The King of Time Machines is Still Hard at Work

Physicist says we might be able to visit the past, but getting back to the future is another story

Don't get your spurs and six-shooter ready for a visit to the Old West, but scientists at the Technion Institute in Israel have made some theoretical headway towards a time machine. Physicist Amos Ori has been in the time travel business for a few years now – we published a primer on his ideas here – but now he says that he's developed a theoretical model showing that future generations could one day travel to the past.

He hasn't actually designed a machine, and stresses that he's not even sure that developing a technology with the necessary qualities, which include the ability to massively bend and twist spacetime, is possible. Instead, he's been busy trying to prove time travel would be possible in the first place. And now he says he has shown that the laws that govern the way things work in the universe would allow something to warp spacetime in such a way that someone could travel along a seemingly straight line and end up back in time.

The catch – and this is why the Old West visit is out of the question – is that even if someone does develop a machine with these cosmos-bending qualities, he'll need a similar one at his destination. That future genius won't be able to travel back any farther than the date on which the first machine was created. If this seems lame compared to visiting dinosaurs or a frontier saloon, see the movie Primer. It's grounded in good physics, and is a great example of all the madness and mayhem that could ensue with short hops through the timescape.—Gregory Mone

(Image credit: James Jean)