Einstein on Time Travel

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity published in 1905 theoretically speculated that traveling close to the speed of light (300,000,000 meters per second) would physically alter time by dilating it.

Even before the advent of modern physics established by Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein and many more in the opening decade of the 20th Century, the idea of time travel had already been playing in the minds of notable science fiction writers lead prominently by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells brilliantly chronicled the idea and possibility of time travel. He argued that time is a dimension exactly identical to the three dimensional space we are moving back and forth and up and down in our real world, thus possibly in time- forward and backward travel. Well’s succeeded to create a compelling fiction of time travel on the strength of this argument, but a plain science fiction writer he was and without proper background in the natural sciences, his book did not offer any sort of scientific support to his idea.

As far as science history is concern, Albert Einstein did not mention reading Well’s; in fact he did not like science fiction. But, his theory would later provide a compelling evidence of the theoretical possibility of time travel, described by Well’s short novel.

His Special Theory of Relativity published in 1905, theoretically speculated that traveling close to the speed of light (300,000,000 meters per second) would physically alter time by dilating it. Any relativistic traveler would find his time running slowly than any one at rest on earth. The effect of which when he landed, would be himself too distant in the future. The people his age when he left would have aged a couple of decades his senior. This seeming backward travel in time was never been confirmed yet by any actual relativistic traveler as the spacecraft that could travel close to the speed of light remains a technological marvel, but, Einstein’s prediction of time running slower has been experimentally confirmed.

In 1916, General Theory of Relativity was published as an extension of the Special Theory published in 1905 to include gravity. One of the tenets of the new theory was the physical and mathematical underpinnings of time being the fourth dimension in addition to the common three dimensional space where we are moving in the real world up and down or forward and backward.Thus, laying ground to Well’s pioneering and fictional idea that one may travel forward and backward in time; up and down as well, since time and the ordinary space we live and move were the same thing according to the new theory. Without question, General Relativity was extremely effective and successful in explaining previously unexplained natural phenomena. But, Einstein himself being completely aware that not all consequences of a scientific theory is valid, he passed way in 1955 far from being convinced of time travel in factual occurrence.

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35 Responses to “Einstein on Time Travel”
  1. nobert soloria bermosa Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 9:25 am

    educating and interesting,thanks for this nice article


  2. Mystical Whitewolf Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 9:38 am

    A great article Unofre. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are two of my favorite authors and what can I say about Albert Einstein, that others such as yourself has not been able to say better. You have a great way of bringing together three great men of the 20th century. Well, done on this article my friend. I will be sure to blog this one to my stumble site.


  3. Unofre Pili Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Thank you Nobert and Mystical.


  4. the quail Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Namaste,Unofre, This is indeed a Super Write and should be in the “Top Ten”. Its very educated and also right on target! Way to go! More More More.

    Someday we will talk of time travel, demonsional worm holes and bending the fabric of time. Thinking outside the box is a speciality of mine. I love your article! It brings to life old memories. Again, Well done!!


  5. Unofre Pili Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Thanks mike. Good to know that you too, read and like such ideas of time travel.


  6. Rachel Faye Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Hi Unofre

    ….evidence of the theoretical possibility of time travel… wow! I wonder…

    Thank you for this great article.


  7. Juancav Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Thanks Unofre, send this article, and step CONGRATULATION for your exhibition, which sets out the basic theory, which would travel trough time, I personally believe that the celestial gravity attached to time we know, and as close to travel through time, would be the thought.Go on forward, please.


  8. RJ Chamberlain Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Great piece Unofre. Time travel is such a mystery and for it to become a reality is mind blowing. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


  9. ramts Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Good article on time trave. Thanks for sharing.


  10. william rodriguez II Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Very informative article!Thanks for sharing.


  11. Unofre Pili Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Thank you everyone.


  12. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On July 7, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Time travel is so facinating.I can’t believe it will ever be possible but it is most interesting to think about and who knows what the future holds?


  13. desmonrock21 Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 4:37 am

    impossible


  14. louie jerome Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 6:32 am

    A fascinating subject and I believe it will one day be possible. There was a time when sceptics said it was impossible to fly to the moon!


  15. s hayes Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Loved the article – time travel is a mind blowing concept, if you stand in one point and stare out at the universe through a telescope, you are effectively looking back in time. The further to object is away, the furher back in time you see.
    Top Subject – well written


  16. desmonrock21 Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I’m telling it is so impossible. Even you have a machine travels like a warp, or even you turn the earths rotation or even you entered a kind of three dimensional what the! C’mon men! we can’t turn back the time! It is the same time! every one seconds pass by!


  17. Hein Marais Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Great Article.


  18. Leo Reyes Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Great article.


  19. Juliane Elliott Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I enjoyed this interesting piece.


  20. Unofre Pili Says...

    On July 8, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you s hayes, Ruby, louie demosrock, Hein, Leo and Juline; your comments are much appreciated.


  21. Tinactin Says...

    On July 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    General Relativity didn’t explain time so much as it explained it _away_. The reason that Einstein considered space and time to be one thing was because time is derived from space, not separate from it. Just like weight is a measurement of the effect of gravity on matter, time is a measurement of the effect of movement on matter. Time is only a measurement of movement–for example, the SI second is defined as “the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.” (Wikipedia) So, once one understands that time doesn’t exist as it’s own entity, one can also understand that it is impossible to travel through time. In order to travel backward in “time,” whatever movements defined moving forward in time must be reversed.


  22. tracy sardelli Says...

    On July 12, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    excellent article, really interesting. thank you for sharing


  23. salvatore Says...

    On July 12, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    great article. thanks.


  24. R J Evans Says...

    On July 15, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Excellent article – thanks for sharing


  25. Sterling Says...

    On July 17, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks, Tinactin, for being sane and comprehensible.


  26. Darlene McFarlane Says...

    On July 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Very interesting material, Unofre. A fascinating subject for sure.


  27. Steve Says...

    On July 29, 2008 at 8:10 am

    The first time I’ve seen a grocer’s apostrophe inserted into an author’s name. It’s “Wells” (as you mostly said), not “Well’s”.


  28. Unofre Pili Says...

    On July 29, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Thank you Steve, for pointing it out. I know it to be honest but I really got careless,repeating the mistake a number of times as if I’m completely ignorant of it.


  29. PedanticBoffin Says...

    On August 8, 2008 at 6:04 am

    For those interested the speed of light (in a vacuum) is a universal constant, and its value is 299,792,458 m/s exactly. The metre is an SI unit defined by the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds.


  30. Unofre Pili Says...

    On August 18, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Thanks everyone in case you like my other science-related articles,
    feel free to visit
    http://www.scienceray.com/writers/Unofre%20Pili.34346

    Thanks,
    Unofre


  31. bob Says...

    On September 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    “.Thus, laying ground to Well’s pioneering and fictional idea that one may travel forward and backward in time; up and down as well, since time and the ordinary space we live and move were the same thing according to the new theory.”

    That’s total crap. Time is an additional dimension *on top of* the 3 space dimensions we are all familiar with (of which forwards and backwards, and left and right constitute 2), they aren’t the same thing at all, and as there is only one time dimension there’s no “left and right” either.


  32. bob Says...

    On September 1, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    sorry, I mean up and down not left and right


  33. T. G. Says...

    On February 2, 2011 at 2:30 am

    However, it has been speculated that if one could capture a tiny wormhole (where space has bent back on itself) from space and bring it back to earth, then one could move forward in time by stepping into it. Since a wormhole gives you a shorter distance and time to travel.


  34. j Says...

    On October 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Time travel is impossible. Since we could theoretically travel back only to the point time travel was invented, and we can travel forward on from the time it is invented we can do neither, since we are going to blow the place up before either has come to be.


  35. j Says...

    On October 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Which by the way is a good thing, since we sure didnt get it right this time so its time to hit the reset button.


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