University of Queensland physicists have recently published a new study showing how time travel could theoretically occur without resulting in problematic paradoxes like the “grandfather paradox.”
The study, conducted by student Germain Tobar and professor Fabio Costa, argues that determinism in physics allows for adapting spaces and times to avoid inconsistencies caused by time travelers’ actions. So even if a time traveler went to the past to change events, the events would adjust in unexpected ways to still ultimately occur, avoiding paradoxes.
Their mathematical model demonstrates how Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which predicts time loops, can be compatible with free will and classical physics principles that expect defined outcomes based on a system’s initial conditions.
While actually, engineering time travel remains highly speculative, this new research gives theoretical support to the possibility. As Professor Costa summarized, “The maths checks out – and the results are the stuff of science fiction.” The model essentially shows time finding alternative pathways if a time traveler’s actions obstruct the original events that led the time traveler to go to the past in the first place.
So far this proposal to resolve time travel paradoxes remains abstract and contained to mathematical proof, not experimental validation. But it adds an intriguing new perspective to the debate on if and how humanity may someday achieve what is currently only done in movies like Back to the Future – actual time travel not resulting in universe-breaking paradoxes.