel back in time. Trouble is, you need a supply of
> exotic "negative energy" matter to prise your wormhole open.
>
> But Mallett, a professor of theoretical physics at Connecticut University,
> believes he has found a route to the past that uses something much more down
> to earth: light. Mallett has worked out that a circulating beam of light,
> slowed to a snail's pace, just might be the vital ingredient for time travel.
> Not only is the technology within our grasp, Mallett has teamed up with
> other scientists at Connecticut to work towards building it. "With this
> device," he says, "time travel may become a practical possibility."
>
> It may be hard for us to climb into Mallett's time machine, as slowing light
> down requires temperatures close to absolute zero. But future, advanced
> civilisations might work out a way to do it. And they might even come back
> to tell us how. If it works in the way Mallett believes it might, his device
> would provide time travellers from the future with their first gateway into
> our history.
>
> Mallett began his journey into the past when he was just ten years old. In
> 1955, his father died of a heart attack. "For me, the sun rose and set on
> him. It completely devastated me," Mallett says. But then he came across
> The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. Even as a child, Mallett knew his father
> hadn't taken care of himself. Drinking and heavy smoking took a toll on
> his weak heart, and it gave out at the age of 33. "My notion was that if
> I could build a time machine, I might be able to warn him about what was
> going to happen," Mallett says. "That became my guiding light."
>
> What started as a childish notion grew into a passionate investigation of
> everything ever written about time travel. When Mallett studied the work
> of Einstein -- who died in the same year as his father -- he realised that
> Wells's novel was right on track: time travel is, in theory at least,
> achievable.
>
> Einstein himself found the notion upsetting, but he had only himself to
> blame. He showed that the effect we call gravity is a bending of space and
> time. Anything that has mass or energy distorts the space and the passage
> of time in its vicinity, a bit like the way the surface of a soft couch is
> distorted when someone sits on it. Solving Einstein's gravitational field
> equations tells you just how space-time is distorted by mass and energy.
>
> A lump of matter stretches space and time. So, for example, clocks run
> slower in the gravitational field close to Earth than they do far out in
> space. And if you set a massive lump spinning, it begins to whip space and
> time around after it, like a rotating teaspoon dragging the foam on a cup
> of coffee. The denser and faster-moving the matter, the more strongly it
> distorts space-time.
>
> Take this idea far enough, and you find that time can be twisted so much
> that instead of running in an infinite line from past to future, it is
> bent into a ring. Follow this loop around, and you return to a particular
> moment, just as a walk around the block brings you back to your front door.
>
> Theoreticians have found some solutions to Einstein's equations that include
> these "closed time-like loops" -- physicists' jargon for a time machine. The
> first to do so was the Austrian-born mathematician Kurt Gsdel, in 1949, but
> unfortunately his solution required the whole Universe to be rotating --
> which it's not. Decades later Kip Thorne of Caltech came up with the idea
> of using wormholes, which link different regions of warped space-time, to
> provide such loops. Other loops can be made by infinitely long, spinning
> cylinders -- somewhat hard to come by -- or fast-moving cosmic strings. In
> the early Universe, these ultra-dense strands of matter may have been as
> common as dirt, but alas, no longer.
>
> Mallett's idea of using light is much less outlandish. "People forget that
> light, even though it has no mass, causes space to bend," he says. Light
> that has been reflected or refracted to follow a circular path has
> particularly strange effects. Last year, Mallett published a paper
> describing how a circulating beam of laser light would create a vortex in
> space within its circle (Physics Letters A, vol 269, p 214). Then he had a
> eureka moment. "I realised that time, as well as space, might be twisted by
> circulating light beams," Mallett says.
>
> To twist time into a loop, Mallett worked out that he would have to add
> a second light beam, circulating in the opposite direction. Then if you
> increase the intensity of the light enough, space and time swap roles:
> inside the circulating light beam, time runs round and round, while what
> to an outsider looks like time becomes like an ordinary dimension of space.
> A person walking along in the right direction could actually be walking
> backwards in time -- as measured outside the circle. So after walking for a
> while, you could leave the circle and meet yourself before you have entered
> it (see Diagram, http://www.newscientist.com/ns_images/2291/22911F3 . PG).
>
> The energy needed to twist time into a loop is enormous, however. Perhaps
> this wouldn't be a practical time machine after all? But when Mallett took
> another look at his solutions, he saw that the effect of circulating light
> depends on its velocity: the slower the light, the stronger the distortion
> in space-time. Though it seems counter-intuitive, light gains inertia as
> it is slowed down. "Increasing its inertia increases its energy, and this
> increases the effect," Mallett says. As luck would have it, slowing light
> down has just become a practical possibility. Lene Hau of Harvard University
> has slowed light from the usual 300,000 kilometres per second to just a few
> metres per second -- and even to a standstill (New Scientist, 27 January,
> p 4). "Prior to this, I wouldn't have thought time travel this way was a
> practical possibility," Mallett says. "But the slow light opens up a domain
> we just haven't had before."
>
> To slow light down, Hau uses an ultra-cold bath of atoms known as a
> Bose-Einstein condensate. "All you need is to have the light circulate in
> one of these media," Mallett says. "It's a technological problem. I'm not
> saying it's easy, but we're not talking about exotic technology here; we're
> not talking about creating wormholes in space."
>
> Mallett has already caught the interest of his head of department, William
> Stwalley, who leads a group of cold-atom researchers. Their first experiment
> will be designed only to observe the twisting of space, by looking for its
> effect on the spin of a particle trapped in the light circle. If they can
> then add a second beam, Mallett believes evidence of time travel will
> eventually appear. He's not sure how time travel would manifest itself.
> Perhaps what starts out as a single trapped particle would acquire a
> partner -- the particle visiting itself from the future.
>
> Stwalley is more interested in the practical challenges of the experiment,
> and remains sceptical about possibilities of time travel. "A time machine
> certainly seems like a distant improbability at best," he says.
>
> Last month, Mallett gave his first talk on the idea at the University of
> Michigan at the invitation of astrophysicist Fred Adams, who accepts that
> the theoretical side of Mallett's work stands up to scrutiny. "The reception
> was cautious and sceptical," Adams admits. "But there were no holes punched
> in it, either. The solution is probably valid."
>
> But even Adams isn't convinced that the experiment will work. That's hardly
> surprising, as time travel raises disturbing questions. Could you go back
> and murder your grandparents, making your birth impossible? There may be
> ways out of this problem (see "Paradox lost" [below]), but most physicists
> think that any attempt to mess with history should be impossible. The
> Cambridge astrophysicist Stephen Hawking calls this the "chronology
> protection conjecture".
>
> The general theory of relativity, which Mallett used to work out his theory
> of time travel, does not take account of quantum mechanics. Could this be
> the crucial omission that means time machines won't work in the real
> Universe? Hawking and Thorne say that any time machine would magnify quantum
> fluctuations in the electromagnetic field, and destroy itself with a beam
> of intense radiation. But to know for sure, we need a theory of quantum
> gravity -- a theory that merges quantum theory with relativity.
>
> Even Mallett doesn't claim that time travel is definitely within reach.
> "Whether it will do what I predict is something that one will only know by
> performing the actual experiment," he says. Then there's the problem of
> getting on and off the loop of time without destroying it -- or yourself.
> "I really don't know whether you could use this in the sense of H. G.
> Wells's time machine," says Mallett.
>
> But who knows? In a few years, we may have entered an era when time travel
> is possible, and all kinds of strange people, things and situations from
> the future might come to visit. One thing seems certain, though. Even if
> the Connecticut time machine works, it won't be taking any Yankees back to
> the court of King Arthur. Mallett's circle of light won't allow anyone to
> travel back beyond the point where time first formed a closed loop. So it
> will be impossible to go back to a time before it was set up. "A later
> person could only travel back to the time when the machine is turned on,"
> Mallett says. This may explain why we have never been overrun by visitors
> from the future. It also means that although Mallett might change the
> Universe, he won't ever achieve his childhood dream. Mallet's father will
> remain forever beyond his reach.
>
>
> Paradox lost
>
> Time travel is littered with paradoxes. The most notorious is the idea of
> travelling back to the time before your parents were born and killing your
> grandparents, making it impossible that you would ever exist. And if you
> didn't exist, you wouldn't be able to travel back, so you wouldn't kill
> your grandparents, so you would be born after all ... Any influence on the
> past can lead to self-contradictory logical loops like this.
>
> People have dreamed up ways to try to break out of the loop. One is the
> "consistent histories" approach, which says that you must be somehow
> forbidden from doing anything that would change the past. However hard you
> try, something will stop your killing spree. But this is uncomfortably
> deterministic. In a universe with time travel, should everything be
> predetermined?
>
> Another way out is the "alternative histories" hypothesis. In this idea,
> you go back to a different history from the one you left. You are free
> to do anything in this alternate version of history -- killing your
> grandparents included. It won't change anything in the history where you
> originated.
>
> This has parallels in the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics,
> an explanation of how the bizarre quantum laws allow unobserved particles
> such as atoms and electrons to be in two places at once. Every time an
> observation forces them to choose one position or another, a new universe
> is created -- one where they took one position, one where they took the
> other. So perhaps a time machine would take you into a parallel universe.
>
> ###
>
> Michael Brooks is a Features Editor at New Scientist
>
> New Scientist issue: 19 May 2001
>
> PLEASE MENTION NEW SCIENTIST AS THE SOURCE OF THIS STORY AND, IF PUBLISHING
> ONLINE, PLEASE CARRY A HYPERLINK TO: http://www.newscientist.com
>
>
> --
> Andrew Yee
> ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca
>
>

Re:Old news, more info below (0)

sjwt (161428) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297960)

> a second light beam, circulating in the opposite direction. Then if you
> increase the intensity of the light enough, space and time swap roles:
> inside the circulating light beam, time runs round and round, while what
> to an outsider looks like time becomes like an ordinary dimension of space.
> A person walking along in the right direction could actually be walking
> backwards in time -- as measured outside the circle. So after walking for a
> while, you could leave the circle and meet yourself before you have entered
> it (see Diagram, http://www.newscientist.com/ns_images/2291/22911F3 . PG).
>
> The energy needed to twist time into a loop is enormous, however. Perhaps
> this wouldn't be a practical time machine after all? But when Mallett took
> another look at his solutions, he saw that the effect of circulating light
> depends on its velocity: the slower the light, the stronger the distortion
> in space-time. Though it seems counter-intuitive, light gains inertia as
> it is slowed down. "Increasing its inertia increases its energy, and this
> increases the effect," Mallett says. As luck would have it, slowing light
> down has just become a practical possibility. Lene Hau of Harvard University
> has slowed light from the usual 300,000 kilometres per second to just a few
> metres per second -- and even to a standstill (New Scientist, 27 January,
> p 4). "Prior to this, I wouldn't have thought time travel this way was a
> practical possibility," Mallett says. "But the slow light opens up a domain
> we just haven't had before."
>
> To slow light down, Hau uses an ultra-cold bath of atoms known as a
> Bose-Einstein condensate. "All you need is to have the light circulate in
> one of these media," Mallett says. "It's a technological problem. I'm not
> saying it's easy, but we're not talking about exotic technology here; we're
> not talking about creating wormholes in space."
>
> Mallett has already caught the interest of his head of department, William
> Stwalley, who leads a group of cold-atom researchers. Their first experiment
> will be designed only to observe the twisting of space, by looking for its
> effect on the spin of a particle trapped in the light circle. If they can
> then add a second beam, Mallett believes evidence of time travel will
> eventually appear. He's not sure how time travel would manifest itself.
> Perhaps what starts out as a single trapped particle would acquire a
> partner -- the particle visiting itself from the future.
>
> Stwalley is more interested in the practical challenges of the experiment,
> and remains sceptical about possibilities of time travel. "A time machine
> certainly seems like a distant improbability at best," he says.
>
> Last month, Mallett gave his first talk on the idea at the University of
> Michigan at the invitation of astrophysicist Fred Adams, who accepts that
> the theoretical side of Mallett's work stands up to scrutiny. "The reception
> was cautious and sceptical," Adams admits. "But there were no holes punched
> in it, either. The solution is probably valid."
>
> But even Adams isn't convinced that the experiment will work. That's hardly
> surprising, as time travel raises disturbing questions. Could you go back
> and murder your grandparents, making your birth impossible? There may be
> ways out of this problem (see "Paradox lost" [below]), but most physicists
> think that any attempt to mess with history should be impossible. The
> Cambridge astrophysicist Stephen Hawking calls this the "chronology
> protection conjecture".
>
> The general theory of relativity, which Mallett used to work out his theory
> of time travel, does not take account of quantum mechanics. Could this be
> the crucial omission that means time machines won't work in the real
> Universe? Hawking and Thorne say that any time machine would magnify quantum
> fluctuations in the electromagnetic field, and destroy itself with a beam
> of intense radiation. But to know for sure, we need a theory of quantum
> gravity -- a theory that merges quantum theory with relativity.
>
> Even Mallett doesn't claim that time travel is definitely within reach.
> "Whether it will do what I predict is something that one will only know by
> performing the actual experiment," he says. Then there's the problem of
> getting on and off the loop of time without destroying it -- or yourself.
> "I really don't know whether you could use this in the sense of H. G.
> Wells's time machine," says Mallett.
>
> But who knows? In a few years, we may have entered an era when time travel
> is possible, and all kinds of strange people, things and situations from
> the future might come to visit. One thing seems certain, though. Even if
> the Connecticut time machine works, it won't be taking any Yankees back to
> the court of King Arthur. Mallett's circle of light won't allow anyone to
> travel back beyond the point where time first formed a closed loop. So it
> will be impossible to go back to a time before it was set up. "A later
> person could only travel back to the time when the machine is turned on,"
> Mallett says. This may explain why we have never been overrun by visitors
> from the future. It also means that although Mallett might change the
> Universe, he won't ever achieve his childhood dream. Mallet's father will
> remain forever beyond his reach.
>
>
> Paradox lost
>
> Time travel is littered with paradoxes. The most notorious is the idea of
> travelling back to the time before your parents were born and killing your
> grandparents, making it impossible that you would ever exist. And if you
> didn't exist, you wouldn't be able to travel back, so you wouldn't kill
> your grandparents, so you would be born after all ... Any influence on the
> past can lead to self-contradictory logical loops like this.
>
> People have dreamed up ways to try to break out of the loop. One is the
> "consistent histories" approach, which says that you must be somehow
> forbidden from doing anything that would change the past. However hard you
> try, something will stop your killing spree. But this is uncomfortably
> deterministic. In a universe with time travel, should everything be
> predetermined?
>
> Another way out is the "alternative histories" hypothesis. In this idea,
> you go back to a different history from the one you left. You are free
> to do anything in this alternate version of history -- killing your
> grandparents included. It won't change anything in the history where you
> originated.
>
> This has parallels in the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics,
> an explanation of how the bizarre quantum laws allow unobserved particles
> such as atoms and electrons to be in two places at once. Every time an
> observation forces them to choose one position or another, a new universe
> is created -- one where they took one position, one where they took the
> other. So perhaps a time machine would take you into a parallel universe.
>
> ###
>
> Michael Brooks is a Features Editor at New Scientist
>
> New Scientist issue: 19 May 2001
>
> PLEASE MENTION NEW SCIENTIST AS THE SOURCE OF THIS STORY AND, IF PUBLISHING
> ONLINE, PLEASE CARRY A HYPERLINK TO: http://www.newscientist.com
>
>
> --
> Andrew Yee
> ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca
>
>

I really don't think time travel is possible (2)

JPriest (547211) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297947)

So I'll believe it when I see it. If he is correct then we'll all be readinig about it next fall then. Thats settled then, I'll go back to what I was doing..er, will go do what I'm about to be doing rather.

It's true, I swear it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297950)

The guy's story is true! I know this, because, in the future, time travel becomes commonplace. He actually travelled back in time to thwart the WTC bombings. This really pissed off Osama so he got hold of one of these devices and travelled forward in time to assasinate the good doctor before he had a chance to make his trip. Which negated the good doctor's travel back through time which allowed the WTC bombings to go ahead as planned.

Enough paradoxes for you? Don't worry, the government won't allow this research to continue, because this device is a tool of terror.

time travel (1)

sewagemaster (466124) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297956)

still not possible, since we still havent had any visitors from the future yet??

oh wait, is the present really the present...

Just imagine if it were true... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297957)

This could be a first post!

Maybe. (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297958)

Maybe he knows something few others know or are willing to find out. Or maybe his experiment will end in the untimely death of a few people. Who knows? Don't jump to conclusions just yet, folks.

I know one way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297961)

...to travel to the future. You'll need:
  • a blanket
  • a clock
Operations:
  • cover yourself with the blanket
  • use the clock to wait for the desired amount of time
  • remove the blanket
Et voila, you've just traveled into the future! Right now this method can only let you travel 1 min into the future per min under the blanket, but there must be a way to improve that ratio.

Time Travel? (1)

bigdoof (566322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297962)

Does this count? It was daylight savings and no one told me. I think I'm an hour in the future.

Time Travel (0)

skinney (395862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297963)

Umm...this guy forgot that Time Travel was invented in 1985 with Emmet "Doc" Brown's 'Flux Copasiter'. This guy was 17 years too late.

Hmmm, (1)

Swix (456262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297964)

Maybe I can go back in time a change my posts to ones that have been moded up.

More information (1)

MontyP (26575) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297966)

This Professor at Uconn has been in the news before. I believe he was posted on /. several months ago. More information on the project can be found here:
Moving Time with Light [lightwatcher.com]

Irony (2, Interesting)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297969)

The inspiration for working on time travel came from his secret desire to go back in time and warn his father to quit smoking, as his father died when he was 10 years old.

So say he builds his time machine, goes back in time, and saves his father. Now he did that in a "parallel universe" (according to the article), and so now in this universe he doesn't invent time travel because his father is alive.

In conclusion: this man will not invent time travel, because if he does, it must only happen in a parallel universe.

Circular theory, here we come... (2)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297973)

...if he really can build a time machine, then he doesn't have to. All he needs to do is wait for his future self to beam back the machine and viola! He's got a time machine. Which he can then beam back to himself.

Re:Circular theory, here we come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3298013)

Damn! Dantheman beat me to this joke by 8 minutes! I knew I shouldn't waste time proofreading! 8^)

Hawking says... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297975)

"Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" (monotone computer-synthesized voice)

- Stephen Hawking

Haiku (1)

offtopic_haiku_man (571388) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297977)

Once you've got it right,
Could you send me back to the
First time I had sex?

Re:Haiku (4, Funny)

0xB (568582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298017)

Don't you mean "Could send me forward to the first time you have sex"?

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

Gangis (310282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297978)

As far as I know, it's possible to go FORWARD in time, since the faster you are to the speed of light, the slower the time around you. I once read that they took an atomic clock on one of the Concorde supersonic planes, and another one on the ground, and there was a time dilation of 0.0003 (or something like that) nanoseconds. If you could find a way to go even 99.999% the speed of light, you'd age only a few days while the sun's entering it's Red Giant phase. Or something like that.

Will never happen (1)

ttyp0 (33384) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297980)

My thought is that time travel will NEVER exist. Imagine a time machine is built in the future. Wouldn't someone use it to travel back to the present (2002 or even earlier)? I think we would see evidence of time travel and even exponential technological advancements (bringing technology from the future, most likely for profit)

Time travel? (3, Funny)

0xB (568582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297981)


Hasn't this story been posted before?

Time Travel in Canada Today (1)

Quirk (36086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297984)

Hey if you're in British Columbia do that time travel thing and spring forward... :)
Ah well back to learning Java.

I don't see how slowing down light helps. (1)

Niadh (468443) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297985)

"Circulating laser beams in the right way, by slowing them down and shooting them through anything from fiber-optic cable to special crystals, might create a similar distortion that could theoretically transport someone through different times, Mallett believes."

If I remember right, some crystals could slow down light because when the light travels through them the light has to turn into some other slower form of energy. So how would this have any affect on time because the speed of light stays contain regardless of the things you put it through, right? Can someone with a better understanding help me out? I would like to know how making gravity force a neutron to rotate sideways can lead to a second neutron forming next to it (shouldn't it for IN it if at all?)

Damned movie studio guerilla marketing! (1, Troll)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297987)

First the "fakeumentary" for Blair Witch, now this. The "Time Machine" film marketing people have gone too far, I say! Be on the lookout for the upcoming "interview with the 'real' Green Goblin" they'll be using to hype the new Spider Man flick. I'm also told they've dredged up Meriadoc Brandybuck for an exclusive "tell-all" expose of Samwise and his relationship with Frodo.

OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297991)

If the machine will be working this fall, why hasn't he come into our current time from the future?

I have an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297994)

Maybe he can go back in time and warnt he US government about the WTC disaster.
You heard me.

LOL, new John Katz book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297995)

Attention John Katz luvers everywhere.

He has a new book [amazon.com] out. Go to amazon, and -ahem- write a review ; -)

We should be encouraging these people (5, Interesting)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297996)

For most of his career, however, Mallett kept secret that his desire for time travel had drawn him to become a physicist. It wasn't until a few years ago, when he began researching a book on the topic, that he arrived at his idea of how to build a time machine.

Seems to me that's a great reason to become a physicist. Imagine what kind of creativity we could produce if the reply to something like that was "Cool! Here's some books to help you," rather than "You're crazy. That can't happen, so go do something else."

Time just ended, (1)

Swix (456262) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297997)

Well if you think of it....

Man kills Man,
Man fells bad,
Man builds time machine,
Man tells Man not to kill Man,
Man doesn't kill Man,
Man doesn't fell bad,
Man doesn't build time machine,
Man never goes back in time to fix problem of killing man so the man still kills man, man fells bad.

This would put time into and endless loop and we would never know it!

he's a nut (1)

r00tarded (553054) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297998)

he's a nut

Proof time travel is impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3297999)

It's impossible to go back in time. The proof is all around us. If we were ever able to go back in time, would we not aready know from the time travelers visiting us?

The best he can build is a disintegration chamber (5, Insightful)

Cogos (310453) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298001)

According to the quote in the article there is a big flaw in the plan"If his idea pans out, won't there be a host of potential paradoxes, such as time travelers killing their parents and making it impossible for them to exist? No, he says, explaining that those travelers would continue to exist in a ''parallel universe.''

In other words, anyone or anything sent into the past create some sort of parallel universe. Which means we will never see any evidence that the time machine works. At best he'll be able to create an effect where you toss something in and it disappears. Sounds to me like a great way to get rid of garbage but a less than ideal way to travel.

Of course there should also be plenty of parallel universes where stray neutrons, lab rats, and grad students will appear out of no where. THOSE timelines will have proof time travel works. But unless that happens I'm not getting into any so called time machine.

Linux reviewed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3298003)

Truth Media are comparing Linux to more professional operating systems over here [somethingawful.com] .

What, you want the verdict? OK, Linux loses. What else did you expect?

Laws (1)

0xB (568582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298004)

And what about the ethics of changing history?

There would be government laws to control time travel, he believes.


He has a point ... after all, the government laws we have now have cured all the ethical problems, such as murder and theft, that used to plague society. Right?

I prefer the paradox "laws" - try and change the past and you get stuck in an awful paradox. Beats a $100 fine and 20 hours community service any day.

First Post! (4, Funny)

Stealth Dave (189726) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298006)

Okay, maybe not right now, but when I get my hands on that time machine, I'll be able to make First Post on every Slashdot story ever posted! I will be l33t beyond imagination! Muwhahahaha!!!

- Stealth Dave

What does it run.. (1)

danielrose (460523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298010)

I'd be interested to know if this thing runs some type of Linux! (Perhaps it is BSD - after all if BSD is dead, he can go back to revive it!)

wierd (1)

sewagemaster (466124) | more than 12 years ago | (#3298012)

unless the amount of time to be travelled is proportinal to the energy required to 'send' anyway back time.. it would be interesting to see what it was like back in the day Christ on earth. maybe this would stop all the religious wars.

maybe this would align all the planets together.

maybe alex chiu and his eternal life magnetic rings do actually work.

still, i think the time cube would be economically cheaper than the ring of light.
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