Even though we produce Time travel-themed television programs, motion pictures, and literature, most people concur that it is not conceivable on biological or philosophical grounds. The most frequent criticism is on contradictions like the “grandfather paradox.” According to this, you would not have been born if you went back in time and killed your grandfather when he was a child. You couldn’t kill your grandfather by traveling through time if you were never born. See the issue? Time travel is, therefore, impossible. There are also several other contradictions. Even simple questions like, if time travel were conceivable, why haven’t time travelers from the future ever been to visit us?
Scientists, philosophers, and even science fiction writers have struggled with these issues for many years, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking for solutions. After all, we can only hope to travel through time once we understand how time works. Is it like space? A dimension we can move freely about in — or something else entirely?
Particularly physicists have shown attention to and developed several solutions to circumvent these problems. Even Stephen Hawkings had a theory that uses many timelines known as the chronology protection conjecture. He suggested that rather than murdering your grandfather, you should just make a new chronology. Both timelines would continue endlessly, one with him dead while the first one goes on with him living. Several theories are floating around regarding how Time travel might operate, some more believable than others. However, a recent finding flips the entire discussion of time travel.
Germain Tobar was a fourth-year Bachelor of Advanced Science student at the University of Queensland when he wondered about the seeming contradiction between Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the rules of classical dynamics. If we know the trajectory and speed of an object’s movement, classical dynamics allows us to anticipate where the object might be at any moment. Consider how the moon moves across the sky or how a rocket is launched to land on a specific area of Mars. Classical mechanics are applied even while grabbing a ball in midair. Large objects bend space-time, according to Albert Einstein’s theory. The more an item warps the space around it, the more forceful the gravitational attraction that humans experience grows. It also creates the prospect of time loops and time travel, in which a single event could co-occur in the past and the future.
Because these two ideas are incompatible, Germain Tobar sought to reconcile them in a way that made sense. And mathematically speaking, that is precisely what he accomplished. Germain Tobar contends that time is self-correcting and changing. Here, I’ll let him describe how it functions (albeit I’ve trimmed and shortened his explanation for clarity) :
“Say you went back in time to prevent patient 0 of COVID-19 from contracting the virus. However, if you prevented that person from contracting the disease, you wouldn’t have any need to go back and put an end to the pandemic in the first place. This is a paradox/contradiction that frequently leads people to believe that time travel is impossible in our universe. You could attempt to prevent the infection of patient Zero. However, if you did that, you or someone else would contract the virus and become patient zero. Whatever you did, the critical events would adjust themselves to take you into account. “This would imply that the pandemic would happen regardless of your choices, providing your younger self the incentive to travel through time and stop it. The events will always modify themselves to prevent inconsistency, no matter how hard you try to make a paradox. Our discovery of various mathematical techniques demonstrates that time travel with free will is logically consistent with our reality and does not present any paradoxes/contradictions.
In other words, time automatically corrects itself, according to Germain Tobar’s estimates. The result of the evolutionary system as a whole is thought to be significantly influenced by little events, such as a minute alteration in the past because we have always imagined it to be a susceptible, complicated, and dynamic system. But according to Mr. Tobar, Time, or Nature itself, is not as delicate a system as we formerly thought. If Mr. Tobar is correct, what does that mean for one of the most basic rules we know? We teach children that their actions have consequences. But if time auto-adjusts itself, then do our actions have consequences?
A few months before Germain Tobar’s report was released in September 2020, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory published their discovery. A research team employed a quantum computer to simulate time travel. They showed no “butterfly effect” in the quantum world. The article summarizes:
“In the research, information — qubits or quantum bits — “time travel” into the simulated past. One of them is then strongly damaged, like stepping on a butterfly, metaphorically speaking. Surprisingly, when all qubits return to the “present,” they appear largely unaltered — as if reality is self-healing.”
So, on a quantum scale, the butterfly effect is null in void. But also, Germain Tobar showed that, mathematically speaking, the same is true if humans were to go back in time. In both cases, neither time nor the outcome of any change majorly altered the present or future. If time travel is possible, and if Germain Tobar and the researchers at Los Alamos are correct, then most of our stories about time travel are wrong. What does that say about our futures if we can’t change our past?
Perhaps, there’s more to the concept of fate than we realize. Is it possible that everything and everyone has a purpose? Is there a reason you and I are alive right now? That everything we do and everything happening around us is supposed to happen? That time wants it to happen? Or perhaps, time is most malleable while it’s unfolding and solidifies once events play out, which might be why we can’t alter it. Maybe that explains why on a large scale, we experience cause and effect because the future — to us — hasn’t happened yet and is still unfolding. Thus, free will does exist. I guess only time will tell.
Georgios Ardavanis – 17/06/2023