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Backwards time travel possible, say atom smasher scientists

By Dick Pelletier


    "Good morning folks, and welcome to the Time Portal. In a few moments, we will beam your minds 30,000 years into the past, where you will observe the sights and sounds of a Neanderthal family as they go about their daily activities. Your body will remain here in a sleep state, while your conscious mind travels through time on this 4-hour adventure. We hope you enjoy this unique time travel experience."

    Today, this scenario can only be considered fantasy; but recent discoveries made at the Cern Large Hadron Collider; the world's largest atom smasher, have encouraged physicists to theorize that the LHC might one day be used to send a hypothetical particle called the ‘Higgs singlet' to another time.

    Vanderbilt University researchers Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho posted their ground-breaking theory on the research website, www.arXiv.org. They added that although this method cannot transport a human through time, it could be used to send messages and other information to the past or future.

    Weiler and Ho believe this particle may have a unique ability to jump out of our three dimensions of space and one dimension of time that we inhabit, and into a hidden dimension thought to exist by some advanced physics models. By traveling through the hidden dimension, Higgs singlets could re-enter our dimension at a point forward or backward in time from when they exited.

    Future watchers predict that this discovery, combined with research efforts to demystify consciousness, expected to happen by mid-2030s; would turn the above Time Portal scene into reality by century's end.

    The concept of time travel moved from science fiction to real science with Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which describes how large objects like black holes warp space and time. Physicists estimate that some areas warp so severely that they curve back onto themselves, forming a loop in spacetime, a wormhole, that many believe offers the possibility for sending bits of matter, or information through time.

    Even though the laws of physics permit time travel, the idea for humans to travel through time is laden with problems. Say we go back in time and stop our parents from getting together. This would prevent us from being born; we could not exist, thus our journey in time could not have happened. Scientists call this a paradox. By altering events in the past, we created a present different from the one that already exists.

    Clearly, mischievous time travelers from the future cannot change today's present. People are not suddenly disappearing because a rerun of events has prevented their birth. Therefore, something else may be stopping future time travelers from disrupting our present, and physicist Michio Kaku and other future thinkers believe they know what it is – parallel universes.

    This holds that our universe, as suggested in the Gwyneth Paltro film, Sliding Doors, can split off into a myriad of alternate universes. If you traveled in time and prevented your parents from meeting, you would immediately find yourself in a parallel universe, one where you never existed before, a place where you appear as a visiting time traveler from another universe.

    In addition to traveling back in time for exciting adventures, some believe this technology, with the help of predicted advances in neuroscience, might one day be used to help deceased people regain life.

    We would send information back in time with instructions to scan the brains of lost loved ones moments before they died; then bring that scanned copy to our time and transfer it to a newly-cloned healthy body. Because we can't change the past, our loved one's original body would still die, but a copy of their mind, with all emotions and memories intact, would be given a second chance at life in our future world.

    As wild as this idea may sound, it is within range of today's understanding of the laws of physics and potentials of biology. Exponentially-advancing technologies could make it happen. Cambridge University philosopher Nick Bostrom has even suggested that one day, we may find the need to revive all humans who have ever lived and died, as we begin scattering our populations to the stars in the centuries ahead.

    Science fiction stories about space travel inspired us to land on the moon. Will time travel stories inspire us to create real time travel? This writer believes that they will. "Back to the Future," here we come.

This article appeared in various print publications and on-line blogs. Comments always welcome.

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