Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time Slips (3): Experiments in Time Travel?

Go back to November 22, 1963 and find out who was really in that 6th floor Depository window?

Hmmmm....an interesting proposition!

In the science fiction novel 'Lest Darkness Fall'  by L. Sprague de Camp,, the central character (Martin Padway) undergoes a time slip to 6th century Rome. The interesting aspect of this is that it is the Rome for which a definite history is known, since Padway used it to his advantage as he made his way in a strange environment. Hence, he knew what major political changes would occur, who was in charge and which factions were vying for control, including barbarians.

In other words, the template for his experience was not the same as the ones I've considered in the two earlier blog posts: an interphasing of two distinct parallel universes. As I conjectured, the experience of Charlotte Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain would be more a case of the women stepping into 1789 Versaille, but in an alternate universe. One briefly interphased with our own. The nature of their descriptions supported this hypothesis.

In the case of the fictional Padway, his memory and the ability to forecast events to unfold in 6th century Rome, disclosed that he didn't step into an alternate universe with an alternate past, but remained in this one, on the same Earth in fact. Otherwise the events that shaped ancient Rome would have been different and he'd not have been able to use his historical memory to any advantage

This brings up the questions, first, of whether time slips in this one universe (and Earth) are feasible, and  second, if so, are there experiments one might perform to exploit them - say to return to Dallas, in November, 1963 and interfere with the Kennedy assassination?

While Oxford physicist Michael Shallis, in his book 'On Time' doesn't elaborate at any length, he does provide a brief clue (p. 163-64) referring to "advanced waves moving back in time in counterpoint to their progressive and retarded partners."  He then goes on to write (ibid.):

"This interpenetration slips backward and forward in time simultaneously, seeming to defy the laws of matter and causality"

The notion of advanced and retarded waves, or potentials, is not new. In fact, every physics student taking his first Electricity and Magnetism course encounters them.  Indeed, from Maxwell’s E & M theory, we are fully enabled to make use of what are called “advanced potentials” defined in terms of:

V(r,ta) = f1(r, Ta) and A(r, ta) = f2(r, ta)

Where ta is the “advanced time”, ta = t + r/c

And the f1, f2 are functions of the electric potential and vector potential, respectively.   In the advanced time, we ascertain conditions for the future potentials V(r,ta)  based on the past, and are able to use them in appropriate calculations in the past. An evident violation of causality, though admittedly the sort of applications where these may be used are limited

What might be more directly relevant to time slips for the same universe involve the "offer" and "echo"waves proposed by John G. Cramer. The two interacting, interpenetrating wave forms might be expressed:

y(O)  + y(E) = Ö(2/π) e ωτ  +   Ö(2/π) e- ωτ

The use of such waves, say in a putative role for time slips, would demand using something called Minkowski space-time, Minkowski envisioned a kind of hyperspace in which events do not just 'happen'. Rather, they already are embedded in the space-time metric (geometry) and one comes across them, like towns along a highway (cf. Whittrow, G.J. 1972, The Nature of Time, Pelican Books, Great Britain, p. 103.)  For example, imagine the Minkowski temporal scale:


Past[-τ] <-------e1------e2--------e3-----> Future [+τ]

where e1, e2 and e3 are three events, say: e1 = Explosion of the Hindenburg dirigible, e2 = John F. Kennedy's assassination, and e3 = some future asteroid impact in the 21st century. In the Minkowski hyperspace these have always been on the timeline, which is traversed in the same way one would traverse a space. Thus, one encounters the various events on the timeline as s/he might encounter towns or villages along a highway.

Movement can occur in time or in space, and have a complementary (space or time) equivalent. For example, stay where you are and let one minute elapse on your watch. You have performed a 'movement in time' without a corresponding movement in space. We say you have traversed imaginary space. This imaginary space can easily be computed:

Im(x) = i(300,000 km/s x 60 s) = 18,000,000(i) km

That is, you have traversed 18 million imaginary kilometers or 11.25 million miles in imaginary space. (Im(x) is the symbolic representation for an imaginary space (x) transition). Now, think of a movement in real space, but none in time. Is this possible? Well, I can get out my telescope and observe the Moon instantly - bearing my consciousness upon it - without taking the time to travel there. For all intents and purposes I am there. In this case, an imaginary time interval is the result, and again can be computed:

Im(τ) = (i) 384,000 km/ 300,000 km/s = 1.28i sec

That is, 1.28 imaginary seconds to get there. I note here that this imaginary time interval is equivalent to a real space interval: 384,000 km (space distance to Moon) = 1.28 i seconds. Thus, imaginary time and real space are interchangeable. This has prompted at least one observer of the situation (to do with Minkowski spacetime) to observe (Whittrow, op. cit., p. 104.):

“In other words, the passage of time is merely to be regarded as a feature of consciousness that has no objective counterpart.”

This is important!  It suggests that although we might formulate an apparently real "temporal highway" - i.e. the Minkowksi timeline, that the reality is we can't use it in any objective fashion, say analogous to changing locations on an actual physical highway.  In this case, the only "time travel" one would be able to do is a limited form based on displaced consciousness. Since quantum mechanics fuses the role of observer with that observed, then a quantum displacement affecting consciousness could conceivably "transport" one to another time, say perhaps the day of Kennedy's assassination.

The problem is one would only access it as a conscious observer, as if watching passively from a TV screen, not as a participant. Moreover, to make it work it seems likely the inception would have to commence in the brain itself - say at a synapse- for which we already know the dimension of the synaptic cleft (200- 300 nm) is arond the scale for the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle to operate. From an initial energy emergence, say based on the energy-time uncerainty relation:

DE  Dt  £    ħ

One might then arrive at adequate energy, i.e.

DE     »   ħ/ Dt 

to initiate a temporal cascade or 'push' to displace one's conscious in time. Following this in a more comprehensive way would require using some kind of operator to generate variation in time as experienced by consciousness. David Finkelstein ( Quantum Sets and Clifford Algebras, in International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 21, Nos. 6/7, p. 489 ) has created an operator explicitly to vary time via ‘bracing’. The operator is called ‘the brace operator’, Br. To see how it works on an elementary level, select a quantum unit set (say of cardinality 1) over some sub-module S (1) of the Clifford algebra S, with basis B(1). Then it follows from application of Br, and its conjugate Br*:

Br* Br = 1 Br Br* = [unit] Br* Br - Br Br* = [non-unit]


A more graphic way to see this is as follows:

After 1 τ, Br = { }

After 2 τ, Br = { { } }

After 3 τ, Br = { { { } } }

where we define:   10-43  s < τ <   10-23 s

And we see that for the smaller values on the left side, for which Dt = D τ

enormous energy would be released.   Notice that the brace creation increases arithmetically as the unit tau increases. The operation Br, equivalent to C(b) in Grassman space, generates an elemental tau (τ) each time, starting from some initial fluctuation.   Might this fluctuation be willed? Perhaps, but more than likely it would be spontaneous. All of this is of course highly speculative, but one thing which isn't is the clear impossibility of actual physical time travel, by time slip or otherwise. 

 Yes, I'd originally planned to travel to Dachau sometime in the next 2 months, to attempt a time slip experiment. But I don't believe it would be wise to try it, even slipping into a parallel universe with Dachau on another Earth!  But it might yet be feasible to attempt a quantum -based displacement of consciousness - say back to Nov. 22, 1963.

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