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The sci-fi fantasy of time travel is fast becoming a reality. As such, it’s a great way to pull eager-minded youngsters into the sciences. The promise of potentially being the wo/man to travel through time has never been so close to reality.

Growing up is about finding yourself and discovering who you are by seeing how you react to the trials and tribulations of life. But that’s all so taxing. Imagine if you could find yourself literally in the swirling milieu of time and space by traveling forward and seeing what kind of person you will eventually become.

Time travel has been on the human mind for longer than anyone can remember. The notion of a time machine goes back to Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau’s 1887 novel El Anacronopete. Since then, we’ve seen all sorts of fanciful permutations of the device that would move us around the space-time continuum. The difference in 2012, however, is that the barrier to the reality of time travel is thinner than it’s ever been. A kid watching “Back to the Future” today could conceivably go into advanced theoretical physics and generate a time-dilating device in the next lifetime. The foggy specter of time travel has finally come into view. You or your student or your student’s students may be the person who cracks the time code.

Most of the theoretical hypothetical philosophic gruntwork for the creation of a time machine has been done. Pretty much all you need is an advanced degree, a screw loose and some serious electrical supplies before a time-dilating vehicle will eventually and inevitably spring into being.

For the benefit of parents and teachers who see a budding Doc Emmet Brown or Julian West, here are some practical specifics to building a time machine that can, if for no other reason, provide a possible path of interest in higher education.

Time Machine infographic

Possibilities of propulsion

There are obvious components required for time travel and most of them are widely known. The Flux Capacitor is an option for a primary component, as well as a vehicle whose stainless steel construction naturally allows for proper flux dispersal. Other options for propulsion more in tune with reality include warp engines and the gravitational pull of a star, specifically a sun. Warp speeds of 9.5 and above allow for time dilation, where time itself slows as the speed of light is approached. Within the warp field that surrounds a starship (also defined as a Alcubierre Drive), space-time is no longer uniform in the vicinity of a starship and therefore the idea of being unable to break the speed of light is illegitimate.

Combine both the components of a time machine and the systems for propulsion and the finished product will emerge: a really good science project and possible prediction for the student’s future.

This guest post is contributed by Lindsey Harper Mac.  She can be reached at Harpermac11 (a) gmail.com or @harpermac11.

Categories: General

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