Robert Hampton

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7th August 2007

Murdering Adolf Hitler as a baby
Posted by at 7.48pm | No responses | In the News

Time travel is a concept that has fired the imaginations of sci-fi writers for years — The Jetsons meet The Flintstones, The Girl from Tomorrow and almost every episode of Star Trek: Voyager are just a few of the best-known examples.

I think the reason for that is the wealth of possibilities that are opened up when time travel is thrown into the mix. Just think about the things you could do: you could go back to warn yourself about some calamity that befalls you, or perhaps gain insider knowledge of future sporting events for gambling purposes. How about witnessing the destruction of Pompeii first-hand, or going back to the Jurassic era to hitch a ride on a passing brachiosaurus? Bush says history will be his judge? Travel forward 50 years or so and judge for yourself!

Alternatively, you could travel back a few months and have sex with yourself. Y’know, just to see if you’re as good as you think you are — or were, 6 months ago.

Ahem. Anyway, the BBC have uncovered one Ronald “Timmy” Mallett, a boffin at the University of Connecticut (yes, they have universities there), who claims to have devised a system that makes it possible to travel back in time. Here comes the science!

Massive objects, such as stars and planets, can bend both space and time. Dr Mallett and others believe that light too, because of its inherent energy, can also bend what’s called the space/time continuum.

Build yourself an extremely powerful ring laser, and pop some material – maybe even one day a human – in the centre of this vortex of light, and you might just be able to drag what’s inside the machine back or forward through time.

“What you would see would be a cylinder in which you would have laser beams that would be intersecting in such a way that they would create this huge light tunnel. So if you imagine a tunnel, with this vortex of light circulating around in it.”

But don’t start digging out your “I Shot JR” T-shirts and brick-sized mobile phones for a trip back to the 1980s, because the wibbly-wobbly swirly thing has one important limitation: you can only go back to the point in time when the vortex was first created. A bit disappointing, but look on the bright side: this whole concept still makes more sense than the Doctor Who series finale.

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