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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  1. David Haig
    Black Helicopters

    Who's been reading ....

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

    1. MrT
      Thumb Up

      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.

  2. Neil 13

    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.

  3. Captain Underpants
    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...

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      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.

      1. Daniel Evans

        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.

        1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

          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.

      2. Michael Dunn

        @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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. E 2

      @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!

    2. Alan Firminger

      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.

      1. M7S

        @ 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

        1. Blue eyed boy
          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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. ravenviz
          Go

          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.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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

      4. bugalugs

        re: tourists from the future

        kind of like, um, children ?

  5. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Boffin

    Somewhat reminiscent of...

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My thoughts exactly

      hopefully our own future will have rather better news to report

  6. Bonce

    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!

  7. Z 1
    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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "our grasp on the notion is tenuous at best"

    "our grasp on reality is tenuous at best.

    Fixed !

  9. Ian Yates

    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.

  10. Rodrigo Rollan
    Alert

    The end of Eternity

    Hope it is near.....

  11. Dale 3
    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?

  12. Anonymous John

    Hello?

    I'm in the 21st Century.

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

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      NO...

      ...IT'S RUBBISH!

  13. An ominous cow herd

    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?

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Not looking for them

      See title.

    2. Anonymous John

      We probably have.....

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

  14. Pete 2

    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?

  15. JaffaMan
    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?

    1. Veldan

      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. longbeast
      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.

      1. JaffaMan

        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.

  16. Tom B

    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.

  17. Daniel B.
    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!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm intrigued

      who do you want to call ??

      1. TwistUrCapBack
        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 ?? ...

  18. Arctic fox
    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.

  19. Relgoshan
    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.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oww

    This makes my head hurt.

  21. K. Adams
    Boffin

    Doctor?

    I would like The Doctor to opine on the matter, before drawing any conclusions...

  22. Belperite
    FAIL

    I'll get the crowbar and H.E.V. suit at the ready then!

    ..."Now, now, if you follow standard insertion procedure,

    everything will be fine."

    "I don't know how you can say that. Although I will admit

    that the possibility of a resonance cascade scenario is extremely

    unlikely."

    "Gordon doesn't need to hear all this, he's a highly

    trained professional. We've assured the administrator that nothing will

    go wrooong."

  23. SpeakerToAliens
    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)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Easy peasy?

    Imagine living in one dimensional space, say, a line.

    Movement is constrained to the line and if there is a point on the line that creates a disruption to movement well, ...

    Now in 2D, just pick up the living object and drop it back on to the line

    1. Michael Chester
      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.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      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.

    3. DiViDeD Silver badge
      Flame

      The title is in 2027 and will be along any minute

      THAT makes your head hurt? Time to reread 'Rotating Cylinders and the Probability of Global Causation Violation' just to be reminded how far the universe is prepared to go to stop this sort of thing.

      Mine's the one with the anti solar flare goggles in the pocket'

      Flames for upcoming massive causal violation penalty flare, natch

    4. Trevor 3

      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"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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 ??

        1. Trevor 3

          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. :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

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

    5. Chemist

      "because seen from outside the universe"

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

    6. Michael Dunn
      Headmaster

      @SpeakertoAliens

      because seen from outside the universe ...

      Hey, just _what_ is outside the universe, and where did the observer come from?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Coat

        @Michael Dunn

        "where did the observer come from?"

        The newspaper stand?

  25. Rex Dart

    Nah

    "However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future."

    Hmm, must be impossible then.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Nigel 11
      IT Angle

      Indeed - very dangerous

      The ability to transmit as little as one bit backwards in time leads to such a dramatic increase in computability, that meatware would almost certainly be obsolete a few seconds later. IT might also be able to bootstrap ITself even if one didn't allow any direct control or sensing of the closed timelike information path by a computer.

      What happens thereafter depends on whether IT has any use for the rest of the planet / solar system / universe.

      Possibly, IT has already happened, and IT cares about us inferior creatures. Atheists beware.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        What's that then, exactly?

        IIRC, the algorithms in PSPACE become accessible.

  27. F111F
    WTF?

    Fermi's Paradox

    So...if we're making these "singlets" in the future that travel back in time, where are they? Or, is there a detector piece of the puzzle missing that wasn't explained?

    1. longbeast
      Boffin

      Detector sensitivity.

      If we assume for the sake of argument that this hypothesis isn't a load of bollocks (my guess is that it almost certainly is, but since the collider is already running anyway, might as well look out for it, the additional cost is minimal), the singlets would be a right bugger to detect because they can spread out in so many more dimensions than we're used to. Point sources of particles in our boring old 3d world get dimmer according to the inverse square law, but singlets would be subject to inverse cube law at the minimum, and possibly to the fourth power as well, depending on how the brane works.

      In other words, you need to be very close to the source in both time and space to get a strong signal. Probably even a few metres away in distance and a nanosecond away in time would be too far.

      1. FoolD
        Boffin

        Re: Detector sensitivity

        One has to wonder how much energy would be required to push such particles far enough in time and yet still be detectable to be useful, ie more than a few nanoseconds. Enough to do some serious damage I expect.

        Whilst the ability to communicate a few nanoseconds into the past might be enough for some fancy parallel computing (as others have pointed out) it isn't far enough to affect your grandad or even get that magical lottery win. I suppose you could cascade messages further and further back in time if you had billions of atom smashers to work with (and enough energy to power them).

        Maybe that is the purpose of the universe .. to remind god that he left his gas on.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        To get a strong signal...

        ...make sure you're holding it right

  28. Richard Gadsden 1
    Boffin

    Too excited for a title

    We could measure the size of the compactified dimensions by the frequency of the stroboscopic intervals in which the time-travelling singlet crosses the brane. That would give us the first experimental confirmation of the existence of those dimensions.

    Unfortunately, "These discrete [4]-spatial intervals are likely too small to be discerned" (p.18).

  29. Saoir

    So where are they ?

    So .. if this theory were in some way possible and a methodology could be found .... at some time in the near or distant future ....

    Then why are we not getting such messages from the future ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      UFOs?

      Well may be our flying saucer friends are tourists of the future?!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    No Paradox...

    The sniglet will travel in a path orthogonal to the initial 3D space such that it doesn't intersect.

    So if it does travel 'back in time', we'll never know.

    Thus the paradox never occurs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      "Sniglet"

      That's the quantum unit of humour, no?

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Joke

        Dyslexics Untie!

        Well I could say that I would hope that God has a sense of humor in terns of his 'god' particle, but honestly, I'm a bit of a dyslexic typist.

      2. Astarte

        Sniglet

        Hey El Reg! This is surely a candidate for qualification as a Reg unit - lovely ring to it. You could even print the Vulture on it.

        Votes for 'Sniglet' anyone?

    2. Richard Gadsden 1
      Boffin

      You haven't read the paper, have you?

      Their paths cross the brane stroboscopially, with the period of the stroboscopy dependent on the size of the compactified dimensions (Dimensions 5 and above). The problem is that we can only detect them when they decay, they're comparatively long-lived, and there are two, maybe three detectors in the LHC (and none anywhere else on the planet) that could detect their decays.

      They're possibly the worst communications medium ever proposed; they'd make neutrinos look like a reliable, well-chosen carrier.

      Enjoyed reading the paper; it stretched parts of my brain I haven't used in a couple of decades.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    DANGEROUS NERDS

    The Cern lot are mainly a bunch of egotistical sociopathic morons who are playing with the unknown with massive potential risks of which we have rarely been exposed to before. And I say this a sci-tech person and one who has to currently live next door to them. Given a choice I would feel safer living next door to a nuclear power station in Europe than here.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
      Coat

      You're absolutely right

      You underestimate the threat level, though. I mean God's plans obviously didn't include us mere muppets investigating the fabric of the universe. The hearth-shattering quake in Japan is obviously a warning sign. If the LHC stays on, no doubt the japanese plants will go boom, wiping the non-believers in the process. Question is, where is your arch?

  32. Stratman

    title

    Eleven dimensions my arse.

    1. JOKM
      Joke

      OK

      Torus Colon sir?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    "one of the /few/ pictures of the universe"?

    >"Weiler and Ho's multidimensional version of M-theory is apparently one of the few pictures of the universe which can explain all the types of particle and force which we know to exist"

    Hmm, and I thought it was one of about ten to the five hundred or so such possible theories...

  34. Stew

    Next they will be saying

    What will they next be saying, that you can talk to god down the great white telephone in the bathroom.

    Most of us have been doing that for years every Saturday Night when we have had too many.

  35. fnordianslip
    Grenade

    Hmmm.

    I can't help wondering how much information a singlet can convey, and whether or not they can be expected to arrive in the past in order. The question above regarding whether or not they would appear in the right place is also a good one IMHO.

  36. M. Burns
    Boffin

    We already know how to communicate with the future.

    Just leave a note.

    But sending a message to the past completes the two-way communication channel need for a conversation.

    Now that's the basis of a bad movie plot.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Ever seen Frequency?

      It's actually quite good. Well, I thought it was.

  37. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Joke

    Someone...

    Will accept a call and be asked what they are wearing while looking at a web cam pointed at someones crotch from the future.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Irrelevant

    Now that the black hole created by the LHC is now eating away at the earth's core causing eathquakes, tsunamis, and the imminent end of the world.

    Lucky I've got my tin foil hat ready.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: the imminent end of the world

      Actually it's some guys in a different set of dimensions who are causing the current problems - hopefully we'll be able to DoS them when we get the hang of this LHC thing.

  39. E 2
    Thumb Down

    If A says X, and B cites A, and C cites B, then X must be true.

    Therefore spend more money!

    You know: string theory.

    1. Blue eyed boy
      Thumb Up

      You left out the most important part of the chain

      and A cites C (in preparation).

  40. t1mc
    Go

    Hand me that crystal

    Which future will be sending a message to which past and who would notice if that future became a thing of the past?

  41. Andrew Stevenson

    Time is relative

    If they manage to find a way to do it, the timespan will be very small, maybe the detector would only be able to detect that there were 2 things instead of one; or maybe history would show that the detector was damaged before the experiment ;)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being the massive cynic that I am.

    I bet that when they come clean about this, it'll turn out that by "time travel" they mean 0.0001 nanoseconds into the past or something.

  43. GhilleDhu

    Is anyone else worried....

    ..... by the strange pic on the main website explaining the concept... Seems a bit wrong.

  44. nsld
    Coat

    Eh!

    All you need is a Delorean and a flux capacitor plus a mad professor, its been done already.

    Ive already got my coat

  45. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    It's all down to Branes?

    Great. So the LHC-induced end of the world is now going to be caused by an invasion of dyslexic zombies from the future.

  46. gzuckier

    Messages from the future!

    Of course! That explains Lady Gaga!

  47. Anonymous John

    Already done.

    http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/quirkies/8779718.Bevendean_woman_finds_time_capsule_from_30_years_ago/

    "Jill now plans to record her own thoughts and bury the two documents in the same spot for her predecessors to discover"

  48. David Pollard

    A nice little earner?

    In 2007, public donations funded similar research. The University of Washington had set up a special account, "Non-Local Quantum Communication Experiment".

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/319367_timeguy12.html

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/134497-Public-donates-to-UW-scientist-to-fund-backward-in-time-research

    Has someone at Conservative Central Office perhaps stumbled upon this?

  49. Kimberly Burgess

    Could They Detect a Signal From the Future?

    Perhaps they are right and they can send "messages" back via particles. Indeed, maybe they are already doing so now. My question is "How would they take into account where the Earth and the receiver were in the past to ensure the messages would be detected?"

    Think about it. Earth is constantly rotating as it orbits Sol, which is also working its way around the Milky Way as it orbits and travels up and down vertically in the elliptical plane. That's a lot of information to calculate. If you are sending a message through time, it likely isn't bound by local space as it crosses dimensions. You'd need to calculate for both where and when you want the message to be received.

    So if you sent a message back from 2020 to today, the location of the transmitter/receiver will not be in the same absolute place as the receiver's location in the past. If that wasn't taken into account, there might be a signal/message somewhere out in space that is going undetected.

    So time traveling particles may exist and may carry messages back to the past, but we can't prove it. It would likely not be bound by local forces once unstuck from time.

  50. David 141
    WTF?

    Better yet

    Ideally you'd want to send the plans for the time machine back into the past so you could (have) invented it earlier (which of course you would have done already).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Better yet

      Not so...

      The intended recipients of your transmitted plans need to have :-

      A, Invented the means to receive your transmission, and ...

      B, be listening.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Joke

      No good

      The plans would be from Microsoft Visio 2207 and the latest you have is 2010 and refuses to open them.

    3. Astarte

      Contact

      Already done - read Carl Sagan's 'Contact'

    4. Michael Dunn

      Bootstrapping

      That, of course, is the gist of a Robert Heinlein story.

  51. LaeMing Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Bugger!

    I was getting random calls from someone claiming to be me from the future. I told her to bugger off and got the number blocked.

  52. Mark York 3 Silver badge
    Coat

    Paradox

    Reminds me of "Paradox" from a couple years back on BBC!

    Right I'm off to the pub wearing my coat with the pockets that are bigger on the inside.

  53. Foolish_One
    WTF?

    Deutsch's unproven theorem paradox

    So some scientist 10 years in the future (Nerd A) sends the proof of a mathematical theorem, which he copied from Book B back in time. The scientist at the LHC (Nerd B) writes this down and gets it published in a book (Book B). Where did the proof of the theorem come from?

    Good luck with that one.

  54. Mips
    Jobs Halo

    The face of God?

    It is a funny title but I will get that that in a minute.

    We have recently observed the most distant visible object. It is a galaxy approximately 13.5bn light years distant. The age of our galaxy is 13.5bn years and the Big Bang was only a few million years earlier. We are moving now but only a very small fraction of the speed of light.

    There is an apparent paradox. How can our galaxy travel 13.5bn light years in just over 13.5bn years and not get up to light speed?

    The penny finally dropped. Before the Big Bang there was a singularity: everything was in one place so space and time had no meaning and velocity could not exist. It does not mean it was physically small, but then it was impossible to measure. At the Big Bang things changed: there was expansion. Well it is described as expansion but that is misleading as it implies movement, I prefer to think that suddenly time and space exists and that bits of the singularity were now in different places. Travel faster than light cannot exist when velocity cannot exist.

    Consequences:

    Researchers are trying to find lots of mass missing from the universe: "dark matter" etc. However no one appears to consider that it cannot be seen because it is too far away. Who is to say that the "expansion" of the singularity was small, we can see only out to 13.5bn light years, maybe the rest is further away.

    Whilst we can surmise the nature of the dimensions of the multi-dimensional universe and we might manage to perfect a model. It would appear that the M-brane dimension set is responsible for the nature of our universe but we will never be able to say why it is like that. So is the M-brane dimension set the face of God? This god is cold, dispassionate and not the slightest bit human, not the sort you would be comfortable with.

  55. ShaggyDoggy

    Time Travel

    Either

    (a) has been invented but travellers have kept it secret so far

    (b) has been invented but travellers can not be seen or interact

    (c) has been invented in the future but travellers can not go back in time

    (d) has been invented in the future but travellers can not go back as far as our time

    (e) has been invented in the future but nobody has visited our time yet

    (f) has been invented in the future but travellers to our time were not believed

    (g) has been invented in the future but travellers to our time were captured on arrival

    (h) has been invented in the future but is not yet stable enough for human travel

    (i) never gets invented

    1. Richard Gadsden 1
      Boffin

      On this theory

      Time travel doesn't involve travellers, but just particles (which, yes, you could use for communication). Since we haven't built a detector for the particles, we can't read the messages yet that we may or may not be getting from the future.

      The really neat bit would be to build this into a computer. You could solve any NP-complete problem in the length of time for one trial, as you'd just send back in time a list of the possible solutions tried and failed.

      If all of NP is O[1], then non-quantum crypto is going to be dead. And quantum crypto cannot be applied to most of the crypto problems we have, like encrypting storage media.

  56. chr0m4t1c

    What I want to know is

    How badly will the telcos gouge us on roaming charges?

    And how big will the battery on my mobile need to be to power an LHC anyway?

  57. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Coat

    If this works...

    ... the first message sent back should be to warn GeoHot that Sony are *really* *pissed* at him... :)

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re Mips

    "We have recently observed the most distant visible object. It is a galaxy approximately 13.5bn light years distant. The age of our galaxy is 13.5bn years and the Big Bang was only a few million years earlier."

    So what we are seeing is a picture of a galaxy from 13.5bn years ago (given that the light took 13.5bn years to get here). Presumably we cant see anything further away (yet) because our galaxy has only existed for 13.5bn years and the light from anything further away won;t have got here yet. I guess this means that in a few million years time we will be able to see the big bang

    1. Richard Gadsden 1

      We already can see the Big Bang

      It's called the cosmic microwave background. It's (nearly) evenly distributed around the universe so it can't be described as an "object".

  59. Wize

    What if, when they get a partical from the future...

    ...they declare a success and don't turn the machine on?

  60. TwistUrCapBack
    Happy

    who u gonna call ??

    ghostbusters - obviously

  61. multipharious

    faster than light signaling

    I would argue that there actually is a possibility to signal across time, but transmitting a useful communication is going to be a bit harder. There have been a number of folks that have said we have not built a detector yet. This is likely right for reasons I am not sure if they realize. An absorber is necessary to complete the "circuit." In other words for there to be a potential for it to occur, it has to have the potential to occur. Three theories regarding faster than light speed from diminished photons that travel (from our perspective) faster than light and thus backwards in time all require an absorber.

    In this case, that means that the particle capable of signaling may actually travel forwards in time even though its counterpart, backwards, faster than light traveller appears to pop out of nowhere...that nowhere being an event that from our perspective has not yet occured. So the forward traveller issued from the absorber actually defines the type of communication possible (pattern, oscillation, wavelength if applicable.)

  62. YumDogfood

    Travel from time T2 toT1 obviously requires a T-800.

    I'll get my coat.

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