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Quantum Physicists Show What Time Travel Could Look Like

Quantum physics professors at the University of Ulm in Germany, have created a mathematically-accurate visual approximation of the hypothetical Gödel model of the universe. That is, they show what it would look like if you could simultaneously see past, present, and future versions of physical objects. Sandrine Ceurstemont of New Scientist, who compiled the video [...]

Quantum physics professors at the University of Ulm in Germany, have created a mathematically-accurate visual approximation of the hypothetical Gödel model of the universe. That is, they show what it would look like if you could simultaneously see past, present, and future versions of physical objects.

Sandrine Ceurstemont of New Scientist, who compiled the video above, explained it this way:

In the first clip, a camera is placed at the centre of this cylindrical universe, simulating what an Earth-like object would look like. Because light behaves differently in this space, as the sphere moves away from you, you see an image of both the front and the back. If it moves above you, it appears as a collection of slices. During its orbit, you see many versions from different time periods all at once.

The video gets even more trippy as it simulates what you would see when looking up at a ball. Because the universe is rotating, light rays move in spirals, creating circular echoes around the object. If a single ball is replaced by a stack, you see all the balls at once.

In a similar attempt to answer the question of what time travel would look like, PBS’s NOVA made the “Time Traveler” computer game to illustrate Einstein’s theories on the subject. Hollywood has certainly given us a wide array of visual representations, from whooshing space-vacuums to screen-flickers and -fades to magic DeLoreans. If you’ve got a lot of um, time on your hands, you can lose a lot of it by exploring the always-lively message board threads where people with varying levels of authority to speak on the matter argue about whether time travel could ever work, and what it would feel like if it did.

But as to just how accurate any of this is? No one really knows for sure—not even Gödel’s grandfather, and not even Schrödinger’s Cat.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The Well-Dressed Time Traveler
What Studying Einstein’s Brain Can and Can’t Tell Us

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