Time Travel Essay, Research Paper
Time Travel has always been a fascination with many people. People often dream about going back in time, to live the simple life, or to gain knowledge, or even to rule over the less knowledgeable. Many novels are written about these fascinations. Three novels that stand out are “A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur Court” by Mark Twain, “Timeline” by Michael Crichton and “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. All of these books deal with a different aspect of why people want to travel forward or backward through time. Many people believe that time travel does not exist. But many well know physicists have proven that time travel does exist, but say that will not happen for several more years.
Time and space have fascinated man since the dawn of civilisation. People have spent aeons thinking about these concepts and the ideas behind them. The Greeks, the Romans, the English, all have stared at the heavens and wondered. As the boundaries of physics are pushed back and back it is becoming clear that whoever understands the laws of physics best will be able to travel through time and space, easily gaining a dominant position in the known Universe. There are many different theories about time travel, and how it could quite possibly be done. Physicists have found the law of nature, which prevents time travel paradoxes, and thereby permits time travel. It turns out to be the same law that makes sure light travels in straight lines, and which underpins the most straightforward version of quantum theory, developed half a century ago by Richard Feynman. Einstein said that time itself is relative. Time slows down at high speeds and in strange gravity. So far, we haven’t developed the technology to travel through time. But is this because we’re not advanced enough to figure it out. An unknown author once wrote a small poem dealing with Einstein s theory:
There was a young lady called Bright
Who could travel much faster than light;
She went out one day,
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night.
– Author unknown
Time travel does not have only one use instead it has many. One of these reasons to travel in time has been around for centuries and continues to haunt us to this very day. Power plays a major role in past and present societies. Mark Twain emphasizes this in his novel “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur court.” A young man, by the name of Clarence, is transported back into the time of the medieval knights. Clarence did not believe at first that he was actually in this time. What year is it? 513. 513! You don t look it! Come, my boy, I am a stranger and friendless: be honest and honorable with me. Are you in your right mind? He said he was. After being convinced that he was actually in the 6th century, Clarence began to worry as to how he had actually gotten there. Although he never really sets foot on medieval grounds, he dreams of what it would be like if he was actually there. Being from the future, Clarence had much greater knowledge then any other person at this time. He easily took over the people of this time, after having to prove himself by predicting a solar eclipse. He is able to win over the companionship of some of the locals. Then with his unsurpassed knowledge he is able to pass himself off as a magician even more powerful then Merlin himself. He uses this power to benefit himself. He winds up as a very high up consultant to King Arthur himself, and gets put in charge of many people. With his new found wealth and manpower, he slowly begins a take over of the lands, and in the end of the book, he battles with Merlin himself. Then all of a sudden he wakes up on his bed in modern times; it was all just a dream.
Even though the tale of a Connecticut Yankee traveling to King Arthur s court might not have been real, many people still have thoughts about conquering the world. This novel is just an example of one such instance. Many people would kill to have a chance to conquer the world. Wars are fought around the world over who will rule what. In WWII, Hitler had visions of world domination. If he had been able to come up with a time machine, he would have succeeded. Not only would he rule the world, but also if something happened that he didn t like, then he could just as easily go back and change his mistakes. WWII is not the only example of people trying to rule the world; many smaller countries are trying to fight for themselves so they don t have to serve under anyone else s rule. But these are all just examples of why people would, if they could, travel back into time. Power plays a major role in time travel. Time travel would make it easier to conquer land with knowledge of what is going on in the future. The person who makes, if possible, the first time machine will be one of the most powerful people on earth. He will be able to both keep it to himself and use it to his advantage, or he could use it to benefit others. Power can never be underestimated for its affect on people and their behavior. If a person where given the choice to travel back into time and know more then anyone else in that time, chances are that they will capitalize on the idea, and corner the people into some sort of leadership role. Whether it be the ruler, like Clarence was, or just in it to make money, people would see the time machine as a way to get rich quick, or be famous. Either way one of the main reasons for time travel is to go back in time to be a success.
While conquering the world may be one reason to travel back in time, other people would prefer to go back and study the past. Michael Crichton depicts this perfectly in his novel Timeline . In this novel, a brilliant man by the name of Robert Doniger starts a company to research quantum physics. When most people think about time travel the idea most of us think of is the ability to travel forward or backward in time, to be able to specify the number of years you travel, or even to specify the date you want to go to, and to be able to return to your “correct” time safely. Doniger succeed in this area of perfecting precisely where they could travel to with great success, and in a short while actually come up with a way to travel through foam. Crichton describes this theory in his novel the structure of space-time is irregular. It s not smooth; it s sort of bubbly and foamy. And because it s way down at the quantum level, it s called quantum foam. This foam is what enables them to chose what dimension, or time period that they wish to go to. The company starts to branch out into other fields of work, and begins a restoration of many medieval monuments. By traveling back into the time period where the castles, or monasteries where built, they can accurately reconstruct them into what they looked like a thousand years ago. In the novel, traveling back to do research worked wonderfully, except for a man that was told never to use the machines again, but of course did not listen and returned back to the medieval time against orders. He tried to stop a rescue team that was sent in, but in the end the returned safely back to there original time with no more problems. This is an example of people traveling back into time to research objects of the past such as castles and monasteries.
Many people s jobs are based on finding out facts about how life was lived before our time. One of the main jobs to deal with this is archeology. Archeologists depend on finding artifacts and pieces of food, or anything else that can help them to better determine how people or animals used to live. They must dig down into the earth to recover these fragments, and piece them back to there original condition. But without actually being in that time period, they can only guess what or why objects where used. If they had ways of actually traveling back into time, the whole industry would be changed. Archeologists would become the leaders in the time travel industry. No longer would there tools consist of shovels and paintbrushes, instead they would need nothing else then themselves and their time machine. They could simply travel back and sketch, or take samples of what they were studying. Another book that tells about bringing the past to life is Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. This novel talks more about bringing the past to life through technology, other then traveling back to find it. But it shows how interested people can be in the past. Instead of risking the lives of people by bringing the past to the present day, people could simply go to the past.
Other then researching and taking over the world, time travel also attracts people who just want to go for the experience. Time travel has fascinated fiction writers practically since Time began. Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1895, H. G. Wells classic story The Time Machine was first published in book form. It was Einstein, as every child knows, who first described time as “the fourth dimension” — and every child does not know the truth. It was actually Wells who wrote, in The Time Machine , “There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space, except that our consciousness moves along it”. H.G. Wells took a literary device, and made it, literally, a device. In his novel, “The Time Machine”, Wells perfects the time machine in order to travel back and forth through time. He has no ambitions on what he will accomplish once in another time period, but rather just wants to enjoy the ride and new experiences. Wells describes this time travel in his novel The Time Machine ; The laboratory grew faint and hazy, then fainter and even fainter. To-morrow night became black, then day again, night again, day again, faster and faster still. An eddying murmur filled my ears, and a strange, dumb confusedness descended on my mind. Wells goes on to describe his newfound time travel to have unpleasant sensations that fade away after the initial start. He discovers that the time period that he goes to isn’t quite the way he had hoped it to be. Instead of finding all friendly beings, he found the friendly being tormented by the evil. He ended up helping to defeat the evil, and return to his time machine. He returned back to his own time to tell others of his magnificent story. While taking over the world may sound like a better reason to travel through time, some people, like Mr. Wells, have no plans on making themselves the supreme ruler, but instead decide to enjoy what they have stumbled upon.
Time is a very strange animal. We don’t fully understand it. Maybe it’s another dimension. Maybe it’s just a measure we use to keep track of the order of things. Maybe it’s something totally different that no one fully understands. This paper does not have all of the answers or reasons for time travel. Time travel can have its ups and downs. While some wish to use it purely to help themselves, others use it to better mankind. A notion that was once nothing more than science fiction in books is now a concept that is becoming reality. Einstein s theories of general and special relativity can be used to actually prove that time travel is possible, and research has shown that fast moving craft can travel into the future. All of these theories about traveling through time may or may not be true. However there are still three main reasons why people are compelled to find ways of traveling back into time, to gain power, peace of mind, or to be enlightened about the past. All of these continue to drive physicists and other people on in there research of time travel.