"The future ain't what it used to be."

some thoughts about time travel


Ok, these are things I've learned and thought about time travel, throughout my life. I'm not saying any of this is right or wrong. Its all just my opinion.

My first thought was sparked when watching Discovery channel or TLC (one or the other). They showed a documentary about time travel, and the physics behind it. They spoke to a man, who's name I can't remember, he was the leading physicist in the field of time travel however. The theory which was discussed in the most depth was, that if you accelerate past the speed of light, relative to those on the other side of the light barrier you will be going backwards through time. This physicist was saying, normally you would require the power of a black hole to accelerate you past the speed of light. Though, he seems to have come up with a concept which, according to this doccumentary, can actually do it (to particals) with a fraction of the energy. What he has done is put a bank of lasers pointing towards and accross eachother to create a swirling column of light. He is basically trying to create a light column shapped like a funnel which will accelerate particals past the speed of light. Simplistically, how this would work (as I gathered) is as follows. He would turn on the lasers, which would create the funnel shaped column of light, then he would place a partical at the wide end of the funnel. It would fall in and circle around accelerating as it fell to the bottom. Since the top of the column is spinning at c, the partical would would quickly accelerate to c, then accelerate past that into the past or the future. (travel into the future will be disccused later)

This concept was very convincing. He had a working aperatus which created swirling light. It did not however cause anything to travel through time, since it was not powerful or large enough to move enough light.

Now that we have the means, I will discuss my second thought. The physicist in the documentary made another point which I agree with. If we haven't built a time machine now, there is no way we can travel back to any time before the first machine is built. You may be wondering why that is. Let me explain. In order for a partical to travel backwards through time it must excede the speed of light (c). Since the partical is traveling faster than c, it must then appear to get to where it is going before it left. Since it is only traveling through space a short distance (the length of the machine) what you would theoretically be doing is causing the partical to appear in the machine before it left. If there is no machine to appear in, then the partical has just been phased out of existance I guess.

Now for travel forward in time. This is easier as we are already traveling forward through time. Lets say however that we want to travel 300 years into the future. We can't just wait 300 years. Unfortunately our life span is currently far too short. Plus who wants to wait right?

We all know Einstine's theory of relativity says that if we travel at the speed of light, time stays the same in the observing universe, however it comes to a stop for you. Relative to this, as you approach the spead of light time slows down for you, but stays the same for everyone in the observing univers. By this means you could travel away from the earth to the distance required, and at the velocity required, putting you 150 years in the future very far away from the earth. Then you could travel back to earth at the same rate. You would then arrive 300 years in the future. That's one way to do it. It unfortunately leaves you without any way to return to your own time. Also in order to do that we would need to navigate through space, around stars, black holes, etc. Finally we would need an infinite amount of power which we do not have. So what about that swirling light column?

Acoording to string theory there are more than just 4 dimensions, infact there could be an infinite number of them. Right now they work with 10 I believe. Now I'm a little sketchy with the details of string theory, but bare with me, I think this makes sense. The way it would work is this. If you were able to accelerate a partical past c using the forementioned machine, instead of time being a vector it now becomes a loop. So if the partical continues to travel backwards through time, you will eventually begin to travel forwards again. Since it is traveling faster than the speed of light, it will suddenly appear in the machine in the future, just as it would if it passed backwards thorugh time.

Now if we are able to do it with particals, then why not with us? Who knows maybe we can. Though something tells me we wont know for a very long time.


here's a link I found with a good take on the faster than light theory