Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time Travel

The newspaper The USA Today carried the technical news about the time traveler convention to be held in the afternoon of a Saturday in May 2005 [1]. The convention was organized by Amal Dorai, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in USA. Dorai said, "The chance that anybody [from the future] shows up is small, but if it happens it will be one of the biggest events in human history."

MIT physics professor Alan Guth weighed an invitation to speak at the convention. Guth's work involves applying theoretical particle physics to the early universe, but he has dabbled in writing about time travel theories. He is reported to have said, "Most of us would bet it's impossible, but none of us can prove it's impossible either."

Recently an article as long as 3060 words to summarize physicists' views on time travel appeared in The New York Times [2]. The author of this article, Dennis Overbye, is the recipient of the 1980 American Institute of Physics writing award. He begins the article by writing, "I'm still hoping to attend [the convention], and although the odds are slim, they are apparently not zero despite the efforts and hopes of deterministically minded physicists..."

Overbye's review starts from the words of Dr. J. Richard Gott, a Princeton astrophysicist and author of the 2001 book Time Travel in Einstein's Universe: "No law of physics that we know of prohibits time travel."

Then Overbye explains the situation about time travel as follows: "It's not that physicists expect to be able to go back and ... drop by the Bern patent office to take Einstein to lunch ... In fact, they're pretty sure those are absurd dreams ... They hope such extreme theorizing could reveal new features, gaps or perhaps paradoxes or contradictions in the foundations of Physics As We Know It and point the way to new ideas."

  1. "Student organizes time traveler conference," USA Today (May 7, 2005).
  2. Dennis Overbye, "Remembrance of Things Future: The Mystery of Time," New York Times (June 28, 2005).

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