On the possibility of time travel

Preston Mitchell | Staff Writer


In 1916, Einstein defined gravitational waves as ripples through space and time. It was the final postulation to be proven in his famed theory of relativity. 100 years later, his thoughts have now been confirmed.

On Sept. 14, 2015, two black holes collided a billion light-years away. In February, the scientists on the case announced that they recorded the collision as a soundbite. This crucial discovery proves that gravitational waves do, in fact, exist. It also means that one day, time travel could be a possibility.

Time travel has been popular for centuries; long before Einstein or Rip Van Winkle. Even in ancient fables, the characters of Hindu/Buddhist stories would travel forward in time to speak to their creators. Nowadays, classic genre films have so many variations of time travel that it’s difficult to pin down the most ethical method.

First is the fixed timeline theory, executed in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” In that film, Harry and Hermione activated time travel to change key events and save themselves. Despite their corrections, Harry realizes that the Patronus spell saved him and Sirius Black wasn’t his father, but him all along.

In essence, it’s when you travel back in time and the future is unchanged. Basically, all actions in previous histories are fixed points in time.

In addition, there is the dynamic timeline theory, where any alteration in the past directly impacts the present. For example, “Looper” follows Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a member of an organization that sends future employees to his time for termination. Those plans are complicated once Old Joe (Bruce Willis) escapes assassination, which begins a cat-and-mouse chase. Of course, the only way Joe wins is by shooting himself and depleting Old Joe out of existence.

The multiverse theory also exists, where there are infinite parallel universes created from every decision. In 2009’s “Star Trek,” an elderly Spock is sent backwards in time through a space explosion. In any other theory, this act would change the future forever. However, Spock created a new timeline by rippling through his past, creating a parallel timeline with no affect on his previous universe.

At best, time travel should be left in the movies. Discovering gravitational waves is wonderful for science, but affecting fragile histories is always going to be risky.

Be that as it may, everyone still has one part of their past they would like to change.

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