He doesn't have the typical mad scientist look: no dirty lab coat, no electrified hair on his head. He is 77 years old and is a top physicist and university professor (at the University of Connecticut). Quite simply, he never gave up hope of realizing his dream of creating a time machine.
Could I not follow him? The professor Ronald mallett He is a myth. Literally. Its first announcements, dated January 2020, inspired this post: since then there is some news, and a timid attempt to get away from pure theory.
Light and time
As far as we know, time travel is not possible, at least not in a way consistent with the principle of causality. Simply put: events cannot happen before their causes, and this is a fundamental principle of physics.
Yet, you know, some theories still leave this possibility open. The theory of general relativity itself, for example, or all the scientific literature on wormholes. All studies that at the moment, however, require conditions that we cannot achieve with our current technology.
Ron Mallett, however, is not persuaded. He says he has found a possible solution to the problem of creating time loops. As? By creating an artificial black hole.
How does Mallett's "time machine" work?
The general principle is simple to illustrate: a rotating laser ring bends time and allows travel into the past. And so to speak, only Delorean and the Libyans are missing.
In essence, however, this is precisely the starting point. The prototype created by Mallett and put into operation 4 years ago emits a ray of light in continuous rotation, generating a gravitational field which, says the physicist, could lead to time loops and potentially the ability to travel into the past.
"Light can create gravity," Mallett says. "And if gravity can affect time, then so can light itself."
Imagine having a cup of coffee in front of you. Take a teaspoon and start mixing it. Do you see the coffee moving in a circle? This is pretty much what happens in a spinning black hole!
According to Einstein's theory of relativity, space and time are closely related to each other: therefore, when a black hole rotates, it creates a twist in space-time that can affect the movement of surrounding matter.
Yes, but the time machine? What do they say in Hill Valley when you go to see?
I imagine that this takes… time, to be precise. "The Wright brothers didn't build a Boeing," says the physicist. How to blame him. And before that, they built a wind tunnel to study the phenomenon of lift.
Its prototype, in short, is "preparatory". And Mallett believes that sooner or later it will work. When that happens, she says, it will only be possible to go back in time until the machine is turned on for the first time.
Of course, it would still not be bad: we could go and bring antivirals to a world that is about to suffer the impact of a catastrophic pandemic.
Ron, don't give up. I'm still rooting for you!