Skip to main content

Science Says: Time Travel is Impossible

It Goes Ding When There's Stuff

Yes, this is the sobering news out of science this morning…

(Yes, we like to think of Science as a single, massive edifice that sends a messenger out of the gates every few years or so maintain a slight contact with the outside world, and we don’t know if that’s more a reference to Anathem or Portal.)

…that a single photon cannot be caused to move faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.

About ten years ago, scientists discovered “superluminal — or faster-than-light — propagation of optical pulses in some specific medium.” And though this was later found to be something of an optical illusion, it was thought that, contrary to Einstein’s expectations, a single photon still might be able to break that record of 299,792,458 meteres per second, and subsequent technologies based on that discovery might allow some form of time travel (into the future, at least).

And so Du Shengwang’s Hong Kong University of Science and Technology research team set out to measure the ultimate speed of a single photon, and found that it was, indeed, not faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, ruling out at least this one theoretical path to the creation of time travel.

But we can find another! Time is just a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, right? Why else would me and my buddy have saved science if not for this?

Well, at least China has less to worry about.

(via Gizmodo.)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.