Physicists from the University of Queensland used a mathematical model to reconcile Einstein’s theory of general relativity with classical dynamics. The clash between these two systems follows a well-known problem in time travel research known as the “grandfather paradox.”
Specifically, Einstein’s theory of general relativity allows a person to use a time loop to travel back in time, killing their own grandfather. However, classical dynamics hold that the sequence of events after his grandfather’s death culminates in the time traveler being non-existent in the first place.
“As physicists, we wanted to understand the most fundamental laws of the universe and for many years I had been puzzled over how the science of dynamics could balance Einstein’s predictions”, Said Germain Tobar, head of the study. “That is: Is time travel mathematically viable?”
For their calculations, Mr. Tobar and Dr. Fabio Costa, who supervised the study, used the coronavirus itself as a model to find out whether the two theories could coexist. They imagine a time traveler trying to go back and prevent “patient 0” from becoming infected with COVID-19.
Einstein’s theory allows time travel, but the science of dynamics means it is impossible to interfere with the underlying sequence of events. This is because if the time traveler succeeds in stopping the virus from spreading, it will remove their initial motivation to make them travel back in time.
Can people time travel soon in the future?
“In the coronavirus pandemic’s zero patient example, you could try to stop patient 0 from getting infected, but by doing so you would get the virus and become patient zero, or someone else would do like that”, said Tobar. “No matter what you’ve done, the highlight events will just adjust around you. This means – whatever your actions are – pandemic will happen, giving you the impetus to go back. Stop it and stop it. Do your best to create a paradox, the events will always correct themselves to avoid any contradiction. “
“The range of mathematical processes that we have discovered suggests that free will time travel is reasonably possible in our universe without any paradox. “, University of Queensland physicist, Dr Fabio Costa, added. “The maths checked – and the results turned out to be science fiction.”
The research has been published in the journal Classic and Quantum Gravity.