Saturday, May 07, 2005

Time Traveler Convention

The Time Traveler Convention at MIT scheduled for May 7, 2005, should be going on this evening. An interesting concept but I belong to the school that believes time travel as it is portrayed in movies and science fiction is not possible, and while anyone from the future could be aware of the convention, they may not attend in a matter that those in the current time could readily conceive.

Nothing physical can travel across time because it violates one of the most basic principles in physics: conservation of energy and mass. So no bodies traveling back in time. If anything having mass travels in time then the same atoms that make up the mass would exist in two different places at the same time. I don’t think that is possible.

There are ways around this restraint such as having a devise that could cause an effect in the past that would collect available matter into an identical copy of the source. And if consciousness is a chemical state and it is completely duplicated, a person would come to at the destination time with the last thought of the original copy. Of course, that would allow the creation of a copy of your own self in current time which has been the subject of some sci-fi stories I’m sure but can’t recall any specific ones right at this set point in time.

Another solution would be for a device to reach back in time grab an equal mass and exchange it for whatever is to be sent back in time, thus matter would be conserved. The opposite would occur when the object was to be returned to its initial time period.

Another problem in traveling in time is to think of it as another dimension just like the ones in which we can travel. If the12th inch of a ruler were to break off and travel back to see what the first inch looks like, first, it would no longer be the 12th inch, it would be just an inch, second, it would no longer be the end of the ruler, the 11th inch would be, and third, it could not blend into the ruler with out moving the other inches out of the way, which goes back to my previous restraint. So, to be the end of the ruler and the 12th inch, it must stay where it is, and to travel in time would be to change what was the time stream or to no long be a part of it.

As to the paradox of time travel of somehow going back and affecting your ancestors in such away that you could not exist, I don’t think it is a paradox but an impossibility. There are some things that just can’t be done. You cannot leave a room and come into it at the same time; you cannot sit down and stand up at the same time; two different objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time, and you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Of course, the last sentence has lots of time related constraints in it, and that’s what this post is about so that’s sort of like using a word to define itself. But there are physical constraints in the three dimensional world and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to assume that the same is true in the time dimension.

However assuming these constraints are true, anything that was not physical would not be constrained. An idea, concept or awareness could travel through time. Maybe the idea for the time traveler convention was not those that set it up; they just think it was their idea. Maybe anything that can be electronically digitized could be sent to another time, and some one from the future could attend the convention by e-mail or through a chat line.

Disclaimer (of sorts): Back in 1977, I wrote a short story involving time travel like my last suggestion. The idea of a short story was sent back through time from a time much further into the future than May 7, 2005, to be published back at that time. The name of the short story was “Futuring by Jet Age” and the only two characters were Scout29c and The Bearer. It dealt with the end of the Cold War as though it was the end of the nuclear war we all had previously feared was certain to occur. I may publish it on the internet some day.
Links to this post


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link