The Touching Reason Why This Tenured Physics Professor Is Building a Laser-Based Time Travel Machine

Friday, 03 January 2020 - 11:24AM
Weird Science
Friday, 03 January 2020 - 11:24AM
The Touching Reason Why This Tenured Physics Professor Is Building a Laser-Based Time Travel Machine
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Maxwell Hamilton via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Ronald Mallett, Ph. D., an astrophysicist and a tenured professor at the University of Connecticut, is actively working to develop time travel technology, according to a report from CNN.

His research into time travel focuses heavily on Einstein's theory of relativity and the power of light: "To put it in a nutshell, Einstein said that time can be affected by speed," Mallett told CNN. "What Einstein meant by that is the stronger gravity is, the more time will slow down."

As Mallett explains on his university page, energy can also create a gravitational field. What he plans to do is harness the energy and subsequent gravitational fields of "a single continuously circulating unidirectional beam of light."

In other words, a laser.

"By studying the type of gravitational field that was produced by a ring laser, this could lead to a new way of looking at the possibility of a time machine based on a circulating beam of light," Mallett told CNN.

"If you can bend space, there's a possibility of you twisting space...What we call space also involves time — that's why it's called space-time, whatever it is you do to space also happens to time," added Mallett.

"Eventually a circulating beam of laser lights could act as a sort of a time machine and cause a twisting of time that would allow you to go back into the past," Mallet continued.

His deep interest in time travel comes, in part, from the desire to see his father again: Mallett lost his father to a heart attack when he was just ten years old. One year later, Mallett picked up H.G. Wells' sci-fi classic "The Time Machine," calling it the book that changed his life. There, he escaped into a world where the past was not locked away forever but instead could be revisited at will. Mallett has nurtured the idea of traveling back in time for decades since.

Mallett went on to specialize in relativity and black holes, acquiring his bachelor's master's, and doctorate degrees in physics from Penn State University. An early job working in lasers for the aerospace industry inspired his model for time travel. "It turned out my understanding about lasers eventually helped me in my breakthrough with understanding how I might be able to find a whole new way for the basis of a time machine," Mallett recounted.

It's all theoretical at this point, but Mallett wants to use his position as a tenured professor to help lend gravitas to what some might consider a bit of a fringe field. "I wanted to make sure that I got to that pinnacle of professionalism," he told CNN, adding, "Even then I was a bit reluctant."

Mallet has finished a theoretical equation that could make this whole thing work; the university's nonprofit agency has since opened an account for funding his research.

You can read Mallett's papers here.

To request information on the Space-Time Twisting by Light experiment or to make a donation, click here.

(Image Credit: Maxwell Hamilton via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Weird Science
Tenured Physics Professor Is Building a Laser-Based Time Travel Machine