· First reference to time travel in a word-of-mouth tale, dating back to 400 B.C. Known as Mahabharata, it is a tale of King Raivata. He leaves Earth and spends a day with the god Brahma and when he returns to Earth, he realizes he has traveled hundreds of years into the future.
· First published fiction with time travel? Bet you didn’t guess this, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. How else do think Ebenezer Scrooge traveled to the past and future? Published in 1849, it’s the first fictional reference to a person traveling to the past and/or future.
· First time a time machine appears? 1881, in The Clock that Moved Backwards by Edward Page Mitchell. This was the first instance of time machine, in the form of a grandfather clock, and the first instance of a temporal paradox.
Famous Time Travel Literature
The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
A Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffeneger
1. Predestination Paradox: Occurs when the actions of a person traveling back in time becomes part of the past events and may ultimately cause the event he is trying to prevent taking place. This causes a temporal causality loop in which Event 1 in the past influences Event 2, the time travel to the past, which then causes Event 1 to take place. This paradox suggests that things are always destined to turn out the same way, and that whatever has happened must happen.
2. Bootstrap Paradox: A type of paradox in which an object, person or piece of information sent back in time results in an infinite loop where there is no discernable origin, and exists without ever being created. This is also referred to as an ontological paradox, which implies the future, present and past are not defined, thus the obvious problem of how to pinpoint the origin of anything.
3. The Grandfather Paradox: This concerns the self-inconsistent solutions to a timeline’s history caused by traveling back in time. Think of traveling back in time and accidentally running down your grandfather with your car before your father is born. The only way for this paradox to be solved is with the timeline protection hypothesis that would not allow you kill your grandfather, or the multiple universes hypothesis that would allow you to kill your grandfather, and then pop back up in a world where he didn’t have your father but this is another, parallel universe.
4. Kill Hitler Paradox: Similar to the Grandfather Paradox, the Kill Hitler paradox postures that if you go back and remove some great event, it will create a domino effect and will lead to a much worse situation than that which the time traveler had hoped to prevent.
5. The Butterfly Effect: We all know this one, where the time traveler goes back and accidentally says something to someone and comes back to find that no humans exist anymore. The idea is that a small inconsequential change, like the movement of a butterfly’s wings, can ripple through the newly created timeline to drastic outcomes.
The Real Science of Time Travel
In 2017, Ben Tippett, a University of British Columbia researcher, came up with a mathematical model for a viable time machine. "People think of time travel as fiction", says Tippett. "And we tend to think it’s not possible because we don’t actually do it. But, mathematically, it is possible."
In 1915 Albert Einstein announced his theory of general relativity, stating that gravitational fields are caused by distortions in the fabric of space and time. More than 100 years later, an international team of physics institutes and research groups, announced the detection of gravitational waves generated by colliding black holes billions of lightyears away, confirming Einstein’s theory.
Tippett says that the division of space into three dimensions, with time as a separate dimension by itself, is incorrect. The four dimensions should be imagined simultaneously, where different directions are connected as a space-time continuum. Tippett, using Einstein’s theory, states that the curvature of space-time accouts for the curved orbits of the planets.
"The time direction of the space-time surface also shows curvature. There is evidence showing the closer to a black hole we get, time moves slower" says Tippett. "My model of a time machine uses the curved space-time—to bend time into a circle for the passengers, not in a straight line."
"While mathematically feasible it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials – which we call exotic matter – to bend space-time in these impossible ways."
Tippet has created a mathematical model of Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time. He describes it as a bubble of space-time geometry which carries its contents backward and forward through space and time at speeds greater than the speed of light at times, allowing it to move backward in time.