The real science behind time travel for Science Fiction writers

A new door has opened on my writing journey with time travel being the glorious package revealed. It’s been like Christmas for a month around our house as I have spent every waking moment (and many sleeping judging by my dreams) unraveling this package layer-by-layer. I have had the luxury of contemplating such amazing ideas as the following plausible choices (just a few of them listed here) for building a “Time Machine”, according to some noted physicists and engineers that have spent time pursuing the possibilities:

(1) The most popular choice tends to be traversable wormhole like the one featured in the novel Contact by Carl Sagan. The hardest part—getting your hands on one! It would take a very advanced civilization to pull off the feat of selecting a wormhole out of the quantum foam and enlarging it to classical size. Then, it has to be stabilized with exotic (negative) energy against collapse by “threading” it with the equivalent of converting a planet the size of Jupiter into pure energy! (E=mcˆ2 to be specific.) Then, this is the most important part, if an advanced civilization had created it that civilization would have had to live before the time it was discovered to use in my story to allow backward (to the past) time travel.

(2) An intriguing choice I am also pursuing is Cosmic Strings. Discovered in 1991 by Gott, cosmic strings are thought to have been around since the Big Bang. They stretch the length of our universe and have a diameter millions of times smaller than that of the smallest atom. They too can warp space-time to the extent that closed timelike curves can be created. Perhaps a character can be accidently swept away by a cosmic string like an avalanche sweeps away a mountain climber? But not controllable enough for my story where I need my character to travel back to an exact place and time, a world-line to be specific.

(3) Rotating Cylinders (thanks to Frank Tippler) can create a time machine if we can construct a sufficiently large one that appears infinite at the center. (piece of cake, right!) However, keep in mind that you cannot travel further back than the creation date of the cylinder and it’s travel to the past I’m most interested in. (I want to have one of my characters “fix” their past. Sounds easy, right! Well, it’s not going to be easy to pull that out of my hat.)

(4) Rotating Black Holes or Kerr Holes has a ring singularity through it which a time traveler can theoretically pass to enter other universes and/or to time travel in ours. Means there are past or future versions of our universe. Now, those portals are the doors into time machines! Okay, there are lots of objections to this idea that a writer has to speak to in their work to show they understand the implications, but then, that is true of any time machine conjecture, this essential need for technical verisimilitude.

And, if that’s not enough, here are other issues one needs to delve into and confront in writing a novel that hopefully will stand up to the scrutiny of most intellectuals: paradoxes, world-time lines, slip-time, causality, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity as well as his Special Theory, split universes, time tracks, Quantum Gravity, Quantum Mechanics and the unknown granddaddy of them all, The Theory of Everything!

This has been but a tiny snapshot of the wonders of pursing the concept of time travel.
Thanks for travelling a small part of the way with me.

Have a great day and I hope to hear from you!

Best,
January Bain
Storyteller
Forever Series
Champagne Books

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