Time Travel Idea Given New Life With Data Analysis

Time TravelOnce thought a dead issue, the idea of time travel was given new life this week as scientists interpret new data.

In March of 2011, Gadling reported time travel was to be tested at Vanderbilt University. Using the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, scientists hoped to find the mysterious Higgs Boson particle, the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass.

“One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson. If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time,” reported Vanderbilt’s research news.

Professor Tom Weiler and graduate fellow Chui Man Ho thought these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past.

“One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes,” Weiler said at the time. “Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example.”This week, researchers from the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, analyzed data from the Large Hadron Collider and are “almost certain that they had proven the existence of the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in all of physics,” says a CNN report.

The new information comes after Illinois researchers said earlier in the week that scientists had come closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

No information yet on the Higgs singlet. But proving the existence of the Higgs boson would most likely give new life to the idea of time travel. Not much new life, but some. Professor Weller noted, “if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future.”

Baby steps.

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[Flickr photo by katerha]

Sorry Trekkies: Science proves time travel and warp drive not possible

Time TravelNot long ago, Vanderbilt University physicists planned to use the world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, to cause matter to travel backwards in time and things were looking up for time travel. Now, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology physicists say they have proved that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light which pretty much puts an end to the dream of time travel as well as faster-than-light warp drive.

“Einstein claimed that the speed of light was the traffic law of the universe or in simple language, nothing can travel faster than light,” the university said on its website.

The possibility of time travel was raised 10 years ago when scientists discovered superluminal – or faster-than-light – propagation of optical pulses in some specific medium reports HeraldSun.com.au. It was later found to be a visual effect, but researchers thought it might still be possible for a single photon to exceed light speed.

“The study, which showed that single photons also obey the speed limit confirms Einstein’s causality – that is, an effect cannot occur before its cause,” the university said.

The team found that, as the fastest part of a single photon, the precursor wave front always travels at the speed of light in vacuum. The main wave packet of the single photon travels no faster than the speed of light in vacuum in any dispersive medium, and can be delayed up to 500 nanoseconds in a slow light medium. Even in a superluminal medium where the group velocity (of an optical pulse peak) is faster than the speed of light in vacuum, the main part of the single photon has no possibility to travel faster than its precursor.

Warp drive, proposed a faster-than-light propulsion system where a spacecraft so-equipped might have traveled at velocities greater than that of light.

In other words, time travel and warp drive are out but Photon Torpedo’s are still possible.

Flickr photo by vladeb

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Mental Time Travel, apparently we all do it

Mental time travelAlmost everyone has experienced one memory triggering another, like coming across a photo from when we were in high school might bring back memories of where the school was located, activities we may have participated in and the like. But explanations for that phenomenon have been hard to prove until now. University of Pennsylvania researchers seem to have come up with the first scientific evidence that memories formed in the same context become linked, the foundation of the theory of episodic memory.

“When I remember my grandmother, for example, I pull back all sorts of associations of a different time and place in my life said professor Michael Kahana of the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences to esciencenews. “I’m also remembering living in Detroit and her Hungarian cooking. It’s like mental time travel. I jump back in time to the past, but I’m still grounded in the present.”

The Penn team combined an old psychological research technique, having subjects memorize and recall a list of unrelated words, with precise brain activity data that can only be acquired via neurosurgery.

“We can do direct brain recordings in monkeys or rats, but with humans one can only obtain these recordings when neurosurgical patients, who require implanted electrodes for seizure mapping, volunteer to participate in memory experiments,” Kahana said. “With these recordings, we can relate what happens in the memory experiment on a millisecond-by-millisecond basis to what’s changing in the brain.”

University of Pennsylvania researchers think the findings provide a brain-based explanation of a memory phenomenon that people experience every day. In a way, they seem to have proved that time travel, at least mental time travel, is a reality we all share.

“This is why two friends you met at different points in your life can become linked in your memory,” Kahana said. “Along your autobiographical timeline, contextual associations will exist at every time scale, from experiences that take place over the course of years to experiences that take place over the course of minutes, like studying words on a list.”

Flickr photo by bark

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China bans time travel, America still working on it

China bans time travel
In their latest effort to uphold the country’s values and not dare promote anything that would re-write history, Chinese censors told the film and television industry no more fictional time travel in the media. They should have waited a little while. Over here in America, physicists believe they have proved time travel is not even possible.

The Chinese government imposed a ban on all films centered on time travel, expressing that such films “Casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation” reports the National Post.

Meanwhile, physicists from the University of Maryland have created a specialized kind of material, called a ‘metamaterial,’ that mimics the mathematics of the Big Bang (theory, not television program) when light is beamed through it, reports wired. In a simulated Big Bang experiment they found that circular orbits of light, needed for time travel as we believed it to be, were not possible. That pretty much rendered time travel impossible too.

Actually, science fiction fans who live in China will probably be OK with all this. They can’t see time travel in films or television anymore but it really never existed before anyway and now we know it. Or so we think.

Don’t tell the physicists at Vanderbilt University time travel does not exist. Last month Gadling reported that Vanderbilt physicists set to prove time travel did exist using a different approach. Using world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, they plan to cause matter to travel backwards in time.

“One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson: the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass. If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time.” reported Vanderbilt’s research news.

Professor Tom Weiler and graduate fellow Chui Man Ho think these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past.

While they doubt a person could travel through time, they thought messages might be sent successfully.

“Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future.”

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