How many of us wish we could go back in time. To see family members that have passed, To change life altering decisions that we made and regret and to pursue other lives other than the one we are now in.
The thought of time travel and its infinite possibilities has always intrigued mankind. The hit film ‘Back to the Future’ starring Michael J Fox was based on our unquenchable thirst on the prospect of what time travel could bring to our lives. And the film the ‘Butterfly Effect’ starring Ashton Kutcher showed how we could change our present lives by going back and tweaking what we did.
But will time travel in reality ever be an option for mankind?
Ron Mallet is one of a few real-life scientists currently trying to realize the dream of turning back the clock to travel to our ultimate time destination.
Mallet has devised scientific principles and equations based upon which he states a time machine could be created.
His dream of traveling back in time was sparked as a ten-year-old when his beloved father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.
Mallet acknowledges that this event changed the course of his life.
“For me, the sun rose and set on him, he was just the center of things,” Mallet told CNN Travel. “Even today, after all of these years, there’s still an unreality about it for me.”
Approximately a year following the death of his father, Mallet read a book that he says influenced his life, the science fiction novel: “The Time Machine,” written by H.G. Wells.
After reading the book, Mallet perceived his family loss not as an end, but as a a beginning.
The book fueled his interested in time travel and he has spent his life researching and working on the possibilities.
Mallet has created a prototype time machine that shows how a laser beaming light in circles could literally turn the clock back.
“By studying the type of gravitational field that was produced by a ring laser, this could lead to a new way of looking at the possibility of a time machine, based on a circulating beam of light.. Eventually a circulating beam of laser lights could act as a sort of time machine and cause a a twisting of time that would allow you to go back into the past.”
To understand Mallett’s machine, you need to know the basics of Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which states that time accelerates or decelerates depending on the speed at which an object is moving.
Mallet explains that his idea for a time machine hinges upon another Einstein theory, being the general theory of relativity. That theory is that massive objects bend space-time which we perceive as gravity and that the stronger the gravity is, the slower the time passes.
“If you can bend space, there‘s a possibility of you twisting space,” Mallet told CNN.
“In Einsteins 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, now 74 concedes that his goal to go back to the 1950’s and time of his father’s death isn’t close to being a reality and may not be achievable in his lifetime.
However a major production company has bought the rights to his story “The Time Traveler” an autobiography he co-authored in 2008.
Now although not in real life he may in another form get to meet his father one last time.
“The idea I will actually be able to see my father on the big screen, it will almost be like bringing him back to life for me.” said Mallet, who credits his father for instilling a love of reading and fostering his passion for science as a child.
Mallet is far from alone in his desires to go back in time, revisit the past and change the outcome of the future. He says when he began speaking openly about his ideas that he was contacted from people all over the world.
“People started contacting me, literally from all over the world about the possibility of going back in time,” he said.
Whether the means to travel back or forward in time will ever become a reality is unknown. Although Mallet believes that this will one day be possible the theory has its septics.
Paul Sutter, an astrophysicist who hosts a podcast called “Ask a Spaceman” says that “Time travel into the past is allowed, potentially in our theory of general relativity, how we understand gravity… But every time we try to concoct a theoretical time travel device, some other bit of physics buts in and breaks up the party.”
Sutter concedes that although he thinks Mallet’s work is interesting he has doubts on whether it will deliver results.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be fruitful, because I do think there are deep flaws in his mathematics and his theory, and so a practical device seems unattainable.
British science writer Brian Clegg says that “While not everyone agrees that his (Mallet’s) planned device would work, I think it’s an interesting enough proposition to go for an experimental trial…. If it did work, it should be stressed that it’s not a practical time machine, it would simply produce a tiny but measurable effect, which would demonstrate the principle.”
Malletl does concede that his ideas are currently theoretical and says he is endeavoring to raise funds to enable him to conduct real-life experiments.
“It’s not like the movies,” Mallet insists. “It’s not going to happen at the end of two hours, at the cost of whatever it is you pay for the movie ticket. It’s going to cost.”