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Objections to Previous Time Traveler's Conventions Needed

  1. Jul 24, 2016 #1
    I run a Maker group for teens at the Pensacola MESS Hall. They have decided to host a time-traveler's convention along the lines of the one hosted at MIT and by Stephen Hawking.

    The planning committee is looking to improve on previous design flaws in the other conventions. (Dr. Who raised a few...) Can you help us out by listing some things the kids should consider in their design of the invitation, its transmission and the way time travel will be proven?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Jul 24, 2016 #3
    Yes, sorry!

    So, around 2005, a student at MIT read a comic where the author noted that a time traveler's convention only needed to happen once. This gave him the idea to host one. So, they set up such a convention in a dorm room in East Campus. They told no one until after the convention, when an invitation was issued. For this invitation, the students printed out information about the time and date of the convention on acid-free paper and inserted them into old books-- thinking these would be preserved into the future.

    In 2009, Stephen Hawking did the same thing. A link to an image of his invitation can be found here. He published his invitation very widely in the media. Still, nobody showed.

    I haven't seen the episode, but one of my teens said that Dr. Who once commented about not showing up to one of these and explained why.

    My teens are focused on the idea that neither of these invitations would have survived in a post-apocalyptic world and that time travel may come very far in the future-- after maybe more than one post-apocalyptic period. And, they also want to post information about the convention before it happens and not after (so that we can have a pizza party and do a quantum eraser experiment as a little tiny version of time travel). So, they also have the problem of how the time travelers will prove that they are really from the future, since we will preannounce the convention.

    Many thanks!
  5. Jul 25, 2016 #4
    How about carving them into stone? NOT "some place that's likely to be preserved", but below the Presidents at Mt. Rushmore and that huge statue of Geronimo.
  6. Jul 25, 2016 #5
    Hmm. We are in the Florida Panhandle. Written in stone, I think I can do. But, getting it to Rushmore would be hard. We are planning this event IRL but figured that sci fi writers and fans would be our best advisers.
  7. Jul 25, 2016 #6
    How about a obelisk in the local area then? Maybe in a local park? The idea is to have a fairly durable and not easily movable object that will be there in the future. Cemeteries and parks are good locations for such things. We have a sculpture park in St. Louis where such an item would be welcomed, I think.
  8. Jul 25, 2016 #7
    Nice! That I think I can pull off. We are planning to get our local Tourism Board involved to promote it. So, they might be able to help find a location.

    Having been to East Campus Dorm at MIT, I would definitely rather go to a Time Traveler's Convention with nice beaches. But, I have to admit, I would go to Hawking's if I had to choose. Just to see the look on his face.

    Of course, as a Time Traveler, you don't have to choose just one. You could go to all of them.
  9. Jul 25, 2016 #8


    Staff: Mentor

    How about a message at the bottom of the ocean or on the moon?
  10. Jul 25, 2016 #9
    You could get a local tombstone maker or granite dealer to donate the raw materials in exchange for a small "Granite courtesy of" plaque, I think. The tombstone people could carve your message. Do a Go Fund Me for ducats if needed?
  11. Jul 25, 2016 #10
    Bottom of the ocean, we can do. I think we can get help from an oil rig in LA. Has to be achievable IRL. We are actually holding the convention, not just writing about.
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