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Stephen Hawking's Time Travellers Party
If you were a time traveller and got an invitation to a party in the past, would you attend?
Imagine you are sitting in a nice room, perhaps in some hotel suite, waiting for guests to arrive and the party to begin. Yet this is no ordinary party. For it isn’t a where the guests are coming from, but when! For all the guests in this party are going to be visitors from the future – some could be from only few decades away, others thousands or millions of years ahead.
If the idea of holding a party for future time travellers seems absurd, than you may be surprised to hear that one of the brightest living minds today, Stephen Hawking has just done just that. A few years ago, in a location unknown to most of us normal ‘present-day’ folk, Stephen Hawking set up some party food in a room and waited. When nobody showed up (so he says) he then proceeded to print out a number of invitations.
Professor Stephen Hawking
If you were thinking that one of the greatest minds of our time was on some sort of a trip (of the drug induced kind) than you’d be wrong for his experiment contains sound reasoning behind it. Hawking believes (or believed, depending on where you are along the timeline) that as he printed out a number of these invitations, that some form of these invites should survive hopefully way into the future. As such, in some space age future where humans have developed the technology to travel anywhere in time, someone will gladly accept him up on his offer and come back in time to attend his party.
Unfortunately as we now know, nobody showed up! Does this mean that time travel is impossible, or could it be that at some point in the near future, Stephen Hawking is to become very unpopular? Well assuming that Professor Hawking’s popularity is not in any way altered, then where were the time travellers? One rather dismal possibility could be that we humans never actually survive long enough to actually build time machines. Perhaps through nuclear war or viral epidemic, humanity ceases to be.
Then again, maybe we humans do develop the technology to time travel and as such, some friendly time traveller did (or was) to go back but due to a bizarre theory from quantum mechanics, attended the party, though not ‘The Party.’ According to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, all around us in just a slightly different dimension are other versions of reality, or better description would be different timelines. All these versions of reality should be the same as ours up to some point when one decision was made in our version of reality whilst a different decision was made in an alternative reality. As such, that reality comes different.
If you still with me, than I shall quickly summarise what the implications of this theory are to Hawking’s non-attendance party. In our timeline, his invitations do survive for some point in the future when future time travellers decide to accept his invitation, jump into their time machines and set the date and co-ordinates for his party. Unfortunately as we know from our history, nobody showed up. Yet to protect the past from any unscripted changes, the many worlds interpretation theory states that all the time travellers ended back not in the original timeline (aka this one you’re in now) but an alternative timeline where everything was exactly the same as this one. That is until the time travellers showed up.
If you are finding it difficult to get your mind around this, don’t fret for I can barely get my mind around that theory of quantum mechanics either. Yet there is another possibility for why nobody showed up, one which you may have gathered from reading How To Time Travel? and that is the fact that the time travellers would have loved to come back and visit but couldn’t make it that far back. For in that hub, we uncovered that all the theories for travelling backwards in time are based around the idea of warping the fabric of space-time. Yet this means time travel backwards is limited to as far back as when the space-time warp first occurred!
Then again there is one last possibility which we ought to consider, one so dismal that it is hard to mention. Maybe professor Hawking sent his invitations out using an unreliable courier service, or worse still the royal mail postal Service. If so, than the invites are probably lost in the mail as they say, or in 1000 years from now, still in the postal sorting office!