Scientists Predict Teleportation and Time Travel Will Happen Within Children's Lifetimes

Friday, 31 October 2014 - 2:23PM
Physics
Friday, 31 October 2014 - 2:23PM
Scientists Predict Teleportation and Time Travel Will Happen Within Children's Lifetimes

At the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, in which aspiring young scientists compare their predictions for the future of technology to those of experts in the field, the experts told the children that seemingly impossible science fiction feats such as teleportation, time travel, and invisibility cloaks would occur in their lifetimes.

 

Quantum teleportation, or teleportation of information between two quantum bits, was achieved by scientists for the very first time in May, but the teleportation of a person is much more involved that transporting the spin state of an electron, as it would essentially require the person to be dematerialized. Still, physicist Dr. Mary Jacquiline Romero of the University of Glasgow predicted that teleportation of an entire person would occur by 2080. 

 

"Teleporting a person, atom by atom, will be very difficult... but perhaps developments in chemistry or molecular biology will allow us to do it more quickly," said Romero. "The good thing about teleportation is that there is no fundamental law telling us that it cannot be done and with technical advances I would estimate teleportation that we see in the films will be with us by 2080."

 

Regarding time travel, Colin Stuart, science communicator and author of The Big Questions in Science, said, "Time travel to the future has already been achieved, but only in tiny amounts. The record is 0.02 seconds set by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. Whilst that doesn't sound too impressive, it does show that time travel to the future is possible."

 

In the case of Sergei Kirkalev, Stuart is not referring to classical time travel, but time dilation. In Einstein's theory of relative velocity time dilation, a tenet of special relativity, he posited that time would pass more slowly when traveling at high speeds in relation to an observer in an inertial frame of reference. In other words, if one person is on Earth and another is in a high-speed spacecraft, then the astronaut would age more slowly compared to his or her non-accelerating counterpart. This was shown to be true in the case of astronaut Kirkalev, who as a result of his high-speed space travel aged .02 seconds less than a person born at the same time on Earth. According to Stuart, this is comparable to "time travel" as we normally think of it, because when Kirkalev came back from his space missions, Earth was essentially .02 seconds ahead of him, or he had traveled .02 seconds into the future. 

 

Stuart explained this theory in more depth, and proposed that this method could be used in the near future to travel significantly further in time: "If you travelled through space on a big loop at 10 per cent the speed of light for what seemed to you like six months, approximately six months and one day would have passed on Earth. You'd have time travelled a day into the future. Travel at the same speed for 10 years and you'll time travel nearly three weeks into the future. I would say we are looking at 2100 as a very optimistic timescale for travelling weeks into the future."

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