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Science & Technology

Physicist wants to build a time machine

By T.K. Randall
July 24, 2018 · Comment icon 31 comments

Is it really possible to build a time machine ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Ed g2s
Prof Ron Mallett has spent his life pursuing the dream of building a time machine so that he can save his father.
A respected theoretical physicist at the University of Connecticut, Mallett became obsessed with the idea of time travel after reading The Time Machine by author H.G. Wells as a young boy.

He had discovered the book one year after losing his father (a heavy smoker) to a heart attack.

"The cover caught my attention, but it was when I read the inside, and it said: 'Scientific people know very well that time is just a kind of space and that we can move forward and backwards in time, just as we can... in space'," he said.

"When I read that I said: 'This is wonderful! If I could build a time machine, then I could go back into the past and see my father again and maybe save his life and change everything.'"
Incredibly, having spent years researching the concept, Mallett has actually come up with a table-top device that he believes could lay the groundwork for the development of an actual time machine.

The device features a ring of lasers and the idea is to 'twist' the space inside the ring. According to Mallett, because time and space are intricately linked, warping one should also warp the other.

"If space is being twisted strongly enough, this linear timeline is going to be twisted into a loop. If time all of a sudden is twisted into a loop that allows us the possibility of travelling into the past," he said.

Creating the device, however, would require extremely large amounts of power and a way to miniaturize all the components - two hurdles that he has yet to overcome.

It remains to be seen whether the idea will ever actually work in practice.

Source: BBC News | Comments (31)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #22 Posted by StarMountainKid 6 years ago
This is true, all motion is relative. In this case your frame of reference is you. You know when you're standing still or moving through your environment.    Yes, but your frame of reference is your body. Since you are moving with the earth, solar system and Milky Way, your motion is measured relative to the motion of these objects.   
Comment icon #23 Posted by Golden Duck 6 years ago
I vaguely remember something similar to this.  The cylinder was made out of neutron stars. You could only travel back in time as far as the time the cylinder started rotating. 
Comment icon #24 Posted by danydandan 6 years ago
Nah the cylinder is just imaginary one with lots of mass. The millisecond pulsar is just the closest natural object that may produce the same outcome as Tiplers imaginary mathematical scenario. As of now it's the only viable solution for time travel. So it's for all intensive purposes impossible.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Golden Duck 6 years ago
Yeah...it was theoretical.  I've been looking for the book I think I read it in.  Twas before the internet. 
Comment icon #26 Posted by StarMountainKid 6 years ago
(quoteThe Novikov self-consistency principle, also known as the Novikov self-consistency conjecture and Larry Niven's law of conservation of histor(quote)The Novikov self-consistency principle, also known as the Novikov self-consistency conjecture and Larry Niven's law of conservation of history, The principle asserts that if an event exists that would cause a paradox or any "change" to the past whatsoever, then the probability of that event is zero. It would thus be impossible to create time paradoxes. (/quote) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novikov_self-consistency_principle Events in the uni... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Emma_Acid 6 years ago
Yes but how would a time machine know this?
Comment icon #28 Posted by StarMountainKid 6 years ago
Wherever the time machine is located, it is its own frame of reference to the rest of the universe. It would regard itself static to the motion of everything else. The time machine doesn't "know" this, of course, but that's what a frame of reference is, a position relative to its environment.  I'm not sure where this is going, as there is no time machine. Is there time at all? I think there is, we just can only access the present. I think the problem is we can't separate time from space.  There's a little story: I invent a time machine that can send and receive printed messages from the futu... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by danydandan 6 years ago
I never understood these stories, mostly because they are never going to happen. As for having access to the 'present' we don't really all we have is access to the past due to the restrictions of the speed of light.
Comment icon #30 Posted by moonman 6 years ago
I like the idea of a "time window" we can use to see the past. Just viewing, no interaction. It seems possible to me, and it avoids all the paradox mumbo-jumbo. If it's actually possible or not - not my department.
Comment icon #31 Posted by danydandan 6 years ago
It's not possible, but we are always seeing the past. All those stars billions of light years away we are seeing them in the past. As it takes lights a certain time to travel. Even the light from the sun takes about 8 minutes to reach us. So when your looking at the sun your seeing it's state 8 minutes ago.


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