The Paradoxes of Time Travel

September 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Time travel is a prominent theme of many science fiction stories and movies. However, is it actually feasible? Most authors will present a short description of how the time machine was created, but there are always numerous feasibility issues if one tries to fully analyze how the time machine is functioning. After reading about the science of time travel, although a time machine is theoretically feasible, I don’t believe that the creation of a time machine is actually possible.

Although some science fiction stories use black holes as a means to travel through time, scientifically it is impossible to travel through a black hole to another part of the world. In Kip Thorne’s book, Black Holes and Time Warps, he discusses the possibility of creating a time machine through wormholes instead of blackholes. There aren’t any reasons why our Universe would give rise to a wormhole, but instead an extremely advanced civilization could capitalize on wormholes as a means to travel through time and space. However, because it is all theoretical, we are unable to know for sure if wormholes can truly be converted into time machines.

The science of time machines can definitely be confusing, and even more confusing when quantum mechanics is thrown in the mix to someone like me, who is a non-science major. However, another interesting topic that Kip Thorne brought up was the matricide paradox. For example, if someone uses a time machine and goes back in time to kill his mother, he prevents himself from being born and from going back in time to kill his mother. This paradox highlights the issue of free will and time travelling – would you be stopped from killing your mother to ensure that you are born? In my opinion, it seems like if an extremely advanced civilization was able to manipulate wormholes to create a time machine, the concept of free will would no longer exist. Luckily, because there is no natural way for a wormhole to be created in our Universe, our concept of free will can remain in tact and the time travelling paradoxes can remain theoretical, for now.

-Lexi Zarecky, Blog 3


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§ One Response to The Paradoxes of Time Travel

  • Sean Lee says:

    Are facts about time travel considered a priori knowledge, or a posteriori knowledge? ‘A priori’ knowledge remains independent of experience, whereas ‘a posteriori’ knowledge stems from empirical observation.

    That is…consider the statement ‘time travel is impossible.’ Is it possible to come up with such a conjecture if one were not physically observing the universe?

    Another issue raised is the possibility of multiverses, each with its own restrictions regarding time travel. Do the physical constants and laws in our known universe preclude or include time travel as a possibility?


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