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Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Solution to the Time Travel Paradox

It is so simple and works so well in the currently known scientific theories. I went to a talk about faster-than-light travel as a sci fi trope, and the scientists on the panel all said it was impossible, while the writers on the panel said it is useful as a story-telling device. I asked a question about dealing with time-travel (backward) and the paradox that ensues as a storytelling device and the many different approaches to resolve the difficulty. One of the panelist (a very nice Italian guy who brought his wife to the convention) recommended a book by David Gerrold titled "The Man Who Folded Himself" (not a spoof of Heinlein's "All You Zombies") who used the premise elegantly. I'll have to check it out.

One of the benefits of putting up one's hand during a talk is that others in the audience can hear you too. A sci fi fan with an education in physics in the audience, John Ashmead, stopped me after the talk and told me about his research on quantum physicists' work that has given a theoretically sound solution to the time-travel paradox. When a particle is sent back in time with an intervention to create a paradox, they have shown with calculations, the paradox will cancel each other out and therefore will not occur. This calculation is consistent with all current quantum physics and relativity, including the theory of "block time" (aka, block universe or eternalism). Simple. Depressing. Probably true.

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