An astrophysicist from the University of Connecticut believes he has discovered a way to travel back in time, at least theoretically.
Ron Mallet, an astrophysicist and tenured professor, told CNN that he has written a scientific equation that could create a time machine, allowing one to travel to the future or past. His theory is founded on Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which states that the speed that an object moves could accelerate or decelerate time.
Many astrophysicists believe that it is possible to travel forward in time, but time travel to the past is thought to be impossible. Yet Mallet believes that he could solve the time travel to the past conundrum with lasers, using another of Einstein’s theories—the general theory of relativity. This theory states that gravity can bend space-time, and the stronger the gravity the slower time will pass.
“If you can bend space, there’s a possibility of you twisting space,” Mallett told CNN. “In Einstein’s theory, 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.”
Mallet said that if one could twist time into a loop, theoretically it would allow one to travel backwards in time. Currently he has built a prototype that uses lasers to help achieve this goal.
“By studying the type of gravitational field that was produced by a ring laser,” Mallett told CNN, “this could lead to a new way of looking at the possibility of a time machine based on a circulating beam of light.”
However, Mallet concedes there is a major limitation to his theory: Even if the time machine did work, it would prevent one from traveling back in time before the machine was created.
“You can send information back,” he told CNN, “but you can only send it back to the point at which you turn the machine on.”
That said, not everyone in Mallet’s professional sphere believes in his work, and they are skeptical that Mallet would be able to create a working time machine.
“I don’t think [his work is] necessarily going to be fruitful,” astrophysicist Paul Sutter told CNN, “because I do think that there are deep flaws in his mathematics and his theory, and so a practical device seems unattainable.”