Excerpt from This Book Is From the Future: A Journey Through Portals, Relativity, Wormholes and Other Adventures in Time Travel by Marie D. Jones & Larry Flaxman
Time travel has enchanted and intrigued us since the earliest days of fiction, when authors such as H.G. Wells,Samuel Madden, Charles Dickens and Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau stretched and challenged our imaginations with images and tales of men and women who invented amazing machines and devices that could take them back in time, or forward into the future.
Because of the restrictions of light speed, and the paradoxes of going back to the past without damaging the future timeline, and a host of other obstacles and challenges, we, in fact, have remained stuck in the present.
Our scientific knowledge and technological achievement has yet to catch up to the limitless dreams of our imaginations. But perhaps just because we have yet to achieve time travel in our universe, in our particular point along the cosmic arrow of time, doesn’t mean it isn’t achievable… and maybe the key is the universe itself.
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Are we limiting ourselves to our understanding only of the laws and possibilities of our universe, and leaving out of the equation other realities, other universes, with other laws and forces, paradoxes and limitation, possibilities and potentialities, far beyond our own?
In 2011, quantum physicists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by Andrew Cleland and John Martinis, designed a “quantum machine,” as they call it, that might one day lead to proof of time travel and parallel universes.
Their machine, a tiny little teleporter barely visible to the naked eye, involves making a tiny metal paddle cool to its ground state, the lowest energy state permissible by the laws of quantum mechanics, and then raising its energy slowly by a single quantum to produce a purely quantum state of motion.
They even were able to put the device in both states at once, so it vibrated both slowly and quickly at the same time, in another sort of Schrodinger’s Cat state of superposition. They posited that we can only see one of these potential states at once, and upon the act of observation, the state then splits into additional universes.
Perhaps there is a plethora of multiple or parallel universes all around us, but we cannot see them.
Wormholes could also be another possibility for teleportation, as physicist Max Tegmark suggested while attending a panel in January of 2008 at MIT to discuss the science behind the movie Jumper starring Hayden Christiansen, about a man who can teleport all over the world at will.
Tegmark, asked about the science behind the science fiction, remarked that a wormhole was one possible way of getting something quickly across space-time.
However, after admitting that wormholes do appear to be theoretically possible, Tegmark commented that the actual trip would be rather grueling because of the instability of the wormhole.
“It could collapse into a black hole, which would be kind of a bummer.”
Many scientists look to the possible existence of other levels of reality, or other universes, as a way to make time travel work outside of the restrictions of light speed and paradoxes. Imagine another universe alongside our own where the laws of physics are so completely different, that what is impossible here is mundane and trivial there.
Multiple worlds, even, where each is different from the other, or perhaps an infinite number of universes where many would be exactly like our own.
Hey, you might even exist in some of them just the way you are right now. In others, you might be rich, famous, handsome or even a cockroach! In fact, perhaps you might even be invisible in one of them!