The Fourth Dimension…eerie, mysterious and exciting

Deciphering the History of Time, Gravity, Interstellar, and Theory of Relativity

We live in a world full of bewilderment. Making sense of everything around us and deciphering nuances of the universe is a complex task. Pertinent questions are, but not limited to, what is our place in this universe, what our origin is, and why the elements of the universe are the way they are. To answer such questions mankind comes up with various hypothesis and theories from time to time such as an infinite tower of tortoise providing support to a flat earth or superstring theory backed by mathematics. As observed by scientists, both are without observational evidences; we have neither seen a giant tortoise with Earth on its back nor a superstring. Time as a concept suffers from the same fate! Still an eerie and mysterious enigma for humans.

Why does time only go forward; why can we only remember the past and not the future. We treat time as a bidirectional paradigm like a straight railway line but what if this line, i.e. time is in loops and branches, which means the time train goes forward but by the end of the journey it comes back to the same place as already passed. In simple words, can we do time travel in future and past? Only if we decipher time as a concept completely.

The first indicator that came in laws of physics might allow time travel when Kurt Gödel discovered new space-time allowed by general relativity. For introduction, Gödel was a mathematician who is famed for proving that it is not possible to prove all true statements. Einstein was upset with this theory which allows someone to go off in rocketship and return to earth before he sets out. Some believe God might have created a warped universe. But observations of microwave background and abundances of the light elements indicate that early universe did not have the right kind of curvature needed for time travel.

The same problem statement is being explored in the field of interstellar or inter-galactic travel. As per relativity, nothing can travel faster than light. If we attempt to send a spaceship to the nearest star after sun which is, Alpha Centauri – please note it is 4.37 light years away – it may take more than eight years for the travellers to come back to earth and share their experience. As per theory of relativity, there is no unique standard of time; observers have their own time as measured by clocks that they carry with them. So the journey to Alpha Centauri may seem to be much shorter for the space travellers than for those who are on earth. Puzzling? I recommend watching a movie directed by Christopher Nolan – Interstellar or read the poem below.

There was a young lady of Wight

Who travelled much faster than light.

She departed one day,

In a relative way,

And arrived on the previous night.

Breaking the speed of light barrier is still not possible. There is an alternate solution to it. If one could warp space-time so that there was a shortcut between the start and end point of a journey. It is possible if we can create a wormhole. It is a thin tube of space-time which can connect two nearly flat regions apart. It is not a science fiction. In 1935, Einstein and Nathan Rosen wrote a paper in which they showed that general relativity allowed what they called as bridges, now known as wormholes.

Experimental evidence that space-time can be warped (from the bending of light during eclipses) and that it can be curved with the help of Casimir effect that may allow time travel.  Eventually as we leapfrog in science and technology, we may build a time machine to decipher the unsolved puzzle of Time and then become species of many dimensions; and to end I quote a dialogue from the movie Interstellar, “We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us”

Come and join us at DSCI BPM 2018 to discover more on ‘Time as a Concept’. Click here to know more about BPM.

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