In March 2003, the FBI arrested 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin. The newspapers reported that this man was exceptionally lucky. In the history of the stock market, he had earned as much as no one else. He invested $800 and within 2 weeks, it turned into $350 million.
The FBI suspected that he was running a scam. that he was an insider trader. When Andrew was questioned, he replied that he was a time traveler. He claimed that he was a time traveler 250 years into the future. And they knew how the stocks would perform so they invested in them. And got extraordinary results. The FBI was shocked at this.
The FBI was convinced that he was lying. And they tried to prove that he was lying. When they did some more investigation, they found that there was no record of Karlsin before December 2002. Even more surprising was the fact that on April 3, Karlsin was supposed to appear in court for his bail hearing, but he had disappeared, never to be found. re.
Was he really a time traveler? Is time travel really possible? Or is it just fiction for novels and movies?
The Concept of Time Travel
Let us understand the concept of time travel scientifically today. Great, are you talking about Time Machine? You know the rules of time jump, don’t you? Time travel: A concept that has been explored since the early 1900s. I don’t know, but when we’re talking about time travel here. It’s either all a joke or none of it.
In 1895, author HG Wells wrote his revolutionary novel The Time Machine. Only after this did the phrase ‘time machine’ became popular. A machine that can take you to the future as well as the past. With its help, you can travel in time.
Although the novel was fictional, a science fiction novel, many philosophers and physicists were inspired by it. Not only serious research papers were written on time travel, but many films were also made. If we think about it, the exact way time travel occurs can be used to classify it into different types.
Different Ways for Time Traveling
1. Time Travel to the Future
First, let’s use sci-fi movies to better understand this concept. Time travel can be of many types. The first is a one-way trip to the future. You travel to the future and you can’t come back. This is one-way time travel. Interstellar is an example of this. In it, a time traveler travels to the future, but his family members and others keep aging when he visits them again. Some had even died.
2. Instantaneous Time Jump
Another way is instant time jumping. With the help of a time machine, a person can travel from one point in time to another instantly. It was featured in the movie Back to the Future. and in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
3. The Time Traveler Stands Still
There can be a third way when the time traveler remains stationary, and it is time that is rotating around the time traveler. It was featured in the film Harry Potter: Prisoners of Azkaban. When Hermione uses the Time Turner.
4. Slow Time Travel
The fourth is slow time travel. As featured in the 2004 film Primer. The time traveler is inside the box, and for every minute he spends in the box, he goes back one minute in time. So if he had to go back one day, he would have to stay in the compartment for one day.
5. Traveling at the Speed of Light
The fifth is traveling at the speed of light to travel through time. It was featured in Superman (1979). In it, Superman flies faster than the speed of light and travels back in time.
The question is, which of these time travel concepts is actually possible today? in real life. Which method might be possible in the future? And which method is completely unscientific and will never be possible. Don’t be surprised, you may think that this is all nonsense, science fiction and it is not possible. it is not true.
Some of these are actually still possible to do today. Broadly speaking, time travel can be of two types. One is to travel into the future, and the other is to travel back into the past.
Let’s talk about traveling to the future first. The scientific explanation and theory of time travel for the future derive from Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity. The concept of time dilation was introduced by Einstein. Before Einstein, it was believed that time is constant. Whether you are on Earth, Mars, or near a black hole.
Time was considered to be something constant. Isaac Newton, one of the world’s most famous mathematicians and physicists, was the first to say so. In his opinion, the flow of time would be constant regardless of the speed at which you are traveling through space.
Albert Einstein was the first person to refute it. He said Newton was wrong. Time is not static. He claimed that time was like a river. Just like the flow of water in a river sometimes slows down, sometimes it gets faster, similarly, the flow of time sometimes slows down and sometimes it picks up speed. depends on speed and gravity.
Einstein said that if the speed and force of gravity could be changed then time could actually speed up and slow down. This is known as time dilation.
Just as your pupils dilate, time dilates when the speed of an object increases or when the force of gravity on the object increases.
Basically, time dilation can be done in two ways.
The first is speed. If you are sitting in something that is moving very fast. Like an airplane or a spaceship. The faster something moves, the more time slows down for it. Relatives of a person who is not going as fast.
If I want to explain it with a practical example, suppose you have two watches, I keep one watch with me and put it on the ground. And I’ll send another watch with you by plane. The airplane circles the earth once and lands back. If we then compare the two clocks, although initially, the clocks showed the same time, now the clock you took with you on the plane will show the time a few nanoseconds behind the other.
Two clocks will not appear at the same time. Because a clock was traveling at a higher speed. It is subject to kinematic time dilation.
There was an experiment in 1971. An atomic clock was used. Because time had to be measured accurately. And saw that the clock which was showing the time in the airplane, was lagging behind the other clock. This was known as the Hafele Keating experiment.
This proved Einstein’s theory of time dilation. This does not mean that time is actually slowing down for the clock that is on the airplane. Rather it means that time is relative. If we look at the clock on the plane from the ground, time slows down in our relationship. Because we’re watching it, time is slowing down. For a person on an airplane, and the clock on the airplane, for him, time will go on as it did.
Theoretically speaking, if we can build a rocket that travels at the speed of light, and you get into that rocket. You stay in that rocket traveling at that speed for 10 years. And then you return to Earth, the time you see on Earth will be 9,000 years later.
Simply put, if you want to travel into the future, you can already do it, it is scientifically possible to do so today. The only problem is that there are no aircraft traveling at this speed. You can reach the speed of light. But with improvements in technology, we can make more aircraft and spacecraft that can fly faster. This will be possible gradually.
For now, Gennady Padalka, a Russian cosmonaut, is credited with having traveled the most time into the future. This is because he stayed in space for the longest time. 879 days. And he was traveling in space at a speed of 28,000 km/h.
Accordingly, he has traveled 0.02 seconds in the future. That’s 0.02 seconds shorter than people on Earth. Whereby we can travel so fast that we can travel through time far into the future, don’t worry. Because there is another way of time dilation as determined by Einstein. By using the force of gravity.
2. Gravitational Force
Similar to time dilation with motion, the force of gravity also leads to time dilation. The greater the gravity, the greater the time dilation. To visualize the time dilation caused by gravity, Einstein asked us to imagine a fabric of space-time. Imagine a grid, as shown in this photo, and put balls on it.
You can think of these balls as planetary objects. The heavier the ball, the more this net will be wrapped. The greater the mass of the ball in a planetary object, the greater its gravitational force. Earth’s gravitational force is less than Jupiter’s. The gravitational force of the Sun is greater than that of Jupiter.
Similarly, in the fabric of space-time, you find a curve in which the gravitational force of an object is. The closer you are to an object with a higher gravitational force, the slower time will feel to you. Time will be slow for you. In this mess, you can see that the faster the drop, the slower time goes for you. You can make a rough estimate with this visualization.
This basically means that if you want to travel through time into the future, spend some time near Jupiter, around the Sun, or any object that has an even greater gravitational force. like a black hole. If you spend some time near a black hole, time will slowly slip away from you.
If you remember, the same concept was shown in the movie Interstellar. In it, the main character lands on a planet near a black hole, and for every hour he spends there, it is 7 years for people who are not on the planet. There was an amount of time dilation in that movie because of the black hole. This is a scientifically accurate illustration. This is exactly what will happen. But whether one can survive being so close to a black hole is unknown.
It is said that black holes are the most massive objects in the universe. It is also said that light starts bending around the black hole. It was considered to be purely theoretical, but 3 years ago a telescope clicked the first picture of a black hole and proved it. This picture was clicked by the Event Horizon Telescope on 10 April 2019.
This photo went viral on the internet. Because this is the first rendered visual image of a black hole. Anyway, if we go back to time travel, I told you two ways to travel into the future. The first is to travel at high speed, and the second is to get very close to a gravitationally bound object with high gravity and high mass.
Practically, I would like to give you another example of this, the GPS satellites, which go around the earth, at high speed, they are much more distant from the earth’s gravity than we are. So we see time dilation in both the sense in GPS satellites. And scientists need to keep correcting the time calculations on those satellites because of this time dilation. If they don’t fix the satellites’ clocks, the time between those clocks and the Earth’s clocks will be different. There will be problems with GPS communication.
Interestingly, friends, there is also a third way to time travel in the future. Cryosleep.
Time Travel Cryosleep
It has also been shown in many films. Recently a film Passenger came, you will remember. People were traveling on a spaceship, they were frozen. They were in cryosleep, in which humans are put into a state for months and years in which they do not age. They keep sleeping.
This is science fiction. But in reality, NASA is trying to develop a stasis chamber. In this, astronauts will be kept in a state of mild hypothermia, and astronauts will be able to sleep continuously for 2 weeks in a cold environment. A kind of hibernation.
The concept behind this is that when the body is kept cool, the chemical reactions in the body slow down to a great extent. This will conserve energy in the body and slow down the aging process. There was a case reported in Japan in which an injured person survived 24 hours without food or water after his body went into a sort of hibernation. The body temperature of that man was only 22°C.
Usually, if the human body remains so cold for a long time, it can lead to death. But coincidentally, I don’t know by what miracle, this man not only survived but also completely recovered from that modus operandi. His body was later discovered by someone else. The medical report claimed that there was no permanent damage to his body. The movement of his organs had slowed down and his mind was also not right.
Cryosleep is something that could be developed in the future. by NASA or any other space agency. We’ll have to wait and see. But you must have noticed one thing. All the methods I talked about so far were about time travel in the future. what about the past? Can we really travel in the past?
As of now, we cannot travel into the past, but we can catch a glimpse of the past. Since light takes a significant amount of time to travel from one place to another, regardless of how fast light travels, if we talk of distances in light-years, light takes years to reach some places.
So if we can get somewhere before the light reaches there, and then look back and see the light coming, that light will be from the past. In the same way, we can see the past.
Can We Travel Through Time into the Past?
On 28 June 2009, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking hosted a party at the University of Cambridge. There were balloons and champagne at the party, but the highlight was that everyone was invited, but no one attended.
Stephen Hawking hosted this party for time travelers. If a time traveler was coming to our timeline from the future, he was welcome at the party. This humorous experiment was done to prove that traveling in the past is not possible. If it were possible, we would see travelers from the future all around us.
Where are the Time Travelers? Why don’t we meet them?
Theoretically, Einstein’s theory of relativity does not rule out time travel into the past. Einstein postulated that if a gravitational force were applied to the net of space-time that was heavy enough to cause an object to fall through the net, it would create a wormhole. We can use that wormhole to travel in the past.
It is said that to do this we would need an extremely powerful gravitational field. similar to a black hole. Perhaps a rotating black hole can generate such a gravitational field that it bends the curvature of space-time back on itself. This will create a close time-like curve known as CTC. You can try to understand it through this diagram. You can try to imagine it.
Kip Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, believes that tiny wormholes form and then disappear in space all the time. But they are really small. Smaller than atoms. And if we want to travel through them, we have to open them somehow. It would take a lot of energy to expand them. Not only normal power but will also need negative energy.
Negative energy is a type of anti-gravitational energy that would repel the fabric of space-time. Like the poles of a magnet repel each other. Negative energy will work to repel him in the same way. This would make it possible to hold the wormhole for a long time and travel through it.
How will this negative energy be stored? How would it have been made?
This is something to think about. This is purely theoretical for now. But it’s a theory from a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, so it carries a lot of weight. This might lead you to think that traveling to the past could theoretically be possible. But when we talk about traveling in the past, there are many obstacles. There are big hurdles for us.
I’m talking about a contradiction. Like Grandfather Paradox. The contradiction is as follows. Suppose I travel in time and go to the past. And I kill my great-grandfather. If he dies, how will I be born? If my great-grandfather dies, I should not be alive. And if I had never been born, I had never existed, how could I go back to the past and kill him?
How do you explain this? This is a contradiction. Either I’m alive or I’m not. This is against logic. There are a few theories to explain this. Such as the theory of the multiverse.
The theory claims that what once happened was in one universe. But when you travel back in time and change something, it creates a new universe, a multiverse. So there are multiple universes with different things happening. Related to this is another paradox, the predestination paradox.
It claims that when I go into the past, and everything I do, everything I do shapes my current timeline. This paradox claims that things are destined to change in a certain way. Things will go as written in Destiny. No matter how much you try to change the past, whatever you try to change, the result of that change will be your present.
If you are confused, let me give an example. Suppose your friend meets with an accident and dies. I hope it doesn’t but imagine it does, and you have a time machine. You go back in time and try to prevent that accident from happening. But what happens?
You have done something in the past that caused the accident. And then you find out that it was because you went into the past, and you tried to prevent that accident, that it was the cause of the accident. This was the concept in many films. 12 Monkeys, Timecrimes (2007), The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009), Predestination (2014).
Overall, there would be several logistical problems when traveling to the past. There will be contradictions, due to which this will never be possible. But travel to the future is still possible today. And it will likely become more so in the future. And getting a glimpse of the past is possible even in the present.
So in a sense, time travel already exists. And as shown in movies like Interstellar, it was also scientifically true to a degree. But what about the story of Andrew Karlsin? I didn’t say much about it.
Friends, the story I told you at the beginning of the blog was a story published in a satirical newspaper named The Weekly World News. It was later reprinted by Yahoo News, and several other media organizations reported the story as if it were fact. But the truth is that the story was a satire.
It was fake news that was circulated in the newspapers and people believed it to be true. It was a fabricated story.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is time travel possible?
- Time travel is a fascinating concept explored in science fiction, but in reality, current scientific theories suggest that traveling to the future is theoretically possible, thanks to time dilation based on Einstein’s theory of relativity.
- How does time dilation work?
- Time dilation occurs when an object is in motion at high speeds or experiences stronger gravitational forces. According to Einstein’s theory, time slows down for the moving or gravitationally influenced object relative to a stationary observer.
- Can we travel to the past?
- The concept of traveling to the past is more complex and involves theoretical ideas such as wormholes and multiverses. While these ideas are intriguing, practical challenges and paradoxes, like the Grandfather Paradox, make backward time travel seem unlikely.
- What is the Grandfather Paradox?
- The Grandfather Paradox is a theoretical contradiction that arises when a person travels to the past and performs actions that could prevent their own existence. This paradox questions the logical consistency of time travel to the past.
- Was Andrew Carlssin a real-time traveler?
- The story of Andrew Carlssin, an alleged time traveler who made a fortune in the stock market, is a fictional tale published in a satirical newspaper. It is not based on real events, and the narrative was intended as a piece of humorous fiction.
He is the Founder and CEO of the Training and Counselling Company ‘Brain Soul & You’. He is an NLP Wellness Coach, Life Coach, Brain analyst, and Trainer for Education, Corporate, and Entrepreneurship. For more than 7 years, he delivered presentations on entrepreneurship, mind programming, and motivation. He did his B.tech in IT and later choose to be a successful psychologist. He is helping people in various ways through his counseling and training sessions.