Time travel may be possible but won't be economical

October 8, 2007

Marty McFly sped his souped up DeLoren into his parent’s past in Back to the Future, but whether we will ever make the journey to our ancestors time is as much an economic issue as one of science, according to a physics expert at The Australian National University.

Dr Craig Savage, who lectures in relativity and quantum mechanics, argued in a public lecture today that, based on the laws of logic and physics, even if characters like McFly could in principle turn up in our present, the cost of developing, building and running a time machine would be so great that time travel remains an unlikely prospect.

“Even if time travel turned out to be possible there would still be an economic problem. The expense of space travel runs into billions of dollars, but you would have to add many zeroes to that before you were even close to the cost of time travel,” Dr Savage said.

“If time travel is possible, it is only likely to happen in the realm of quantum physics. In fact some argue that some aspects of quantum physics almost demand time travel.”

His lecture, organised by ANU student group The Black Hole Society, will outline what makes time travel a logical and physical possibility, but why no one has met Marty McFly or his time travelling friends yet.

“Future human beings who might be able to muster the resources for time travel would probably be so advanced as to be virtually unrecognisable to those living now. This kind of question takes science to the limits” he said.

Source: Australian National University

Explore further: How Einstein's general theory of relativity killed off common-sense physics

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Test racetrack dipole magnet produces record 16 tesla field

November 30, 2015

A new world record has been broken by the CERN magnet group when their racetrack test magnet produced a 16.2 tesla (16.2T) peak field – nearly twice that produced by the current LHC dipoles and the highest ever for a dipole ...

Turbulence in bacterial cultures

November 30, 2015

Turbulent flows surround us, from complex cloud formations to rapidly flowing rivers. Populations of motile bacteria in liquid media can also exhibit patterns of collective motion that resemble turbulent flows, provided the ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 09, 2007
So long and thanks for all the fish.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.