Earl's Science Essay:

Hourglass   How to Build a Time Machine, and Stuff 

First of all, I need to give you some background information.  You know how if you take a twin and put him on a rocket ship, zoom him around the cosmos for a while, and when he gets back, he's younger than the twin that was left behind?  This is called "Relativistic Time Dilation", and it effectively moves the twin on the rocket ship into the future by slowing his clock down relative to the Earth-bound twin's clock.

And before you get started, I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Earl, that's just simple time dilation!  You promised us a recipe for a time machine, and everyone knows that time dilation takes you only into the future, never the past!  That's no time machine!"

Well, you're right.  Time dilation can't be used to take you into the past.  It can take you only progressively further into the future.  HOWEVER, I've figured out a way to use simple time dilation to BUILD a time machine that can take you into the future AND the past!  Even so, there will be some limitations, but it's still REALLY COOL!

Here's how:  First, you'll need to build a wormhole with two endpoints.  (I told you it wouldn't be easy, didn't I?)  It would be really convenient if the wormhole's two endpoints were the size of doorways you can walk through.

Now, you know how a near-light-speed rocket ship will slow time for a twin?  Well, it will also do the same thing for puppies, inflatable boats, boogers, and -- get this -- wormhole openings!

So all you have to do is put one of your wormhole doorways on your near-light-speed rocket ship (you have one sitting in your garage, right?), and fly it at near light speed for, let's say, a week.

You're done!  You've just built yourself a 1-Week-Ago Time Machine!

The way it works is like this:  In addition to being separated in space, it is generally accepted that a wormhole's endpoints can also be separated in time.  By putting one of your wormhole openings on your near-light-speed rocket ship and zipping it around for a week, you've separated your wormhole openings in time by about a week.  Once you're done, going through the wormhole in one direction will instantly take you forward in time by one week, and going through the wormhole in the other direction will instantly take you back in time by one week.

Again, I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking, "Yeah, but Earl, what if I want to travel in time more than a week?"  Well then you just take more than one trip through the wormhole!  If the doors are close together, you can make 52 trips and move a year through time in about two minutes!

Okay, actually, that's one of the limitations.  The time difference between the ends of the wormhole is fixed, and you can go forward and backward through time only in multiples of that time difference.  So you can't set the exact time and date you want to arrive, and you won't get flashy lights, like in the movies.  But if you want, you can build a 1-Day time machine, a 1-Year time machine, or even a 100-Year time machine.  Of course, you've probably figured out by now that building a 100-Year time machine will take 100 years, since that's how long you'd have to zoom one wormhole opening around in your rocket ship to achieve that magnitude of time dilation.  So good luck with that.  (Actually, there is a way you can build a 100-Year time machine in about a minute, but you probably won't like the results.  Can you figure out how, and why you probably wouldn't want to do it?)

Still, a 1-Week time machine would be a great thing to have!  You can go into the future as far as you're willing to go, as long as it's done in one-week increments.  And you can go into the past...  Well, you can go into the past only to the point at which your rocket ship is zooming around with one of the wormhole endpoints.  That's another limitation.  You can't go back to a time before the time machine existed, so you can't go dinosaur hunting, or anything like that.  Likewise, you can't go forward to a time after the time machine is destroyed, if it ever is. 

But even with these limitations, you can do a lot with your 1-Week time machine, like bet on horse races, and send yourself email from the future.  That would be a hoot!

So there you have it.  Simple time dilation, though incapable of moving anything into the past, can be used to build a structure that allows you to pass both forward and backward through time, instantly.  All you have to do is to create a wormhole, and build a near-light-speed rocket ship big enough to carry one of the wormhole endpoints.  If you can harness the power of a thousand suns, then you could be the first on your block to have a time machine!  It's very simple, but it sure ain't easy.

If you can think of a reason why this wouldn't work, please let me know.  I'm always open to new ideas.

And if you want someone clever enough to come up with a way to build a time machine working on your broken TV and appliances, just give me a call!  I can be working on your TV and appliances in no time, in just seven working days... in the PAST!

Okay, I'm just kidding about that last part.

Earl at EarlsTV period net is where to find me.
Copyright (c) by BSW, 2007.  All Rights Reserved.
Back to Science        Home