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Racing The Clock

Science Believes Time Travel Is Possible

By James Donahue

When Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity, he opened the door to a future world that even he probably could not have perceived in 1916. This theory, which has yet to be fully accepted as a law of physics, led to such concepts as quantum physics, the development of atomic energy, and a belief that the universe can be folded like a sheet of paper, with vortexes or black holes linking the folds making it possible for space travel at incredible speeds to the stars.

Einstein’s theory also declares that the flow of time is not constant. According to the theory everything in the universe, including the passage of time, is relative and depends upon the speed in which we can travel. If we can approach the speed of light, time slows. Thus space travelers in a ship that can move at extremely high speed can make it appear to the travelers to take only days, when to the people left behind on Earth, it has taken years if not decades.

Laboratory experiments have proven that beams of neutrinos, projected through a vacuum, can actually arrive at their destination in a fraction of a moment before they were sent. This experiment was accomplished at Gran Sasso, Italy. The particles were beamed 730 kilometers away to detectors at CERN, in Geneva, and they reportedly arrived 60 billionths of a second earlier than they should have.

Admittedly, that margin of a time difference was so small it took really sensitive instruments to record the event. But it proved that Einstein was wrong when he predicted that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. It also suggests that the human struggle against the clock may someday be won.

Remember how the space craft Enterprise used something called warp drive to zip around in space in the popular Star Trek television and film series? That kind of technology may also be possible soon. John Cipolla, chief aerodynamicist for a Florida company called AeroRocket and WarpMetrics, is actually working on the development of gravitational warp drive technology and gravity control for faster than light star travel.

Cipolla’s website describes a spacecraft being accelerated while enclosed in an artificially generated "warp bubble." He maintains that the work is based on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and that the warp principle utilizes "a method for warping spacetime to generate warp bubble disturbances without the need for exotic matter or negative energy."

Science is moving closer to finding a way to propel objects and perhaps humans through time. Some are expressing optimism about the probability of achieving this. Edward Farhi, director of the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT said: "It’s actually consistent with the laws of physics to change the rate at which clocks run. There’s no question that you can skip into the future."

Farhi said, however, that most physicists see a problem with traveling back into the past, however. This is because high speed travel affects the rate at which time moves forward. But using this as a basis for time travel technology, the travel is always toward the future. No one has yet considered a way for moving the clock in reverse.

If such technology ever is achieved, we should be seeing evidence of time travelers from the future having some kind of effect on our current environment.

Has it happened? There are a few very strange stories out there that suggest odd encounters with time travel where people were propelled into the past and then back again, and vice-versa.

In 1969 two men were driving north on Highway 167 from Abbeville, Louisiana toward Lafayette. They overtook what looked like an antique car traveling very slowly. As the examined this old "mint condition" antique they noticed the license plate was dated 1940. The driver of the vehicle was a young woman dressed in vintage clothing of that period. She had a young child with her. As they were examining what they thought was a vehicle from a nearby old-car show, they noticed the woman seemed confused and in a state of panic. They rolled down a window and asked if she needed help. She signaled that she did, so they pulled over on the side of the road. But when they got out to talk to the woman, she and the car she had been driving were gone. It had just vanished.

Another time warp story was told by a trucker who was really familiar with his regular route along US-41 through Evansville, Indiana. He said it happened in 1974 when there was an area he called "stop light corridor," a series of 12 traffic lights in a 7.1-mile stretch. Operators of the big rigs like to time their arrival at the lights so the wheels never stop rolling if possible, since it takes a lot of fuel to get those heavy trucks moving once they are stopped. This driver said on this particular day, as he entered the corridor with a heavy load of hogs, Rod Stewart’s song "Stay With Me" was just going on his radio. Strangely he said the green lights came on perfectly at each light and in synch to the lyrics. "I made every light green in exactly four minutes and thirty-five seconds. Rod’s song ended with the drum beat finish at light twelve."

The trucker said he later realized that something uncanny had just happened to him. He said he was driving over the 45-mile-per-hour speed limit. He calculated that he needed to be traveling at a speed of 62.26 miles-per-hour to hit those lights at exactly the right time for all of them to be showing green. "My wife and I started the song in the same spot five winters ago and it ended half way through. With light traffic it took us nine minutes."

My wife and I experienced a strange slow-down of time one morning in about 2003 when we were living in a small town in Michigan. I was working as an assistant editor at a small weekly newspaper about 30 miles from where we lived. On the day we were going to press, the rush of tasks that usually took the editor and me most of a day to accomplish were completed by mid-morning, which I found odd but I didn’t think a lot about it. That was until my wife called and asked if I had noticed anything strange about the time that morning. She said she took on a major job that morning of cleaning all of the cupboards and shelves in her kitchen and seemed to finish in record time. She said she did several other tasks and was amazed to discover that she finished work that should have taken all day within about two hours. Strangely, nobody else at the newspaper or in the apartment complex where we lived appeared to have noticed anything unusual about events that occurred that morning.

At another time when we were driving one night down a blacktop country road on a trip that should have taken us no more than ten minutes, we found ourselves driving and driving without ever reaching the yellow blinking warning light that could be clearly seen at an intersection a few miles ahead. We estimated that we spent at least 30 minutes on that road before reaching the light.