A prodigious University of Queensland undergraduate Germain Tobar claims to have worked out the preliminary math showing that paradox-free time travel might be theoretically possible in our Universe.
While classical dynamics say that knowing the state of a system at a particular time allows one to gauge its entire history, Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts the existence of time loops or time travel, which theoretically turns the study of dynamics on its head.
“As physicists, we want to understand the Universe’s most basic, underlying laws and for years I’ve puzzled on how the science of dynamics can square with Einstein’s predictions. I wondered: “is time travel mathematically possible?””, Tobar said.
Working together with supervisor Fabio Costa from Queensland, Tobar has demonstrated that, when it comes to time travel, it’s neither impossible, nor would preclude a person from acting in ways that could lead to a paradox.
Using an example where a person travels back in time to stop the COVID-19’s patient zero from being exposed to the virus, Tobar explains:
“[…] you might try to stop patient zero from becoming infected, but in doing so you would catch the virus and become patient zero, or someone else would. No matter what you did, the salient events would just recalibrate around you”.
This means that, regardless of your actions, the pandemic would occur anyway, thereby giving your younger self the motivation to travel back in time to stop it. Any attempt to create a paradox would be “swallowed up” by the Universe adjusting itself to accommodate it, thereby nipping any and all potential inconsistencies in the bud.
“The range of mathematical processes we discovered show that time travel with free will is logically possible in our Universe without any paradox,” said Tobar.
A full version of the paper is freely available in the on-line version of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.