As we get closer to the grand opening of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, it seems the predictions as to what we might get from the high energy particle accelerator are becoming more complex and outlandish. Not only could the LHC generate enough energy to create particles that exist in other dimensions, it may also produce “unparticles“, a possible source for dark matter. Now, the energy may be so focused that even the fabric of space-time may be pulled apart to create a wormhole, not to a different place, but a different time. Also, if there are any time travellers out there, we are most likely to see them in a few weeks…
If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Actually it’s a trick question: you couldn’t travel back in time unless there was a time “machine” already built in the past. The universe’s very first time traveller would therefore only be able to travel back to when the machine he/she was using was built. This is one restriction that puts pay to those romantic ideas that we could travel back in time to see the dinosaurs; there were no time machines back then (that we know of), so nothing to travel back to. And until we create a time machine, we won’t be seeing any travelers any time soon.
However, Prof Irina Aref’eva and Dr Igor Volovich, mathematical physicists at the Steklov Mathematical Institute in Moscow believe the energies generated by the subatomic collisions in the LHC may be powerful enough to rip space-time itself, spawning wormholes. A wormhole not only has the ability to take a shortcut between two positions in space, it can also take a shortcut between two positions in time. So, the LHC could be the first ever “time machine”, providing future time travelers with a documented time and place where a wormhole “opened up” into our time-line. This year could therefore be “Year Zero”, the base year by which time travel is limited to.
Relativity doesn’t dispute this idea, but the likelihood of a person passing through time is slim-to-impossible when the dimensions of a possible wormhole will be at the sub-atomic level at best and it would only be open for a brief moment. Testing for the presence of a man-made wormhole would be difficult even if we knew what we were looking for (perhaps a small loss in energy during collision, as energy escapes through the wormhole?).
As if that didn’t discourage you from hoping to use wormholes for time travel, Dr Brian Cox of the University of Manchester says: “The energies of billions of cosmic rays that have been hitting the Earth’s atmosphere for five billion years far exceed those we will create at the LHC, so by this logic time travellers should be here already.” As far as we know, they’re not.