back to article Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'

Spurs-a-jingle boffins in America say that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), most puissant matter-rending machine ever assembled by humanity, may also turn out to be the first time machine ever built. According to the physicists' calculations, instruments at the mighty particle-smasher may soon detect signs of "singlets" which it …

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Black Helicopters

Who's been reading ....

.... Robert Rankin's 'Fandom Of The Operator'?

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MrT
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Or James Blish...

... he wrote a short story first published in 1954 called "Beep" that later appeared in a collection called "Galactic Cluster" - basic premise was that a device built to communicate instantly across huge distances in space also communicated across time, compressing every message ever sent into an initial burst of sound added by the receiving machine - slow down the beep and listen to all those future messages. Blish expanded "Beep" into "The Quincunx of Time" in 1973.

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You don't need a multi billion pound machine to send messages to the future

Simply write it down on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place.

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Headmaster

*groan*

So basically, a while back when FlashForward was perceived to be a going concern as a television show (never mind that not only was the show a load of bollocks, but the book it was based on was also a load of bollocks), someone either as a joke or in deadly seriousness put through a research proposal concerning the chances of the events depicted in the show (or events somewhat like them) actually happening in reality. This proposal somehow got approved, possibly by an idiot who thought that it was relevant. The proposer promptly spent whatever money s/he'd asked for on beer, and spent quite a while having a jolly good laugh.

Presumably this press release came about when s/he realised s/he would have to do *something* to justify actually having received the money...

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Actually

It's not as "out-there" as it sounds, and its a very limited phenomenon, nothing close to that claptrap in the book (but that's the point of most sci-fi books, to be fun to read using science as a plot element, but not perfectly accurate).

If we take quantum physics as an example (and we *know* that works, or you wouldn't have computers as fast as you've got now, and just about every satellite would crash into the ground, and your GPS would be so inaccurate as to be useless) - it's been theorised and well-known for some time that quantum mechanics is incredibly complicated and counter-intuitive despite never breaking its own "laws". There are quantum particles, that "borrow "energy from their future selves. I.e. they suddenly get a ton of energy from nowhere, do something with it and then later "give it back". It works out only if you consider time to be merely a dimension that such particles can traverse.

Breaks all the laws of Newtonian physics but we know that most of them aren't representative of the universe anyway (Newtonian physics only works on a large scale, quantum physics only works on a small scale, somewhere we hope there's a theory that can explain all scales without such inherent contradictions). Yeah, you can guess at where a planet will orbit but in terms of space-bending tricks near black holes and tiny-scale stuff, Newtonian physics is pretty useless.

Quantum stuff is *weird* when you start getting into the complications of it. It's not just space-bending stuff but time-bending too. And "Brane theory" is an even more complicated way to try to unite most physical theories (i.e. it fully accepts quantum's implicatons and merely tries to find a single way to unite that with other theories).

So even quantum physics, that stuff we can teach first-years in university, or even younger if you're a good teacher and ignore the curriculum, has stuff we can't easily explain without considering "time travel" to be possible. There's just an ENORMOUS difference between a quantum particle borrowing energy from itself in the future and people going back in time and punching Shakespeare ("That's for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years!"). And that's exactly what the article says too.

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GPS and Satellites

Not quite sure how quantum physics affects GPS (which have a minor issue to do with relativity) or satellites.

I'll give you computing though.

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Quantum

If you don't take account of quantum effects, your atomic clock (which each GPS satellite in the constellation has, usually caesium) won't be accurate enough to do GPS with. Thus you need to understand quantum physics to effectively even HAVE working GPS.

Similarly, quantum effects have knock-on effect on satellite orbit decay and even things as "commonplace" as MRI scanners. It doesn't mean you *can't* do them, it just means that without quantum knowledge put to work, those things are more difficult, more expensive and more likely to not exist.

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@Les Dowling

"borrow "energy from their future selves. " So the LHC is issuing credit cards to subatomic particles now!

Still, something along these lines might be used to lower our present gas and electric bills against the time when the bills fall due, and we've already passed on.

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Boffin

I would like to theorise ...

...that success in this endeavour is not measured by waiting for the LHC staff to make an announcement, but when you see said staff driving super cars, privately piloted helicopters, mansions in several countries, etc., etc., then they may, indeed, be able to transmit the results of gambling events, back in time to themselves.

At that point, I think we'll know they've achieved something ... and I will be very glad I'm not in the betting business.

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@Michelle Knight

Yeah, they've managed to asymptotically acquire the limit of available available grants.

Too bad string theorists can't actually predict anything new!

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An established argument and an observation

Time travel is impossible because we would have met tourists from the future. The same logic should apply to messages from the future. We are still waiting.

Whatever is received from the future cannot change what happens because the source is a result of the message back. There is no worry about killing your father. Back to the Future was wrong.

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M7S
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@ Alan Firminger

"Time travel is impossible because we would have met tourists from the future"

You never know..."Behold the Man" by Michael Moorcock.

Hang on, the vicar's outside. I'll be right ba

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Anonymous Coward

re: we would have met tourists from the future.

In some of the infinite parallel universes we already have, while in others we never evolved beyond amoebae.

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Happy

FTW

Publish the methods that you are using to look for future data, presumably something like how radio hams can transmit very low poer low speed comms. keep tyring new ways until you get usefull loto data back, or run out of research grants. Simple really

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Go

We might well have been visited by extratemporals...

...come back to grab missing items before they got lost. Somewhere in the future is the score of Sibelius' 8th Symphony, snatched from Ainola (Sibelius' cottage in the country) in a well-planned operation. OK so the guy was caught, but was though to be an ordinary burglar, and has presumably gone back where he came from carrying the priceless manuscript with him.

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re: tourists from the future

kind of like, um, children ?

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Re: re: we would have met tourists from the future

We've only probably met them, this universe is the one that's most probable so it's the one we see. Probably.

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Boffin

Somewhat reminiscent of...

...Greg Benford's novel "Timescape": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timescape

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Anonymous Coward

My thoughts exactly

hopefully our own future will have rather better news to report

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send messages to the past or future

Any fool can send messages to the future. The time capsule I created in my childhood, encouraged by Blue Peter should still be under the pond in the garden of my parents old house, awaiting discovery.

Sending messages back in time though... good skills. Lottery numbers please, future me!

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Joke

Incredible!

Who knows, with the thing cranked to full power it could be supposed that it suddenly becomes a giant intergalctic telephone. It'd be typical that the first alien call would be from some alien in betelgeuse wondering if we'd like to increase our singlet bandwidth.

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Anonymous Coward

"our grasp on the notion is tenuous at best"

"our grasp on reality is tenuous at best.

Fixed !

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Easy to prove?

Once we've detected the singlets, we just leave a long-standing note (a la Doc Brown) saying when we started detecting them and what we expect a message to look like and, assuming one day we can create and direct singlets, we should start seeing messages. No?

IANAPhysicist, but this seems to fall under Hawking's observation about never having met a time traveller.

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Alert

The end of Eternity

Hope it is near.....

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WTF?

Explosion

If they don't detect any Higgs singlets, does that suggest that at some point in the near future the LHC is going to blow up and destroy the universe before it gets a chance to send any singlets back in time?

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Hello?

I'm in the 21st Century.

I SAID, I'M IN THE 21ST CENTURY!

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NO...

...IT'S RUBBISH!

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I find this time-bending communications a bit hard to believe...

If we'll invent something that allows one in the future to communicate with one in the past, why haven't we got that message already?

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Not looking for them

See title.

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We probably have.....

But it arrived in someone's spam folder and deleted after 30 days.

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First time-phone message

Hello Zir, my name is .... John. I'm doing a lifestyle survey, could you please spend a few minutes answering some questions?

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Alert

I'm not an expert but.....

Assuming these singlets were produced, would the present day LHC not be required to be in the extact point in space that the future singlet generating LHC would be in, in order to detect them?

Since, the earth, solar sytem, galaxy etc are moving at a fair old lick across the universe (~1.3 million miles per hour ), would these singlets from the future not just appear somewhere in space in our time frame as the future LHC that generated them would be well away from where the present day LHC is to detect them?

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interesting

This is a thought i always had. To receive signals from the future we'd have to either wait for the planet to do a full galactical rotation (or universal if the galaxy itself moves around as well)

Which seems unlikely to ever be useful to anyone, we need to set up satellites or something to capture and resend :p

Admittedly this is all assuming that the signal travelling backwards isn't attached through gravity and other forces like we are but in reverse as it travels back.

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Anonymous Coward

re: just appear somewhere in space

They can appear absolutely anywhere in space and time, because they're not restricted to four dimensions in the way that we are when we perceive space and time in terms of the familiar world. When moving around we can only go from where we are to an immediately adjacent space, but singlets can apparently use the snakes and ladders as well. I'm not sure how they'd go about establishing a frame of reference for aiming them though.

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Boffin

No.

No.

There is no single, definitive reference frame. You can say that as seen from the galactic core, we are moving very rapidly, but that's no more valid than us saying that we are still and the galactic core is moving very fast. The same applies to saying that our galaxy is moving fast through the local group - we humans think in terms of heirarchies and so it is easiest for us to think of the bigger object as a static background with smaller stuff zooming around inside - but particles don't think that way.

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we are moving!

But we are moving throught the universe. The cosmic background radiation is commonly used as a reference point which we are moving relative too.

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Thrice Upon a Time

This was the subject of a novel by James P. Hogan, called "Thrice Upon a Time". Interesting read, as is all of Hogan's stuff.

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Boffin

Ansible?

The one thing that could greatly benefit from this is interplanetary communications. Want to send data to/from Mars? Send the message *back in time* for the exact amount of time it takes for the message to reach Mars. It will be instant communication!

Of course, someone listening in between would then have the awkward situation of hearing transmissions that have not been transmitted yet... mind-boggling paradox theories result!

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Anonymous Coward

I'm intrigued

who do you want to call ??

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Coat

title

I'm intrigued → #

Posted Wednesday 16th March 2011 19:54 GMT

In Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'

who do you want to call ??

GHOSTBUSTERS ... who else ?? ...

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Terminator

Paradoxes, moi?

This communication with the past being limited to the earliest moment in our future when this particle is, perhaps, discovered and the necessary communications devices are, perhaps, developed. This, for the very simple reason that no-one except someone in our future would (with the aforementioned kit) be able to recieve any messages from someone who had not yet developed the aforementioned kit...........are you still with me? In short this past that could be communicated with must by definition post-date the first point in time when this kit is developed, or something like that. Oh bollocks I need a drink.

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WTF?

Odd...

...and here I'd been led to believe that virtual particles were possible evidence of time having dimensional aspects. No 5th required...but rather a little something else.

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Terminator

Time Travel is impossible because...

...because seen from outside the universe has a single fixed amount of Mass/Energy that can never change. If even a single particle were to travel backwards in time from time T2 to time T1 then the amount of Mass/Energy in the universe would increase because there would be two copies of the Mass/Energy of that particle in existance between those 2 times.

To an outside observer the Mass/Energy in the universe would be seen to have increased during the interval T1-->T2 and then drop back to normal again. It would never be less than it had been so where did that extra Mass/Energy come from?

(I long ago read "The Theory and Practice of Time Travel" by Larry Niven)

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Boffin

Not necessarily

It could absorb a load of energy when it enters the past, and emit a load when it starts to travel backwards in time.

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Wrong

You missed the part where the particle doesn't exit or enter the universe, but exists in a dimension where our puny 4-dimensions-only sensory organs (or extensions thereof) can't observe it.

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errr, see if my A level chem from 13 years ago is correct

But don't electrons do this same trick anyway?

they jump from an outer "orbit" to an inner "orbit" without having passed through the intervening space but release energy as they do so?

Just change the word "orbit" for "time" or even better, if we are talking parallel universes, "dimension"

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"because seen from outside the universe"

I take my hat off to you - what a hitchhiker !

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Anonymous Coward

Sort of

The highest probability of finding them corresponds to an 'orbit' but the probability is still non-zero even at vast distances. Putting the correct energy in will promote them to another 'orbit'. Whether they pass through the intervening space ??

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More titles?

Thanks AC

Maybe I had a case of 'lies to children'

Maybe they rounded the probability of finding the electron between "orbits" down to 0 therefore it must have jumped.

Thinking about it now however, there is still a probability, although it could be infinitely small, of it occupying any position between "orbits". That probability is still infinitely larger than 0. Therefore it *must* travel through space to its new position relative to the atomic core.

This is kinda beyond me really. Apologies for the lack of proper terms. Give me a virtual environment any day. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

I don't think that logic comes in to it.

It's only really 'understandable' in mathematical terms.

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