Physics

Is Time Travel possible



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Science fiction has at times translated into science fact. Could this still be the case in our modern age? Could the vivid imaginations of sci-fi writers be somehow made into fact by our kind's most brilliant minds? One such piece of science fiction that attracts attention of amateurs and scientists alike is time travel. Could we go back in time to change the past for instance kill Hitler or warn the citizens of Chicago of Mrs. O'Leary's cow?
The scientific answer to that is drawn from the theoretical physics division of science where brilliant minds work on figuring out what we cannot see with math and creativity. Leading physicists on the subject are Stephen Hawking, Kip Thorne and Roger Penrose. These men are easily considered the best physicists of our time and they have devoted time to and even bet on the possibility of time travel.
Most time machines in movies are depicted to be almost alien-looking craft that speed off with incredible speed into toward the past. This approach is out because traveling faster than the speed of light is prohibited by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Anything accelerating to the speed of light would have to be able to increase its mass infinitely since energy equals mass (E=mC2). The one possibility considered by physics experts to be possible, be it slim, is the theoretical Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
An Einstein-Rosen Bridge is better known as a wormhole. A wormhole is caused by black hole having so much gravity that it actually bends the fabric of space-time so much that it creates a passage between two points that is shorter than a straight line. Think of space-time as a piece of paper with the black hole being a black dot at one end of the page. The gravity of the dot black hole would be so great that it would bend the paper around until the opposite end of the page was directly below the end bearing the dot. Then stick a pen into the paper, through the dot and in turn through the other side of the paper now under the dot. What you will have created is a wormhole. Imagine the dot as the entrance to the tunnel. The pen would be the tunnel itself and where the pen broke through would be a point in space that would take millions of light-years to reach using any conventional space craft. Now instead the trip could take only minutes or hours. No one knows for sure obviously since the existence of wormholes and black holes is purely in theory. Even if they do exist, humans would have to fly into one to prove what is indeed on the other side of the black hole if anything. This would prove a daunting task since the gravity of a black hole is so great it sucks everything in including light, time and the necessary radio signals to prove whatever was found in the black hole. A trip through a wormhole in theory could prove to be time travel in a sense. It is not the same as the H.G. Wells version where one is able to travel forward or backward in time to events on Earth. This is time travel in the sense of covering great distances in tiny fractions of the time.
There is also a thought that a shallow wormhole could allow an observer to walk through it at a specific time from a specific place. The observer would then emerge from the wormhole at the same moment but in a different place in space-time. But we again run into the same problem of these being only in theory.
The current accepted theories of physics do permit and in a sense infer the existence of these wormholes and black holes. For as much press as black holes get, they are only theory themselves. Scientists are able to infer their existence by observing their effects on surrounding bodies and light. However, if the slim chance turns out to be the ultimate long shot winner then time travel is possible.
These are the theories that are accepted as of today.
The field of physics is growing at an amazing rate as physicists press forward into the weird quantum realm by building superconductors and particle accelerators. Scientists of today are building on the foundations set by the great minds of Newton, Einstein, Plank, and Schroedinger. More must be learned about our own planet and our universe before we can press into such advanced ideas as time travel. Saying that right now, 2007, that the only possible way to travel through time lies in a theoretical tunnel through the fabric of space seems like a far-fetched and unlikely possibility. However, if science continues to move forward and humans continue to explore their solar system then soon humans will be looking back and wondering how our generations ever got along without time travel the same way some look back now and wonder how life was without a car or computer. Science and technology must continue forward to discover all the secrets of nature. There is no way to know what we may come across within the next thousand years or beyond. We only have another 5-6 billion years before the sun becomes a red giant and expands outward, vaporizing all life on Earth. In that time we could have moved into another solar system and gotten there in a fraction of the time, through a wormhole. Or maybe through something we haven't discovered yet and cannot even imagine yet.

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