...Time: Past, Present, Future? ...
"The distinction between past, present and future
is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one."
- Albert Einstein
"Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth."
- Karl Ludwig Borne
"There was a young lady named Bright,
who traveled much faster than light.
She started one day, in a relative way,
and returned on the previous night."
- A.H. Reginald Buller
"Causes and effects are a result of thought.
Time is a result of thought."
- Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
"Does anybody really know what time it is?"
- Chicago, circa 1970's rock band
"We still cannot say what time is;
we cannot agree whether there is one time or many times,
cannot even agree whether time is an essential ingredient of the universe
or whether it is a grand illusion of the human intellect."
- Davis and Hersh, Descartes' Dream.
"A star, a mirage, the flame of a lamp,
an illusion, a drop of dew or a bubble,
a dream, a flash of lightning, a cloud
- see conditioned things as such."
- The Universal Law of Cause and Effect
(Impermanence in the Three Times)
Click here: NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos - The Illusion of Time
Perhaps the most famous of all the time paradoxes (logical contradictions) is
the one in which the time traveler goes back in time
and murders one of his ancestors, for example, his grandfather.
The problem is then obvious.
If his grandfather dies before having children, then the time traveler would never have existed.
But, in that case he would not be able to carry out the murder.
Either way, contradictory nonsense results.
Many time travel stories have come up against this obvious and thorny problem.
In the movie, Back to the Future, the time traveler, Marty McFly,
does not attempt to kill his grandfather,
but rather prevent his mother from marrying his father,
which would then prevent him from being born.
He becomes embroiled in her romance and risks interfering with her marriage plans,
as a result of which he teeters on the edge of obliteration.
Of course, his disappearance would not resolve the paradox either,
because he would then not have been able to visit the past to interfere in history.
( Film: Back to the Future )
Paradoxes like this arise because the past is causally linked to the present.
You cannot change the past without also changing the present; this creates a causal loop.
Because the behavior of many physical systems is very sensitive to small changes,
even modest tinkering with the past could lead to significant changes in the present.
This leads us to another paradox...the Butterfly Effect.
Click here: The Butterfly Effect
How would history be different if...
a butterfly flapped its wings, creating a slight wind, which caused...?
The Twins Paradox
Click here: The Twins Paradox
(Simulation with Captain Ein and Major Stein)
Time Machine: Dr. Who Style
For I dipped into the Future,
far as human eye could see;
saw the vision of the world,
and all the wonder that would be.
-Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1842
"I cannot change the laws of physics, Captain."
- Scotty, Star Trek
What is a Black Hole?
* It is a region where matter collapses to infinite density and where the resulting curvature of space-time is extreme. It is a region in space from which nothing can escape, except for the radiation that leaks out.
* There are two basic kinds of black holes: Stellar and Supermassive
Click here: Black Holes
What is a White Hole?
*A white hole is the reverse version of a black hole. In fact, if a black hole can only suck things in, a white hole can only spit things out.
* Einstein's equations for black holes still function in reverse. But, white holes likely do not exist, because producing a white hole is just as difficult as destroying a black hole.
What is a Wormhole?
Click here: Wormhole Scene from Contact
* Wormholes have not been proven to exist. But, the possible combination of a black hole linked to a white hole is called a wormhole.
* In effect, if the interior of an electrically charged or rotating black hole could join up with a white hole, then you would fall into the black hole and pop out of the white hole.
* The white hole may be very far from the black hole; it may even be in another universe!
* They sound pretty cool, but even if a wormhole formed, it would not be stable. Even the slightest disturbance would cause it to collapse.
* If wormholes exist and are stable, they would be quite unpleasant to travel through. The X-ray and gamma radiation that pours into the wormhole would cause you to get fried. Toast. Crispy. Ouch!
What is a Tachyon?
* The Latin word "tachys" means fast. A tachyon is a particle that travels faster than the speed of light. Tachyons have never been found to exist, although scientists are searching for them.
* Albert Einstein's theory of relativity says that nothing traveling slower than the speed of light can ever travel faster than 186,000 miles per second (the speed of light). But FTL's (faster than light) could potentially exist IF they never traveled slower than the speed of light.
* Luxons travel at the speed of light. The name given for the massless particle that travels at the speed of light is the "photon." Gravitons and possible neutrinos are other kinds of luxons.
* The Latin word "tardys" means slow. Tardyons are things that travel slower than the speed of light. They include things like protons, electrons, neutrons and other subatomic particles of matter.
* If an alien, made entirely of tachyons, came toward you from his spaceship, you would see him arrive before you saw him leave his ship. The image of him leaving his ship would take longer to reach you than his actual FTL body. The creature would also visually appear to be traveling away from you. This means you would see a tachyonic alien as receding backward in time!
...Time Travel Image Gallery...
a look back in time...
Above and Below: The Art of Optical Illusion by M.C. Escher
Below: The Simpsons in Escherland