Can Einstein's Equations Enable Time Travel?

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In summary, the speaker as a child was fascinated by the idea of time travel after reading a science magazine about Einstein's equations. They became determined to understand the math behind it and joined a science forum and participated in a physics Olympiad to improve their problem-solving skills. In college, they attended a winter school and learned the necessary math to understand differential geometry and eventually the field equations. Despite still having more to learn, the speaker is passionate about physics and eager to continue their understanding of it.
  • #1
nononeone
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As a child I have always wondered, as I used to watch a lots of sci-fi cartoons, if it's ever possible to time-travel. It has always been like a fairy tales to me until a friend of mine passed a magazine to me. It was Einstein's 100th birthday, and the headline of the weekly science magazine was "Einstein's equations will let you travel through time." I thought it was just another sci-fi story. But out of curiosity, I started reading the article. and I couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't have a strong enough mathematical foundation at the time, so I couldn't understand all of the equations. But I kept staring at them. These equations were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. Even though I didn't understand all the math, I did get some amazing and shocking information, which later played a huge role in making me fall in love with physics. Even though it will take an enormous amount of energy to make time travel possible, which is very unlikely to happen anytime soon, just the fact that it is theoretically even possible was a big deal for that little kid version of me.I was dead serious about understanding Einstein’s field equations. I took science in high school. That’s when the real journey began. I asked one of my physics teachers to help me understand the math behind all of these. Only after talking to him did I realize it wasn’t going to be an easy task. I have a long way to go. and that kid was ready for that. He’d do anything to understand these R’s, mu's, and neu’s of the field equation. So I did. I joined our local science forum. There were some brilliant physics Olympiad medalists, so I thought they could help me learn some background material. On their recommendation, I started preparing for the physics Olympiad because they told me it'd help me develop some good problem-solving skills that would later help me. That prep period was one of the best things that happened in my life since I realized how much I love solving problems and, more than that, the after-feeling of solving something so counterintuitive, and I knew. It helped me learn the language of physics, the Mathematics.By the time I got into college, I was able to understand a little bit about the equations; I knew what the elements were; those R’s were some Ricci curvature tensors on a 4-dimensional topological manifold. But I didn’t know what Ricci curvature means and what does a tensor mean or even manifold. To know all of that, I first had to learn differential geometry. And the prerequisites for learning differential geometry were topology, analysis, and linear algebra, which were beyond our college curriculum. But thanks to that winter school, we collaborated with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, arranged by a private research institute in our country. It was for young college and undergraduate enthusiastic students who don’t have enough mathematical background to properly understand the core topics of theoretical physics. It was a rigorous mathematical methods course. I was recommended by one of my physics teachers from college to attend the winter school. It was a great experience to be able to learn things from some of the world’s best theoretical physicists. At the end of the course, I had everything I needed to finally start learning differential geometry. So I did. A few weeks later, I knew what a manifold was. It's a topological space that locally looks like Rn. Then a few days back, I learned what a tensor is. It’s a multilinear map that takes r+s elements from s vector space and r dual vector space to real numbers. Maybe tomorrow I learn what a Ricci curvature is. Then maybe someday I’ll finally be able to understand those field equations.
 
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  • #2
A few general comments:
  • check verb tense
  • reduce and use sparingly adjectives and adverbs
  • avoid interrupting your sentences with parenthetical comments (e.g., your first sentence)
Also, I thought the commonapp was for going to college/university (we conflate these in the US), but you say "By the time I got into college." Could you clarify what this essay is for?
 
  • #3
Haborix said:
A few general comments:
  • check verb tense
  • reduce and use sparingly adjectives and adverbs
  • avoid interrupting your sentences with parenthetical comments (e.g., your first sentence)
Also, I thought the commonapp was for going to college/university (we conflate these in the US), but you say "By the time I got into college." Could you clarify what this essay is for?
college in our country is basically 11th and 12th grade. and I am applying for undergrad.
 
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  • #4
nononeone said:
college in our country is basically 11th and 12th grade.
What age are you?
 
  • #5
PeroK said:
What age are you?
20th
 
  • #6
nononeone said:
20th
Your style, IMO, is quite pedestrian. Take the first sentence.

As a child I have always wondered, as I used to watch a lots of sci-fi cartoons, if it's ever possible to time-travel.

An alternative is something like:

As a child on a steady diet of sci-fi cartoons, I often wondered about the possibility of time travel.

And, as @harborix said, you write more than the reader needs to be told. E.g.

To know all of that, I first had to learn differential geometry. And the prerequisites for learning differential geometry were topology, analysis, and linear algebra, which were beyond our college curriculum.

Instead:

To progress I had to learn topology, analysis, linear algebra and then differential geometry. All of which were beyond our college curriculum.
 
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  • #7
One more comment from me. This essay must have had a prompt/purpose. When you are editing your essay have the prompt/purpose for the essay in mind. If you wrote something that isn't responsive, or in aid of something responsive, to the prompt, then you should consider deleting it.
 
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  • #8
Based on your title I assume the point of the essay is to gain admission to an undergraduate physics program somewhere. What I'm getting out of it so far is that... you think time travel is possible, you like physics, and that possibly you went to a physics winter school of some sort.

Some general tips:
  • When you introduce yourself, you don't have to imply you're intelligent, or convince the reader that you like physics. In my opinion, it's much better to give an objective summary of your background... where you're from, what stage of schooling you're at, what accomplishments you are most proud of.
  • You can also go further into what's unique about yourself. You don't need to diverge too far on this, but it can help to give readers some points to help you stand out in their mind.
  • State your educational goals and explain how they tie in with your career aspirations and future life plans.
  • Demonstrate you know what you're applying to. Identify unique aspects of this program. What have you done to learn about the program? (Campus visits, spoken with current students, virtual tours, etc.)
  • Explain why you want to go to that school and study in that particular program. Explain how this program fits in with the educational goals you've stated above. Are there specific courses you're looking forward to? Specific professors you'd like to learn from? Are there opportunities to get involved with research?
  • You can also explain why this program is accessible to you, or comment on other extra-curricular things that make the school attractive... residence availability, clubs you'd like to join, aspects of the city you'll enjoy, etc.
 
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  • #9
Now that this is on the web, it will trigger all sorts of plagiarism detectors when you try and use it. And not just you - everyone else who will try and use this essay to get into college.

You need to throw it out and try again., Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
 
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  • #10
Vanadium 50 said:
You need to throw it out and try again., Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
The good news is that this thread has generated a fair amount of advice about essays in general, and that advice is still useful.
 
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  • #11
in addition to reducing adverbs, avoid passive verbs (is, have etc) where possible - that is a primary reason why @PeroK ’s edit reads better
 
  • #12
1. "The Common App" is used for US undergraduate programs. If this is your goal, do not use confusing words like "college", no matter what it might mean in your home country. If that's not your goal, clearly state it and ask the Mentors to change the title.
2. Your opening is trite, boring and overdone.
3, Your goal is to gain admission. Every second should advance that goal. If it doesn't, remove it.
4, Brevity is the soul of wit.
 
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  • #13
Vanadium 50 said:
4, Brevity is the soul of wit.
And avoid clichés like the plague.
 
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  • #14
Vanadium 50 said:
Now that this is on the web, it will trigger all sorts of plagiarism detectors when you try and use it. And not just you - everyone else who will try and use this essay to get into college.

You need to throw it out and try again., Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
And the interesting thing is that if the OP does not reply with an update, we will not know if we were successful or not. If they are smart and heed V50's advice, they will not post an updated and much improved version since it could trigget the plagiarism detection issues that V50 raised. If they don't post an updated version, either they heeded V50's advice or have given up.

(of course the best outcome would be if the OP replied that they have totally reworked their statement using all of this great advice, and will not be posting it per V50's recommendation...) :smile:
 
  • #15
berkeman said:
And the interesting thing is that if the OP does not reply with an update, we will not know if we were successful or not. If they are smart and heed V50's advice, they will not post an updated and much improved version since it could trigget the plagiarism detection issues that V50 raised. If they don't post an updated version, either they heeded V50's advice or have given up.

(of course the best outcome would be if the OP replied that they have totally reworked their statement using all of this great advice, and will not be posting it per V50's recommendation...) :smile:
yes I will not post the updated version. Thanks you all.
 
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  • #16
I would not update it. I would start over.
 
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  • #17
Vanadium 50 said:
1. "The Common App" is used for US undergraduate programs. If this is your goal, do not use confusing words like "college", no matter what it might mean in your home country. If that's not your goal, clearly state it and ask the Mentors to change the title.
2. Your opening is trite, boring and overdone.
3, Your goal is to gain admission. Every second should advance that goal. If it doesn't, remove it.
4, Brevity is the soul of wit.

As crass as this post may come across. It’s hard to disagree with. If his/her other metrics are good enough the essay may be more of a formality.

OP there’s a difference between Pop sci and actual science. It really sounds like you took a page out of Michio Kaku’s or Neil Tyson’s book. Who are both very trite in my opinion.

It almost sounds verbatim.If you spent a summer at the Perimeter institute then that will surely cast you in a good light.

I think you should talk more about that in depth.
 
  • #18
PhDeezNutz said:
If his/her other metrics are good enough the essay may be more of a formality.
While true - and maybe even tautologically so ("if the rest of the application is so strong that the essay won't matter, then the essay won't matter") I would not advise anyone to count on this. Especially an international student applying to US colleges, where the acceptance rate can be quite low.
 
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Related to Can Einstein's Equations Enable Time Travel?

1. What are Einstein's equations?

Einstein's equations, also known as the Einstein field equations, are a set of equations in the theory of general relativity that describe the relationship between the curvature of spacetime and the distribution of matter and energy within it.

2. Why are Einstein's equations important?

Einstein's equations are important because they provide a mathematical framework for understanding the fundamental nature of gravity and how it affects the behavior of matter and energy in the universe. They have been confirmed through numerous experiments and observations, and have been crucial in advancing our understanding of the cosmos.

3. How do Einstein's equations relate to time?

Einstein's equations are a fundamental part of the theory of general relativity, which includes the concept of spacetime - a four-dimensional continuum that combines space and time. The equations describe how the curvature of spacetime is affected by the presence of matter and energy, which in turn determines the flow of time in a given region.

4. Can anyone understand Einstein's equations?

While the mathematics involved in Einstein's equations can be complex, the concepts and principles behind them can be understood by anyone with a basic knowledge of physics and mathematics. There are also many resources available, such as books and online lectures, that can help make the equations more accessible to a wider audience.

5. How have Einstein's equations been tested and verified?

Einstein's equations have been tested and verified through a variety of experiments and observations, including the bending of light by massive objects, the precession of Mercury's orbit, and the detection of gravitational waves. These tests have consistently shown that the predictions made by the equations match with real-world observations, providing strong evidence for their validity.

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