Time Travel: Science Or Fiction?

Ritam Senguta

17th October, 2020

Abstract:

“Time travel”. This one word never ceases to give us chills every time we hear it. So when I’m saying time travel, I’m sure there are glimpses of  “Dark”(Netflix), ”Terminator” or “Back to the Future” even “Avengers endgame” in everyone’s mind. But fictions aside, today I’m going to just write something about scientific plausibility or justification about this much sought after term. We all regret something or hope that something might have occurred differently. Time is quite a mysterious physical factor that never fails to amaze me though. All of us have thought about turning back time, pausing time, seeing or going to the future, or changing the past at any point in our life. So let’s see, what do scientists understand about the vast mysteries of time and what are the odds of seeing the human civilization at the dawn of time or experiencing the end of our race. 


 

Introduction:

Albert Einstein once said time is a matter of perspective. We all are habituated to say things like ‘I have no time for this’ or ‘I have plenty of time’ but in the reality, we all are a small part of a quite massive timeline, time holds us not the other way around. So according to scientists, going to the future is just a matter of going fast. One of the great physicists of our generation, Paul Sutter said that “The faster you move through space the slower you move through time”.Now about going to the past seems to be impossible at this present time because it will produce some time paradox which will surely be contrary to the present timeline and thus making the reality unstable (theoretically). All that we have seen, mutants, time loops, wormholes, tesseract cube, time stone, or time machine, mystical relics or artifacts all signifies to the fiction or fantasy part quite strongly but I want to shed light on some of these time paradox occurrences.

Causal Loop:

Saying frankly, I just want to discuss things as simple as possible, not much gibberish about science or physics. The causal loop is a hotchpotch of space-time events both past and future. This time paradox often happens when a certain future event is a result of a past event and on the other hand, that past event is a cause for that future event. Thus both these events can occur in an indefinite loop without having a proper origin which can also include any object, person, animal, or anything. Seems similar to “Dark”, isn’t it??

Grandfather Paradox:

This is possibly the most famous paradox of all. If a time traveler travels from 2020 to the 1950s and kills his or her grandfather resulting in the time traveler’s parents not being born and thus successfully erasing his or her entire existence from the present timeline. This creates a highly unstable contradiction in the present how the time traveler could travel to the past and kill his/her grandfather when he/she doesn’t exist after all!

Fermi Paradox:

This is the most relatable paradox about time travel one can think of. This paradox says that "if time travel were possible, where are all the visitors from the future?"Possible three answers in my opinion are, firstly time travel is not possible at all, secondly, there are certain boundaries about travelers that they cannot reach a certain point of time, or thirdly we have well-disguised time-travelers among us!

Newcomb’s Paradox:

This is rather a philosophical paradox than being scientific. It states that if time travel is made possible then all-important political or global decisions will be perfectly predicted and there will be no space for public free will. Thus it explains about an economical-political-social instability if time travel becomes reality.

 

Wormholes:

Though the whole idea of the wormhole was given by Einstein and physicist Nathan Rosen in 1935, still in 2020 this idea is quite theoretical as no wormholes have been discovered till now. They used the general theory of relativity to elaborate on the idea of “bridges” which connects the two different points of space-time. These bridges are mentioned as shortcuts and mathematically it was shown that the “bridges”  can reduce the actual distance and travel time between the two different space-time points. They mentioned them as “Einstein-Rosen bridges” or later as “Wormhole”. Not only just two different points of time but wormholes are also capable of joining two different universes (which gives rise to the multiversity theory) and if one mouth of a wormhole is moved in a specific manner that could unlock the possibility of time travel.

 

“Travelling FAST”:

Many years ago when Albert Einstein came up with the idea of  “ Theory of Relativity” he properly mentioned that space and time are linked together and everything in our universe is bound by a speed limit that cannot exceed the speed of light(186000 miles/second). Though practically impossible but theoretically one has to travel at 186,282 miles per second in a vacuum to travel faster than time itself. But theoretically, an object undergoing this same criterion should have zero length and infinite mass. But scientists are hopeful about passing a particle at a speed more than light with proper technology in near future. So assume that you are 20 years old and your friend is the same age as yours. By some miracle, scientists have invented a rocket that can travel faster than light, and you are selected as the first passenger of that ship. After your 5 years (earth years) of over light-speed trip through space when you return to earth, you will find yourself about 25 years old but you’ll be certainly shocked by finding your friend in his late sixties or seventies. This may give you some  “Interstellar” chills but this is the most calculated and acceptable outcome.

Conclusion:

Movies, TV shows, comics everything has made time travel way more fiction than actual science. Indeed the term time travel has scientific justification, farther future technological implementations, etc. but indeed it is a matter of astrophysics. Time travel can mean even experiencing time more than the 1 second per second rate, so it’s not always about visiting the era of dinosaurs or going 40 years farther to know how your older self looks or what’s your final fate. So after discussing all possible paradox occurrences, all viable theories we can say that it’s impossible to implement time travel with the technology we have today. But yes, science is vast and we still know a droplet from a huge ocean. Moreover, it never hurts to research or finds new possibilities. At the end of the day, it’s all about people and science. 


 

References:

1)” A Brief History of Time” - Stephen Hawking;

2) Is Time Travel Possible? | NASA Space Place – NASA Science for Kids. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2020, from https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/time-travel/en/ 

3)What Is Wormhole Theory? | Space. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2020, from https://www.space.com/20881-wormholes.html 

4)Lamb, R. (2020, January 27). How Time Travel Works. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/time-travel6.htm

About the Author

PicsArt_08-22-10.05.00 - Ritam Sengupta.

Ritam has a thirst for knowledge and absorbs what he don't have and reflects whatever he has. Though pursuing B.Tech in CSE his interest fields has no bounds.