Time Travel... Jun 19, 2005 1:04:48 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 19, 2005 1:04:48 GMT -6
New model 'permits time travel'
Researchers speculate that time travel can occur within a kind of feedback loop where backwards movement is possible, but only in a way that is "complementary" to the present.
In other words, you can pop back in time and have a look around, but you cannot do anything that will alter the present you left behind.
The new model, which uses the laws of quantum mechanics, gets rid of the famous paradox surrounding time travel.
Quantum behaviour is governed by probabilities. Before something has actually been observed, there are a number of possibilities regarding its state. But once its state has been measured those possibilities shrink to one - uncertainty is eliminated.
So, if you know the present, you cannot change it. If, for example, you know your father is alive today, the laws of the quantum universe state that there is no possibility of him being killed in the past.
It is as if, in some strange way, the present takes account of all the possible routes back into the past and, because your father is certainly alive, none of the routes back can possibly lead to his death.
"Quantum mechanics distinguishes between something that might happen and something that did happen," Professor Dan Greenberger, of the City University of New York, US, told the BBC News website.
"If we don't know your father is alive right now - if there is only a 90% chance that he is alive right now, then there is a chance that you can go back and kill him.
"But if you know he is alive, there is no chance you can kill him."
More here from the BBC: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4097258.stm
Everytime I attempt to contemplate the time travel paradox...my brain hurts...
Dr. McCoy, give me that Hypospray!