Scientist Discuses The Reality Of Time Travel On 'This Morning'

March 15, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ ScienceTime TravelTelevision
Ronald Mallett, This Morning
Photo: © ITV
The concept of time travel has been part of popular culture for many years, with fictional time machines such as Doctor Who's Tardis and Back to the Future's DeLorean car captivating audiences. However, Professor Ronald Mallett from the University of Connecticut is hoping to turn fiction into reality by building his own time machine or at least understanding its principles.

The physicist appeared on the ITV show 'This Morning' to talk about his attempt to build a time machine and what motivated him to explore this unique and seemingly fictional branch of science.

Ronald, who became one of the first African Americans to receive a PhD in physics specialising in Einstein's theory of relativity, told presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield that his interest in science began with his father, a television repairman who gave him scientific toys and tried to explain scientific principles.

Ronald's father died suddenly of a massive heart attack when Ronald was only 10 years old. Speaking via a live video link from Connecticut, he said, "he looked like he was extremely healthy, he was a very robust looking man, we didn't know that he had a weak heart and he died suddenly of a massive heart attack when he was only 33 years old."

A year later, Ronald read H.G. Wells' 'The Time Machine,' which sparked his interest in time travel. Ronald remembers, "it said on the first page that scientific people know very well that time is just a kind of space and we can move forward and backward in time as we can in space. That was like a life preserver to me, because I thought if I could go back in time, I could see him again and save his life."

Ronald, who is currently serving as a professor of physics at the University of Connecticut since 2013, later learned about Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, which states that time is affected by speed. The faster one moves, the more clocks slow down. Meanwhile, the General Theory of Relativity states that time is affected by gravity and the curvature of space-time.

Ronald believes that time travel is possible and that he can build a time machine based on Einstein's work. His theory is based on the idea that circling beams of particles can warp time and space. He believes that by creating a rotating laser, he can create a twisting effect on space and time, which would allow travel back in time.

During the interview, Phillip raised an interesting paradox that would arise if someone were to successfully travel back in time and alter events. For instance, if Professor Ronald had gone back in time and saved his father from dying, he would not have been motivated to build the time machine, which raises the question of whether time travel can create paradoxes that cannot be resolved.

Ronald acknowledged the paradox but said that it was possible to create an alternate timeline in which the time machine was still created.

While the concept of time travel may still seem like science fiction, Ronald wanted to make it clear that the possibility of time travel is rooted in real scientific principles. As the professor stated during the interview, "well, let me tell you. The real scientific possibility is based on Einstein's work." He added, "we know that time travel in the future is actually experimental and real."

As the interview came to an end, Phillip turned to Holly and asked, "how much that did you understand?" to which she replied, "that it's not as easy as we think." Phillip then quipped, "it's not that easy, otherwise we'd all have been doing it," with a chuckle. Holly agreed, "Exactly."

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