Is Time Travel Possible? – The Science of Time With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Whether time travel is possible is among the most intriguing questions in all of science. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how time travel into the future is possible through Einstein’s general relativity theory.

Time travel is a widely recognized concept in philosophy and science fiction. But is it truly possible in real life? What does physics tell us about time travel? Is it possible to travel to the past? There are some physical theories that can help us learn what time travel is and how it works. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the nature of time and the conundrums of time travel.

In Einstein’s theory of special relativity time slows down or speeds up depending on how fast you move relative to something else. So, for an observer in an inertial frame of reference, a clock that is moving relative to them will be measured to tick slower than a clock that is at rest in their frame of reference. This case is sometimes called special relativistic time dilation. Time dilation may also be regarded in a limited sense as “time travel into the future. The faster the relative velocity, the greater the time dilation between one another, with the rate of time reaching zero as one approaches the speed of light.

While some physicists argue whether time travel is possible, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli thinks that time is in fact illusion and our reality is just a complex network of events onto which we project sequences of past, present and future.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is quite possibly the most famous astrophysicist if not the most famous scientist of our time. He is a science communicator and author and he explains in layman’s terms whether time travel is actually possible. Neil deGrasse Tyson has written numerous scientific books, his latest is “Letters from an Astrophysicist”.

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20 comments

  1. Physicists have observed tachyons, so they are no longer “hypothetical.” Most physicists do not know it, but all neutrino speed measurements have yielded average speeds slightly faster than the speed of light. And the neutrinos’ rest mass-squared has been measured from neutrino oscillations, and they are negative. The square-root rest masses are thus imaginary. According to special relativity, positive relativistic mass must always travel slower than the speed of light. Conversely, negative relativistic mass must always travel faster than the speed of light. Thus, neutrinos have negative relativistic mass and negative-imaginary rest mass. Neutrinos are tachyons and cannot rest but must travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.

    Although we would measure neutrinos as going backward in time, they do not actually go there. We measure what occurred in the past. The arrow of time goes uniformly forward in the rest frame. Everything we see and measure is in the past, but nothing goes there. There is no “tachyonic antitelephone.”

    I have uploaded several papers on these properties to Academia.com.

  2. Time travel is science fiction. Easy way to verify this, you would innumerable number time travelers going back and forth in time. Obviously, too many people are learning science by watching science fiction instead of learning what’s fiction and what’s reality. There is no way to travel through time.

  3. Personal opinion on the ending phrase about time not existing. I’ve heard that past and future does not exist, only the present, reason we say live in the moment. So if that’s true that means that the past is just now a series of memories. What if they created a machine that went into something’s memories to alter things in the past.

  4. Time travel is fascinating it would be awesome if they could create a machine where all you had to do was step inside enter any year you wanted and immediately be transported back to that time I imagine many would go back to see famous people or events the real Jesus Christ, the Egyptians building the pyramids, and so many others.

  5. Believe it or not, I’m actually aging slower than most people and I experience time in a different way. I live up here in the mountains of Colorado at 9,000 feet where time moves slightly slower than it does down at sea level. You can see the difference in time if you look at the clocks on the satellites compared to the clocks on earth, they have to constantly adjust them because of how differently time moves as you get further away from a gravitational force. Pretty weird to think about…

  6. just like a vcr, the tcr player can rewind back time, so just go get one on amazon or ebay, 🙄

  7. How can you time travel by going faster. you just cover a distance faster than the normal time required to do it. its not time travel. I call bull on that 2 clock experiment one in ground and other in plane one. time travel cannot be possible. that experiment reminds me of superman rotating earth to turn back time.

  8. I really admire deGrease but I think that time still unexplainable. time is constant on itself but everyone perceives it diferent