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Screenwriter pleading for help...

  1. Nov 27, 2015 #1
    Hi guys,
    Please forgive my complete and utter lack of even basic physics in advance. I'm a grad student working on a film currently that deals slightly with quantum entanglement. Not that it matters to the general public, but I'd like to get as close to reality as I possibly can as it pertains to the science.
    In the film a physicist has developed the ability to send very small objects (pencil, button, etc) into the future but only by a matter of minutes (let's say 10) and then the button reappears. Keeping in mind that this is a film, what is the most plausible (wink) way that this could actually happen and how could you explain it? I realize sending things back in time is completely out of realm of possibility currently, but I was told the above scenario isn't THAT far off.
    Thank you, again, for humoring this intrusion.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2015 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Alas for your story, sending something into the future is equally as implausible as sending it into the past.

    Unless you count the idea that everything is moving into the future at one second per second. But that doesn't help you.
     
  4. Nov 28, 2015 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Watch the 1960 George Pal film "The Time Machine". Note that there is essentially no description of how the machine works. Or rather, there is enough description of how it works to cover the plot points, but virtually no description of why it works.
     
  5. Nov 28, 2015 #4

    Drakkith

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    You were told wrong. It is essentially as impossible as traveling backwards in time as far as current science knows.
     
  6. Nov 30, 2015 #5
    Don't forget that as you move through time, you move through space. Ten minutes from now, you've spun with the planet, the planet's moved around the sun, and the sun's move around the galaxy.

    As for the physics: moving forwards in time is not possible, you can't just jump from one location in time to another, but we can fudge the physics a little bit to make it work. Here's my idea: In the future, we've figured out how to curve spacetime and produce localized and discrete warp bubbles (just curving of spacetime.) Your object can be surrounded in a bubble of extreme time dilation. Now your object that's "transported to the future" isn't really moved to the future, it's just put in a kind of time freeze. So when the bubble breaks and it re-enters the normally curved spacetime, it'll be as though it just jumped through time. To an outside observer, the object will appear to have vanished because with extreme time dilation also comes extreme space contraction.

    The physics is actually mathematically valid: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive It does require something called negative energy density, however, which probably isn't real.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  7. Nov 30, 2015 #6

    DHF

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    I like Newjerseyrunner's idea, keep in mind however that it still wont allow the transported objects to return to the "present". This is because in order for the object to return to the "present" it needs to travel back in time from its relative position in the "future".

    Another thing to consider is that by moving an object through time by effecting dilation, you will also be effecting its position in space. As others have noted, the Earth spins at a certain speed, orbits the Sun at a certain speed, the Sun in turn orbits the galactic center at a certin speed. by pushing an object out of its present place in time, when it re-enters the "proper" time frame, it will be in the place where it started, while everything else will have moved through space. Even a few seconds out of time can transport an object tremendous distances because the Earth is Orbiting at about 18 miles a second.

    Just a few things to consider.
     
  8. Nov 30, 2015 #7

    DaveC426913

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    Actually, this is a bigger issuer than you mention, and pretty much eliminates any popular form of time travel we've conceived of.

    Einsteins' relativity applies here as everywhere. There is no way to state that the Earth is moving through space, or even that the sun is moving through space. As far as we are concerned, we are stationary, and it is the rest of the universe is moving past us.

    So how can one determine even in principle where one should reappear?
     
  9. Nov 30, 2015 #8

    DHF

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    Exactly. Even if you could figure out how to move something through time in that fashion, it would be pointless because there is no way to make use of it. Short of having said device mounted on-board a space ship I suppose.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  10. Nov 30, 2015 #9
    I would hypothesize that if we had fine enough control over the fabric of space-time to temporarily freeze an object in time, we could probably figure out how to move it with us at the same time. The first run would probably dilate time by a fraction of a percent for a fraction of a second. The Alcubierre drive mathematically moves through space, I see no reason that it can't be used to move the time dilation bubble by making it asymmetric. Is there something I'm missing that makes a warp field's trajectory unpredictable? Or is the math simply too much for our puny human brains? The latter is solvable with futuristic computers, there would be a lot of variables, but I see no reason it's impossible.

    @tdimes this math comes out of general relativity, not quantum physics. Entanglement doesn't matter in the idea I proposed.
     
  11. Nov 30, 2015 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Spaceship doesn't make problem go away. It's equivalent to a tiny planet. Meaningless to say it is moving or stationary, except relative to some arbitrary reference.

    I'm not actually saying that this, in-and-of-itself, makes time travel impossible, simply that any plausible time travel will have to take into account spacetime.
     
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