Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How To Build a Time Machine

  1. Jan 18, 2008 #1
    I am currently doing research in an attempt to write a book. This thread constitutes part of that research, as I am exploring all avenues. Part of the plot includes time travel. (cliche' I know, but it fascinates me)

    So if you would be so kind, can anyone please try and help provide me with some realistic ideas of what it would take to actually assemble a working time machine, or portal, or just whatever it is you think might theoretically or otherwise work. As much detail as possible would be greatly appreciated.

    This is my first attempt at writing a book, and as you can probably see I'm not much of a writer. But everyone I've talked to about my idea seems to think it could be a compelling story if done properly. The story has been in my head for over 10 years and it's not going anywhere until I get it out of my system. I have to at least try.

    Obviously I couldn't use your words verbatim in the manuscript as that would be plagiarism, but if by some miracle it were to get published, each and every person who provided even the most minute amount of help will be properly credited in the book.

    If this forum is not the proper place for this, then I sincerely apologize.

    This process is going to be a long journey. I hope it continues to be as fun as it has the past couple months since I decided to do it.

    Thanks in advance to any and all that might decide to help.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2008 #2
    go ahead Mr. nice thing, well i guess if we can not build a real one ourselves, me must have at least the recipe to tell others how to do that............ hahaha..................
    well apart from that all u need to build a time machine is to have a lot of time, and yes this isn't funny, i mean u have to have the understanding what time itself is, then u must have an idea/theory to go on with it.............................plz watch the movie BACK TO THE FUTURE (all three parts). then tell me what u think......... : )
  4. Feb 1, 2008 #3
    a spaceship that travels faster than 3e8 m/s
  5. Feb 2, 2008 #4

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    For an excellent, non-technical reference, have a look at the second edition of https://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0387985719/ref=sib_dp_pt/002-1086803-0800840#reader-link" by Paul Nahin. This is a wonderful book that is written for the educated layperson.

    Physicist (and relativist) Kip Thorne wrote a foreword for the second edition of this book, and here's a quote from this foreword: "It now is not only the most complete documentation of time travel in science fiction; it is also the most thorough review of serious scientific literature on the subject - a review that, remarkably, is scientifically accurate and at the same time largely accessible to a broad audience of nonspecialists."
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  6. Feb 2, 2008 #5
    Well theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett is actually trying to build one. I recently read his book The Time Traveller which tells of his quest.

    You can see my review of this book at http://www.chronon.org/Science/The_Time_Traveller.html
  7. Feb 3, 2008 #6
    You might try posting this in the General and Special Relativity forum, as this is more their kind of thing.

    I think the construction of a time machine would be necessitated by how it operates. (and how it operates in your narrative)

    For example, can you be sure the time machine won't pop out 500 years ago, and 500 feet in the air? Maybe your time machine should be stuck in a helicopter. Does it need to withstand extremes of heat or cold? What about radiation? The first two would require some kind of environment control (I assume for people inside) and the third wouldn't need huge lead shielding, but something like skin of the Apollo missions.

    Of course, you need to pick your voodoo science explanation for how the thing works. Does it achieve super speed, ala Back to the Future? Maybe some kind of high-energy device like Frankenstein's lab. Maybe it's unexplained future technology so you can treat it like a magic box. A neat image that comes to mind is a giant rail gun that shoots a pod out into the upper atmosphere, there's a flash of light, and POOF! This combines both the super speed AND high-energy meme.
  8. Feb 4, 2008 #7
    rub your hands together and reach 1.21 jigawatts of energy
  9. Feb 4, 2008 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    And not forgetting the main difficulty of practical time travel - finding a dress shop that keeps the same dummy in the window for 100 years.
  10. Feb 4, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Something along the lines of the movie 'Event Horizon'.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook