Faszination Zeitreisen

Universitätsverlag Chemnitz (2014)
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The question of time travel stimulates the imagination and provides material for whimsical stories. A work on the topic of "time travel" forces us to deal with the concept of "time". The complexity and the antinomic character of this concept make it difficult to grasp "time" more precisely. We encounter time as a form of perception in its deeply subjective aspect, as a biological rhythm, as a social phenomenon in the sense of a collective determination of time, but also as a physical quantity. Einstein's theory of relativity revolutionized our ideas of space and time. His Special Theory of Relativity (1905) allows "travel into the future" through the effect of time dilation he predicted, and Einstein's theory of gravity allows for closed time lines as solutions to its equations (e.g., Gödel cosmos, anti-de Sitter cosmos). However, traveling in a time loop would immediately lead to a number of paradoxes (e.g., grandfather paradox, information paradox). Although, surprisingly, the basic laws of physics (apart from extremely rare and macroscopically non-appearing quantum mechanical effects) would not be violated in a time reversal, there seems to be a fundamental prohibition of traveling into the past in nature.

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Kay Herrmann
Chemnitz University of Technology


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