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UConn professor: Time travel now possible

By Diego Cupolo
On February 16, 2004

Time travel, the core of science-fiction stories, is now a possibility because of UConn Physics Professor Ronald L. Mallett's new space-time theories. Mallett has created a time travel theory and expects true progress in his field within his lifetime, by using variations of Albert Einstein's theories of relativity.

The Learning Channel's (TLC) internationally acclaimed documentary featuring Mallett's latest time travel research was presented at the Biology and Physics Building Friday afternoon. Mallett was present to answer questions from the audience about time travel and his theories after the viewing.

"This century will be the century of time travel as the last century was that of space travel," Mallett said. "I think my work will be pioneering."

By weakening a gravitational field with the electromagnetic radiation of a unidirectional ring laser it is possible for a particle to travel through time because of a phenomenon known as inertial-frame-dragging, according to Mallett's newsletter. According to Mallett it is already possible to transport particles through time using current technology and to eventually send information through a time machine.

Mallett's theory suggests a particle placed in the center of numerous properly-angled lasers will begin to spin and eventually travel through time. With this method, anything changed in the past will not affect the present. If an object traveled back in time through this theory it would affect a different dimension or parallel universe, thus leaving the current dimension unchanged, Mallett said.

Time travel is still a new subject of study in the scientific world and students such as Steve Cote, 2nd-semester pre-medicine and chemistry major, are skeptical over Mallett's theory.

"Although it is possible to move forward in time by moving in extreme speeds, to go back in time for more than a couple of seconds, the energy required to alter the gravitational field of a circulating cylinder of light would be unfeasible," Cote said.

Mallett found interest in time travel at the age of 10 when his father died of a heart attack at only 33 years old. With the possibility of saving his father's life in mind, Mallett pursued his studies in physics, he said. In 1975, Mallett began his career as a physics professor at UConn and still holds the position.

Since its airing on Dec. 3, 2003, TLC's documentary has brought more attention to Mallett and his research. The next step for Mallett is to gain project funding in order to test his theories. To achieve funding his group must display innovative and relevant time travel research.

"What we've done is presented a new and interesting physics with the twisting in time and space," Mallett said. "We will not be the only ones trying to prove my theory and that's why science is great."

According to Mallett, once proper funding is attained he will explore the different possibilities of his research and will determine the direction in which the money will be spent. If the theory is accepted Mallett expects many scientists to begin seriously looking at time travel as a feasible goal in the next century.

"The fact that Mallett is a professor at UConn will bring attention to the campus as his experiments yield more promising results," Cote said.

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