UBC researcher Ben Tippett demonstrates how time travel could theoretically occur
A UBC Okanagan math and physics professor has written a research paper unveiling a mathematical model for a theoretical time machine.
Ben Tippett is the lead author of the study that was published in Classical and Quantum Gravity.
The coauthor, David Tsang, has an undergraduate degree from UBC and is a professor in the department of astronomy at the University of Maryland.
“In this paper we present geometry which has been designed to fit a layperson’s description of a ‘time machine’,” Tippett and Tsang wrote in the paper’s abstract. “It is a box which allows those within it to travel backwards and forwards through time and space, as interpreted by an external observer. Timelike observers travel within the interior of a ‘bubble’ of geometry which moves along a circular, acausal trajectory through spacetime.”
That’s not all.
“If certain timelike observers inside the bubble maintain a persistent acceleration, their worldlines will close,” they added. “Our analysis includes a description of the causal structure of our spacetime, as well as a discussion of its physicality.”
In a UBC news release, Tippett said that since 1949, experts in his field have been looking at the possibility of mathematical time machines.
“People think of time travel as something as fiction,” Tippett stated. “And we tend to think it’s not possible because we don’t actually do it. But, mathematically, it is possible.”
Science Alert has reported that the key to accomplishing this “is to use the curvature of space-time in the Universe to bend time into a circle for hypothetical passengers sitting in the box, and that circle allows them to skip into the future and the past”.
Tippett and Tsang relied on Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity in devising their model, which they call “Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time”.
This time-travelling box isn’t going to built anytime soon, however.
“H.G. Wells popularized the term ‘time machine’ and he left people with the thought that an explorer would need a ‘machine or special box’ to actually accomplish time travel,” Tippett said. “While is it mathematically feasible, it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials—which we call exotic matter—to bend space-time in these impossible ways, but they have yet to be discovered.”