Physicist Claims Limited Time Travel May be Possible

Physicist Claims Limited Time Travel May be Possible

In a speech at the British Science Festival, physics superstar Professor Brian Cox talks about building the blue phone box.

Time travel is one of the many holy grails of physics, along with anti-gravity, harnessing fusion power and making the perfect soufflé. But the exact fundamentals of how one would easily achieve such a feat has long eluded physicists. Speculation on how to go about achieving time travel has often dipped into science-fiction for potential avenues to explore. What more iconic a place to start than the Doctor's beloved blue box?

As a fan of the TV show himself, Professor Brian Cox has tried to outline the fundamental physics behind how the Tardis ferries the Doctor around the universe, also addressing the famous party piece of it being bigger on the inside. "Can you build a time machine?" said Professor Cox. "The answer is yes." But after luring us in with such promise, the asterisk of clarification loomed as he revealed a rather problematic design flaw. You can travel into the future, but you can't come back.

Thanks to the work done by Einstein, under General Relativity, for someone to travel 'forward' in time from their perspective, they need to be put in a ship and accelerated to speeds nearing the speed of light, the faster the better. This would cause time to pass faster around the ship. Whereas inside, time would pass at the normal rate. Once the ship comes to rest, someone can emerge years into the future from the time when they left where only moments have passed on board. Professor Cox notes this has already been done at CERN where protons have been accelerated to such speeds. Now the challenge is finding the even greater amounts of energy required to do the same, but to a phone box. He also briefly touches on other methods of time travel including wormholes - short cuts through the fabric of space and time. However, those are even further out of our reach.

As for making the Tardis smaller on the outside, the Professor says: "We look for extra dimensions at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). You can imagine extra dimensions in space, and that we are living on a sheet of higher dimensional space." Whether this is the explanation for one of the Tardis' most famous features is yet to be seen. Cox is set to present a show on Dr Who airing November 23rd dealing with alien life, different dimensions and time travel. Maybe we will learn the answer then!

Although it is a very problematic method of time travel, it is none the less a step in the right direction. Combining a ship that is bigger on the inside with speeds approaching that of light could build a Tardis-like time machine. Some people might make the trip on the basis that in the future, we have figured out how to 'properly' time travel and will be able to get back home!

Finally, a note to anyone interested: The annual time travellers convention will take place last Tuesday!

Source: Yahoo News

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Haven't we known about time dilation for a long time already?

This would be less like the Tardis and more like the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z. Which is still perfectly fine by me.

Limited time travel IS possible. One-way time travel, under general relativity, is what everything does, all the time. When you look into space, you look into time.

Asclepion:
Haven't we known about time dilation for a long time already?

Exactly, I remember reading about this as a kid and I am by no means a sciencey dude. Sounds like a puff piece to please a few fans.

So in other words we can travel forward into the future, but not backwards which is essentially useless. Why'd you want to go forward, I mean assuming none of the other problems with time travel kick in... think of it. You jumped a hundred years into the future and you probably wouldn't even speak the same language as anyone else.. you'd have no clue where you were or what's going on around you.

You'd be at a miserable disadvantage to even a 8 year old living in such a world. And of course you have no way to go Backwards.

Eh, this is just Brian Cox doing what his usual thang: telling people things they already know.

BigTuk:
So in other words we can travel forward into the future, but not backwards which is essentially useless. Why'd you want to go forward, I mean assuming none of the other problems with time travel kick in... think of it. You jumped a hundred years into the future and you probably wouldn't even speak the same language as anyone else.. you'd have no clue where you were or what's going on around you.

You'd be at a miserable disadvantage to even a 8 year old living in such a world. And of course you have no way to go Backwards.

Yeah, but maybe they could cure your cancer.

Seriously, this has been known forever. Why does this article exist? The article this article is written about shouldn't exist. At the very least, headline "physicist makes outrageous claims, then clarifies with knowledge that most people learned before high school".

Well hey, guys, think about it. Maybe this professor thinks he traveled into the past, where this sort of thing is news!

RogueportJack:
This would be less like the Tardis and more like the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z. Which is still perfectly fine by me.

Rather the opposite. In DBZ you spend months or years in the realm, while outside just a few days or hours pass.
Here only moments would pass for you, while the rest of the world moves months or years in the future.

Its of course theoretically correct, but cause the energy needed to further accelerate an object grows exponentially with the speed of the object it´s not practically doable.

Also, as other said, its quite an old conecpt for a time machine.

A forward time machine you say? HIT IT!

An entire article about Doctor Who that never mentions the name of the show or what a Tardis is? This is a very odd read if you haven't watched the series...

Why was it Doctor Who that inspired this, when its method of time travel is completely separate from the form the scientists are talking about. On top of that, there are countless Sci-Fi universes out there that have these types of ships(Planet of the Apes, the Ender's Game series, even fucking Futurama) that work the exact way he's talking about. It's like saying Harry Potter inspired someone to study the form of magic that warlocks use in World of Warcraft. They have the same broad term to describe the phenomenon, but beyond that similarities end.

This is really not news. At all. Time dilation is not some new discovery, the whole news item here is just "Brian Cox said something and vaguely related it to a media franchise". Well stop the fucking presses...

Every indication is that causality (effect follows cause) is among the deepest physical principles. That whenever a naive first look at some bit of physics suggests you might be able to bend it into travel into the past, you will turn out to be wrong no matter how strange or unintuitive that makes the real physics.

Ukomba:
A forward time machine you say? HIT IT!

You are my favorite person right now.

OT- Old news, unless they've found a way to generate the energy necessary to act on this. Which, if that were the case, we wouldn't be prattling on about climate change and the fossil fuel crunch.

I'm working on a revolutionary new theory of my own: The Earth in fact travels around the Sun and not the other way around!

You read it here first!

this is only news because someone hasnt read anything about Time dilation or the Theory of relativity and some nerd said something about an overrated tv show.

yes, doctor who is overrated.

also the news contributor probably hasnt seen planet of the apes.

this isnt a double post.
i just traveled forward in time. with my space magic pencil.

you have been mind blown.
image

this is a double post, sorry

Yeah, these news were old 10 years ago. now if he had built a machine that acceleraets to the speed of light, then we can talk.

 

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