Wouldn’t we all like to go back in time and change just one or two things from our past in order to improve our current situation? We’ve all made mistakes. Some of us want another shot at a few poor, difficult-to-recover-from decisions that made life difficult for a while; some of us want one more chance to put the right bandages on past failures to flip them into a successes; and some of us just think about going back in time to 1913 so we can put every penny we can beg, steal, or borrow, on Donerail to win the Kentucky Derby at 91.45-1 odds. Whatever our motivations for time travel, we’re going to have to put our faith in people who think outside our known universal box to actually experience it.
The issue between now and when time travel is finally a reality, will be separating the time-travel wackos from the time-travel wickedly brilliant. Anyone can make public proclamations, or official requests for recognition, if they find the right opportunities to do so. Opportunities to be seen and heard are located within the application in-box of the Patent Office, and within the digital camera of the recently graduated, rookie broadcast journalist, assigned to deal with the crazy guy down the block because the producer thinks it’s funny.
Here are eight examples of inventors, scientists, and dreamers, claiming to know the keys to time travel, and in a few cases, even claiming to already have keys to a time machine.
Well, kind of anyway.
In April 2004, a man named Marlin B. Pohlman filed an application for a patent on his method of gravity distortion and time displacement. The computer scientist started his time-twisting project to occupy himself while undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma. His application filing made headlines throughout the world, but so far, 9 years later, his application has not been approved by the Patent Office. The documentation retrieved using a Google Patent Search all refers to his class A1 application, and not a Class B1, granting of a patent.
Pohlman used Robert Geroch’s Splitting Theorem, and the work from a few others, to conclude space-time could not only warped, but with the right equipment, one could move throughout space-like boundaries. You can read the application for yourself online.
In addition to Pohlman’s mysterious claims, there is the question of his possible connection to a man known as John Titor, who claimed to be from the future, but was sent back to 1975 so he could retrieve computer parts to debug their attempts to use ancient software. People began connecting the two when it was discovered Pohlman’s patent application was strikingly similar to time machine plans Titor published in a time traveler forum years before.
The fact his patent application has not been approved is probably a good thing, because earlier this year he admitted to an Oregon judge, “I probably made a math error.” He wasn’t in court to discuss his patent application though, he was in court facing charges alleging he drugged and sexually assaulted four women between the ages of 19 and 27. The latest update on his court troubles indicate he is awaiting trial, and trying to make the court-issued bail amount of $1.5 million.
Depending on the outcome, we might eventually see Pohlman come back with an improved plan to warp time and change his present situation.
Application WO2013088425 A2 is currently sitting at the Patent Office, and has been since April of this year. On the surface, the file looks just like every other file, but closer inspection reveals this file is far from ordinary. This file contains documents proposing a way to split the Fourth Dimension via a space compression, time dilation device (SCTD) for the purposes of time travel.
Alshdaifat’s patent application is a response to Marlin B. Pohlman’s request to patent his gravity distortion and time displacement method, claiming Pohlman’s science was flawed and only his patent proposal would really dilate time.
In the background information of the patent application, Alshdaifat wrote:
A recent invention titled a method for gravity distortion and time displacement , filed by Marlin B. Pohlman under patent publication No.: US 2006/0073976 A1, is aiming to create space-time curvatures (distortion) by the formation of Godel- type geodesically complete space-time envelops complete with closed time-like curves.It seems that the human thinking about time travel, is still governed by their desires and imaginations, and not governed by a deep understanding of time dilation, which is not a time travel to the future or to the past, it is an interaction in-between a matter owning four dimensions, with space-time owning four dimensions too, in condition that the matter is moving through this space at a relative speed of light.But since achieving the speed of light via the available tools, or even through those expected to be produced on the future according to the human available capabilities, is still beyond the expectation of the human beings, they tried to find a way for another solutions, which pushed them far away from the location where they should think deeply to find a solution.…Such a time dilation, would not take the human beings into the future or to the past, but it will slow the time on the enclosed matter, which lead to a vast scientific and economical benefits.
Alshdaifat then outlines a device that uses concentrated gamma rays to dilate time and slow it down, which he claims is a more realistic claim than Pohlman’s claim his device could move people either forward or backward in time. Alshdaifat wrote:
A method for making space compression, time dilation machine, depending on the known principles of space contract, and accompanied time dilation, in addition to a new assumption, that space and time are wavy, if the 3-dimensions of space are compressed, the 4th -dimension time which is vertical on the space is dilated, such that the time waves frequency (ticks) are decreased, due to the elongation of the observed length of the time waves.A six faces of a cone, made from a highly concentrated gamma rays layers, are created, by six gamma rays emitting rays through convex lenses, to create the cone, wherein the gamma rays passing the cone are reflected by concave mirrors again towards the layers, while the whole cone is compressed by the curved space in-between compressed facing magnets with similar poles, then compressing the cone inward, compresses the space enclosed by it, and dilate the time.
Patent office documentation indicates they have requested more information regarding Alshdaifat’s claim he has a right to patent the device, given the similarity to another patent application, presumably Pohlman’s. One interesting fact about Alshdaifat is his other many patent applications are for inventions such as improved washing machine mechanics, accordion covers for automobiles, and automobile tires. His application to patent his time travel idea is most certainly not like his others.
Michael Kwok is another wannabe time traveler who submitted his plans for an artificially intelligent, group of robots sharing one massive brain giving them the ability to monitor the position of everything in time and space at all times in January 2008. The robots in his proposal then use atom manipulators to move objects along the continually monitored timeline. Kwok has also filed patents on the hardware and software behind the human artificial intelligence machine, as well as his plans for a second artificially intelligent time machine.
Kwok wrote in his patent application for a Practical Time Machine Using Dynamic Efficient Virtual and Real Robots:
A method for time travel, which allows an object or a group of objects to travel into the past or the future, as well as a method to cut objects from the past or future and paste them to the current environment. The present invention, called the practical time machine, requires teams of super intelligent robots that work together in the virtual world and the real world to generate a perfect timeline of planet Earth. The timeline of Earth records all objects, events and actions every fraction of a nanosecond for the past or the future. A time traveler will set a time travel date; the time traveler can be one object or a group of objects. Next, atom manipulators are scattered throughout the Earth to change objects in our current environment based on the timeline; and incrementally, change the current environment until the time travel date. Each atom manipulator is intelligent and manipulates the current environment as well as generating ghost machines to manipulate the current environment. Also, components of the practical time machine can be used to create technology for the purpose of: building cars, planes and rockets that travel at the speed of light, building intelligent weapons, creating physical objects from thin air, using a chamber to manipulate objects, building force fields, making objects invisible, building super powerful lasers, building anti-gravity machines, creating strong metals and alloys, creating the smallest computer chips, collecting energy without any solar panels or wind turbines, making physical DNA, manipulating existing DNA, making single cell organisms, controlling the software and hardware of computers and servers without an internet connection, and manipulating any object in the world.
He too has yet to see a patent approved.
The public has also yet to see time shifting robots materialize.
When it comes to moving travelers throughout space-time, Alshdaifat claims he can slow it down, Kwok claims super-intelligent robots will scoot us around the timeline, but Takahiro Towata has taken the matter in an entirely different direction with his patent application for what is essentially a time-bending warp drive.
To be clear, the warp drive isn’t like what we see in sci-fi movies, but Towata’s warp drive is simply a machine that moves an object along at ultra-high speed and rides the curvature of time as it warps.
He claims in the application:
In the inventions according to claims 1 to 6, it is made possible that travel in space-time is instantaneously performed, and not only space warp travel (warp) in spaces on the Earth and in universe spaces but also temporal travel, that is, temporal travel (time travel) into the future and past are instantaneously performed.In the following, the invention will be described in detail in relation to physical theories as conventional techniques.Space warp travel (warp: warp drive)Heretofore although the term "warp" means "a method of traveling a warped space at ultra high speed, which appears in the SF world, until now, discussions are putting forward in the world of physics. For example, the Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a paper related to warp drive in 1994.The principle of the warp drive by Alcubierre is that "a small big bang is produced behind a spaceship as well as a small big crunch is always produced ahead of the spaceship to create a flow that allows the spaceship to travel forward at a velocity faster than light speed".This Alcubierre's idea is based on Einstein's general relativity, in which a "warp bubble" is created that a three-dimensional space is compressed into a plane on which the spaceship is placed and space-time above the plane is expanded as well as space-time below is compressed…
In other words, all these years later, some, like Towata, are still leaning on the writings of Albert Einstein when it comes to time travel. Unfortunately, even Einstein’s connection to the patent industry, hasn’t seemed to have enough gravitational pull to get Towata’s application approved.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Towata’s idea wouldn’t work. I guess.
At best some might dismiss the idea of Italian Priest and Scientist Pellegrino Ernetti creating a machine allowing him to peer back into time and see famous events like the crucifixion of Christ as being pure fantasy, but let us not underestimate the power of divine intervention and the power of The Church.
There are those who believe Ernetti not only built such a machine in the 1960s, but they also believe it is currently stored away in a secure location at The Vatican.
Ernetti claimed the Chronovisor could read the sound waves and pick up the electromagnetic radiation left behind when major events transpire. Ernetti was labeled a fake by critics when some of his visions from the Chronovisor were identical to known works of art about the same subjects. Yet the conspiracy theory remains. Does The Church have its hand-made, holy viewfinder of the future hidden away somewhere? Or is this just another weird tale from man’s history of exploring the possibilities of time travel?
If there is one diamond in this roughneck motley crew of time machine inventors, it would have to be Ronald Mallett, a PhD-wielding Professor of Physics from the University of Connecticut. His views on the possibility of time travel have made him a popular point of discussion among the theoretical physics community.
Mallett believes worm holes are the key to slipping through space-time, and he envisions a machine that uses light to take advantage of these slip opportunities.
Here Mullett gives a brief, but far more detailed description of his ideas:
The limitations of his time machine proposal lies in the fact one can’t travel backward in time to a point before the machine existed to be the transporting device. This snag is also how Mallett deals with the question on every skeptic’s mind, “If people in the future have time machines why haven’t we encountered a verifiable time traveler?”
Unlike the other time machine designs in this list, Mallett’s ideas are being discussed and tested by other theoretical physicists rather than just being tossed onto a pile of government office papers where the only attention it receives comes from guys like me researching stories like this one.
• Vadim Alexandrovich Chernobrov, says he's already got one
Patents? He don’t need no stinking patents. All Vadim Alexandrovich Chernobrov needs is someone to spread the word on the time travel work he’s been conducting since 1987. He got just that in 2011 when attention was cast Chernobrov’s way for publicly claiming to have successfully built a working time machine.
Chernobrov and his team at Moscow Aircraft University are believed to have killed a few cockroaches and mice, and driven a dog mad, by exposing the animals to time shifting tests. Those failures allegedly led to success with some more ingenuity. Figuring the animals were affected by body parts shifting in time at different speeds, they tweaked the machine. Then Chernobrov and eight of his team members used the machine on themselves and expereinced a 3-percent time shift.
There have yet to be any widely distributed reports declaring the Chernobrov machine to be hokum, but the lack of follow up stories and research being available online since his 2011 announcement speaks volumes as to the credibility given to Chernobrov’s claims by the scientific community.
The latest hey-guys-I’ve-built-a-time-machine claimant is Iranian Center for Strategic Inventions Managing Director Ali Razeqi.
In June, Razeqi told the local state-run news organization he built a machine that can see anywhere from 3 to 5 years into the future and report those happenings back to the user. His machine is like the Vatican’s Chronovisor time viewer, only in reverse.
When it comes down to it, his machine is not nearly as influential as one that can move bodies, but it does give one the advantage when looking ahead to a day at the racetrack. So in that regard, the time-bending benefits of Razeqi’s creation are off the charts.
Critics of Razeqi’s machine are equating it to a Nostradmian parlor trick that has yet to even be exhibited in public. Until a demonstration occurs, we might never know whether Razeqi is onto something hot, or whether he is just another guy trying to dupe us all with something that’s not.
It seems at this point we’re all doomed to living with what has happened to us thus far, and do our best to manage those hyperbolic curve balls traveling at light speed right for us from the future.
One can only hope Dr. Mallett is correct on his assumption physicists will solve the time travel problem before the end of this century. While many time travel ideas just sound ludicrous, the boring science guys who lurk in darkened cubby holes in the physics departments of universities throughout the world, are steadily making progress at proving time might one day be conquered.