What I’m referring to is not the latest gadget, but in fact the possibility that the latest scientists at CERN‘s superlab may rip a hole in space and time. Yes, I know, it sounds bizarre and completely incredulous, but it is in fact true.
CERN laboratory has, for a long time, done some of the wildest experiments out there, what with it having a massive particle accelerator and all sorts of other gadgetry. CERN is also the European particle physics centre and home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that is going to be switched on later in the year. This will aid scientists in finding out more about the birth of the universe.
Two Russian scientists have spoken out against the initiation of the LHC and what it may accomplish, due to unforeseen possibilities. Amazingly, these include creating that aforementioned rip in the universe that might allow for future generations to revisit the year. 2008, then, could be the beginning of time travel.
New Scientist (a British publication about the sciences) reports that the LHC could create small black holes that open one end of a ‘tunnel’ of sorts. Surely I’m not the only person to think that this is just like a movie!? More to the point, if it could create a hole that future generations could use, what about other species from alien worlds?
Of course, time travel is nothing new in literature, or even imaging what the world of the future may look like. Mellies films looked at this concept (landing on the Moon anyone) and literature such as the seminal The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) look on the subject with some trepidation.
Of course, may people across the globe have something to say about time travel, from philosophers to mathematicians, all looking at various aspects of this form of travel. Of course, the real issue comes in the paradox of time travel – if you could go back and kill your grandfather, how were you born to do this act in the first place?
Dr. Igor Novikov suggests that any action taken to disrupt what had categorically happened in the past would only take effect once the travellers went back to their own time. That would mean you could effectively erase your own existence. Whilst I’m not up on string theory, another line of thought dictates that it your arrival into a previous time (and space) would actually trigger the spawning of another universe, so any actions that you take do not modify your past, but create an alternate one instead.
Pretty mind blowing stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree on that. Of course, movies such as Back To The Future take a more comical look at the idea of space travel, with the characters using the ability to garner money, fame and even high tech gadgetry (a flying train from the Wild West and the future).
I suppose that we really have two other alternatives here. One suggestion is that the past can be viewed but not changed at all. The hole (if created), would allow the people of our future to look back at the past, at 2008 and beyond. This would allow for unprecedented understanding of previous societies – and who knows, they might be able to learn from our mistakes.
From a philosophical point of view, there are a variety of reasons why people are genuinely fixated on the idea of time travel. Is it the idea that you can know your own destiny? The revelation that your destiny is written in stone, or exactly the opposite? The way you could stop yourself from making the mistakes you’d regret in the future?
Whatever the reason, time travel continues to fascinate and disturb us, human beings, into our future, our past and our present. It resonates through our lives as deeply as the concept of life after death. One can only hope though, whatever the result of the CERN experiment that it does no harm and in fact adds to our understanding of the universe.