Time travel has seen its fancy share in cinema as well as literature. From Marvel’s Avengers to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, everyone has showcased their versions of how it works.
Now science has come up with a solution to one of the most complex problems related to time travel. A study by Germain Tobar of the University of Queensland suggests you can travel back in time, do whatever you want, and still change nothing!
Germain Tobar is a fourth-year student with a Bachelor of Advanced Science. His study, supervised by Dr. Fabio Costa, said, “The range of mathematical processes we discovered show that time travel with free will is logically possible in our universe without any paradox.”
Yeah, you read it right. Even if you were to travel back to 2019, isolate the patient-zero (the first patient) of COVID-19, you’d still be reading this article just the way you are, and things will remain the same. It means that time will find a way to unfold the events, just the way they did earlier.
Time Travel Won’t Induce The Grandfather Paradox
The grandfather paradox, portrayed in Back To The Future and several other media, suggests that if you travel back in time and kill your grandpa, you’ll never be born. Let me take a better example here — If a group of special forces was sent back in time to pop Hitler, it’d change nothing. Probably, Hitler would be replaced by some other chap, but the timeline will unfold the way it’s supposed to.
The grandfather paradox argues that once the goal is fulfilled, the motivation to travel back in time would be over, and the person wouldn’t need to travel back in time in the first place.
But the new study says the universe will recalibrate itself for similar events to occur. So if you did isolate the patient-zero, maybe you’ll get contaminated in the process, become patient-zero, or perhaps someone else will.
While this one is about going back in time, a study from the University of British Columbia previously explored ways to travel ahead in time.
Sci-Fi Time Travel
Most of us have seen Avenger’s Endgame, where Captain America specifically went back in time to restore the jewels to their original time-stamps. Guess what? He didn’t have to! If this theory is to be considered, Captain America didn’t need to do that in the first place.
Homer from The Simpsons traveled back in time and was warned not to touch anything. But when Homer kills a bug, Ned Flanders becomes the “unquestionable master of the world.” This comes from chaos theory, which says that the smallest changes in the past can lead to bigger ones in the future. Although the chaos theory is much more complicated, this is the simplest explanation one can offer.