Travel Through Time… by Using a Laser?

An old television presenting a man in a suit, possibly discussing time travel.

A physicist believes that time travel is possible, and his theory involves circulating lasers. Are we close to real time travel?

Recent Research

As a fan of H.G. Welles’ novel The Time Machine, Ron Mallett has built on Albert Einstein’s equations for the exterior and interior gravitation fields of the light cylinder.  Einstein’s theory of general relativity support travel to the future (in theory).  When Mallett read The Time Machine he saw the possibility of traveling backwards in time.  

Well, In theory.

Mallett was motivated by his desire to go back in time and save his father who died at 33 years old. Devastated by this tragedy, 10-year-old Mallett discovered Welles’ book.  He was inspired and wanted to build his own time machine.

Unable to afford university, Mallett enlisted in the US Air Force and, after serving his tour was entitled to a degree on the GI Bill.  He studied hard and received a PhD in physics from Pennsylvania State University.  His breakthrough theory builds on Einstein’s gravitational field equations and posed that if gravity can affect time and light can create gravity, then light can affect time. This theory has come to be known as Space-time Twisting by Light (or STL).

Space-time Twisting by Light

The circulating laser approach is based upon a ring laser’s properties in the context of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Professor Mallet proposed that a circulating laser might be able to produce a limited amount of frame-dragging which might be measured experimentally.

Mallet later argued that the circulating laser might, at sufficient energy levels, produce not just frame-dragging but also closed timelike curves (CTC), allowing time travel into the past.

From one of Professor Mallet’s published papers:

For the strong gravitational field of a circulating cylinder of light, I have found new exact solutions of the Einstein field equations for the exterior and interior gravitational fields of the light cylinder. The exterior gravitational field is shown to contain closed timelike lines.
The presence of closed timelike lines indicates the possibility of time travel into the past. This creates the foundation for a time machine based on a circulating cylinder of light.

Mallett, R. L. (2003). “The gravitational field of a circulating light beam” (PDF). Foundations of Physics.

Here is a NBC News / NBC Left Field segment that interviewed Professor Mallet and provides a great introduction to his research and theory….

An old television presenting a man in a suit, possibly discussing time travel.

His resulting invention only sends information back through time, not people.  He has built a prototype showing how lasers could create a circulating beam of light that twists time and space. But he still needs substantial funding to bring his idea through to a working model. 

[ Check below in the References section for a link to a diagram illustrating this novel time travel concept ]

The book describing his journey was published in 2006, titled Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality, co-written with author Bruce Henderson. The film rights for the book have already been optioned for a motion picture.

Time, indeed, will tell if lasers will take us back to the future.

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NBC Left Field segment from YouTube:

Wikipedia page on Dr. Ron Mallet:

My Big Story (YouTube) segment on Professor Mallet:

EETimes longer profile (YouTube) interview with Professor Mallet:

Link to Time Travel Concept illustration (not secure):

An old television presenting a man in a suit, possibly discussing time travel.
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