Ready to be a little bit confused by complex science? Ok, here we go…
Until now, time travel has only been possible in fiction (and on TikTok, according to some), but it might not be as far away as previously thought.
Scientists delving into subatomic structures and quantum physics have claimed that the concept of time travel might actually be possible.
The concept of humans hopping back and forth through time is still exactly that – a concept.
However, scientists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and University of Vienna believe they’ve proven it’s achievable in the world of quantum physics.
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In fact, in a series of papers over recent years, Miguel Navascués of ÖAW and Philip Walther of University of Vienna have been entertaining the idea of speeding up and reversing the flow of time at a subatomic level.
Speaking to the Spanish-language publication El País, Navascués attempted to explain the phenomenon by comparing it to watching a film.
“In a theater [classical physics], a movie is projected from beginning to end, regardless of what the audience wants,” he said. “But at home [the quantum world], we have a remote control to manipulate the movie. We can rewind to a previous scene or skip several scenes ahead.”
Time travel has been the stuff of science fiction until nowUniversal Pictures
How do they do it? With a device called a “quantum switch”, which sounds more like something out of a Marvel movie than something in real life.
They use the device to ‘evolve’ a photon as it passes through a crystal. That way, the photon returns to its previous state before it completes the journey. The idea is to alter the states of quantum particles, which the scientists call “time translation”.
Humans going back and forth in time for now remains impossible, though, namely because human bodies contain so much information that it would take millions of years to process it all and make it work.
As you’d expect, the whole thing is incredibly complicated to track and observe even at a subatomic level. Just watching a system causes it to change. Once it changes, its progress through time can’t be recorded.
Explaining their method for going forward in evolutionary time, Navascués explained: “To make a system age 10 years in one year, you must get the other nine years from somewhere. In a year-long experiment with 10 systems, you can steal one year from each of the first nine systems and give them all to the tenth. At the end of the year, the tenth system will have aged 10 years; the other nine will remain the same as when the experiment began.”
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