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I am here but i am also over there, can this be?

  1. Jul 2, 2003 #1
    Heres a nice question for everyone probably gonna be worded really badly.

    Do you think it would be against a fundamental law of the Universe to have a paricle in 2 different places at the same point in time?

    Basically i am asking if you think that time travel is possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2003 #2
    Maybe, not in a back to the future way tho....
  4. Jul 2, 2003 #3


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    Greetings Andy !
    An important thing for you to understand is that Special
    Relativity has removed absolute simultainity from the
    physical vocabulary. Simultainity is relative, just like time

    What this means is that you can observe the "same" particle
    in two different places at the "same" time if the light or
    other type of influence that you use to observe the particle
    traveled towards you for different time periods relative to you
    (at c - the speed of light).

    Moving on to Quantum Mechanics two more things can be said:
    First of all, in QM we have wave-particles. This means that
    a particle is not a point in space. The WF that discribes
    the particles can be spread over huge distances and into
    separate parts. Of course, when you observe = interact with the
    particle you only see it in one particuilar place.

    Second, according to QM it is impossible to select an individual
    particle for observation the same way it is impossible to
    separate individual waves from the sea. So, you can't
    really know for certain that you're observing the "same"

    Live long and prosper.
  5. Jul 2, 2003 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Re: I am here but i am also over there, can this be?

    Actually, I don't think this is quite true. Suppose there were two points in the trajectory of a particle with the retarded times t1 and t2 - the times when the object was at points r1 and r2 wrt the observer. Then r1 = c(t-t1) and r2 = c(t-t2). t is the time at which we observe the object in two different places.
    Then r1 - r2 = c(t1-t1). So the average velocity of the object would have to be [r1-r2]/[t1-t2] = c Since no object is travelling with an average velocity of c, we can never view an object in two places at once.

    However, we are attempting [as I vaguely understand it] to collapse the wave function for a "single particle" in two quantum states. By this it is supposed that the same "particle" will exist in two places at once. I had heard that the folks at the University of Colorado had done this. I have looked for this and was unable to find the report. I recently heard Kaku comment on this experiment. He said that we have not been able to do this yet.
  6. Jul 2, 2003 #5
    No - time travel is impossible. Always and forever.
  7. Jul 2, 2003 #6
    Is it now? Why and how?

    Time travel to, say the future, happens all the time. Time travel to the past is not expressly forbidden either (it raises a lot of logical paradoxes sure). But when you state that it is impossible, back it up!
  8. Jul 2, 2003 #7
    And to address the question: Its been answered. Quantum physics prohibits it.
  9. Jul 2, 2003 #8
    Proving that time travel is impossible is simple. It doesn't need any physics.

    Time has no quality of measurement. To say one is traveling describes physical movement - in physical dimensions. Time cannot be traveled, the word doesn't even compute into a non-spatial dimension.
  10. Jul 3, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    If this is fundamentally true, then what are the folks at the University of Colorado doing?
  11. Jul 3, 2003 #10

    What they're doing isn't important - what is important is that they are not doing this.
  12. Jul 3, 2003 #11
    I'm sure they are doing a lot of things. You'll have to be more specific before we can clarify anything.
  13. Jul 3, 2003 #12


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    Re: Re: Re: I am here but i am also over there, can this be?

    What ?! It appears to me that you fail to take GR into
    account. It is possible that the light coming from one event
    has been "caught up in traffic", the same way you observe
    gravitational lensing of objects seeing them at different time
    periods all together.
    What ?! I was providing Andy with some general background from QM
    to adress the issue of the "same" particle and what
    QM says particles really are. I did not talk about collapsing
    the WF in different places or something. Also, I've never
    heard of such attempts at all, if you can provide a relevant
    link on this subject I would appreciate it (that's really weird).

    (btw, purhaps that is possible but with gravity waves used
    as detectors, I have a thread on this in Theo. Physics and
    I'd wish someone would finally seriously answer it or at
    least provides a good physicly back-uped guess.)

    Live long and prosper.
  14. Jul 3, 2003 #13

    I'd say hours, minutes and seconds are particularly measurable. As was stated earlier, we are traveling through time constantly. The question is can we go in a different 'time direction'. As far as I've seen, there is no literature that shows it as an impossibility. Now, what happenes once you get back there...thats a whole slew of fun discussions.
  15. Jul 3, 2003 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Re: Re: Re: I am here but i am also over there, can this be?

    aaaaahhhh. You are correct oh great one. In fact, I just now thought of some double images of stars that have been seen lensing around in deep space. Sorry, I was in SR mode.

    I know that I have the basic story correct. Exactly how this is supposed to work is out of my league [beyond arm waving anyway]. As I said, I have been unable to find information about the initial reports that I heard, perhaps a few years ago now, but since Kaku just mentioned this about a week ago, it is apparantly still an active area of research. I will try to find something.

    As for electrons, they all look alike to me.

    Of course, "the electron is not as simple as it looks".
    ---(William) Lawrence Bragg, British Physicist(1890-1971)
  16. Jul 3, 2003 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    However it would seem that you state opinions as if they were facts. Clearly some very intelligent people don't think this issue is resolved. How many physicists are on your research team?
  17. Jul 3, 2003 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Then what detemines the frequency of a Cesium clock? Why does it change frequencies with it's state of motion? Why is it's frequency affected by gravity. What is the mechanism for these changes?
  18. Jul 3, 2003 #17
    OK thanks for all of the replies but i guess im gonna have to a bit more blunt with this, would it be possible for me to go backwards in time to meet myself but more importantly to interact with myself?
  19. Jul 3, 2003 #18

    Nope. hours and minutes are not a measurement of the time dimensional.

    Also - the deal with people even thinking at all that time travel is possible is just because they're taking something they understand (space) and implying that something they don't understand (time) has similiar qualities.

    Time does not travel, there is no measurement of time, it has no directions, no level, no quality - these are all just incorrect implications....
  20. Jul 3, 2003 #19
    I don't see how you can assert that our 'telling' time isn't a measurement of 'Time'. Hours, seconds and minutes are just as arbitrary as meters and yards, yet you have no problem with that.

    Further more, I think you're making too big a distinction between Time and Space. The more we learn about it, the more the differences between the two are slurred.

    I cannot accept your flat denials of a concept yet unknown to us without some kind of scientific basis. My understanding of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics dictates to me that time travel is not explicitly forbidden. Therefore it is till possible to theorize to that effect.

    I mean, let's look at the most basic principle of Time. Now, we are in the present. 10 minutes from now, we will be in the future, which with then be the present (that was great fun to type). If that's not traveling in time, what is it? That's no different than saying "First we were at 2m, and now we are at 4m. We have traveled".

    Can you argue scientifically that they are fundamentally different? Other than it just seems harder to reverse the direction of movement in Time.
  21. Jul 3, 2003 #20

    Your example makes no sense.

    Being at time zero and then time 10 is moving THROUGH TIME (so you say).

    and then you say "first we are at 2m, and now ere at 4m".

    That's not moving through space - it's moving through time and space.

    You failed to isolate movement through space.

    And you can't possibly isolate it.
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