Vor dem Starten ankommen. Über Zeitreisen und Warp-Antriebe

Universitätsverlag Chemnitz (2016)
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Time travel and superluminal travel are two of mankind's dreams. They inspire our imagination and provide material for bizarre stories. A work on the subject of time travel and superluminal travel forces us to re-examine our concept of "time". The complexity and the contradictory nature this subject makes it difficult to be more precise about "time". On its deepest subjective side, time is a means of perception, a biological rhythm, a social phenomenon in terms of our collective understanding of time. But it is also a physical parameter. Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity revolutionised our idea of space and time by freeing us from the Newtonian concept of absolute space and absolute time. The "problem of time travel", a subject that Herbert George Wells wrote about just ten years before as mere fiction, was now a discussion worthy of physics. Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (1905), by predicting the effects of time dilation, allowed for "travels into the future" and Albert Einstein's Theory of Gravity used closed time-like lines for solutions to calculations about time travel (for example, the Gödel Universe and the Anti-de Sitter Universe). However, a trip to a time warp would immediately involve a whole set of paradoxes (for example, the grandfather paradox and the information paradox) and semantic inconsistencies. Surprisingly, the fundamental laws of physics (apart from extremely rare and non-emergent macroscopic quantum mechanical effects) are not violated by the concept of time reversal. Yet, in nature, there still seems to be a fundamental prohibition against time travel to the past. Physicist Dieter Zeh, whose position is more closely presented in the final chapter of this work, supports the view that science fiction literature on the subject of "time travel" is overwhelmingly based on simple conceptual errors. The processes used in this literature, which are based on the General Theory of Relativity, at best, are just as "theoretically possible" as a gas which gathers itself into the corner of a container. This work discusses approaches for "time machines" and superluminal travel which are consistent with modern physics. Some of the discussions that will be presented are the tachyon hypothesis, Frank J. Tipler's rotating cylinder, the Gödel Universe, the Anti-de Sitter Universe, so-called "wormholes" and the Alcubierre-metric. At the same time, approaches will be presented (for example, Eternalism, the Many-Worlds Interpretation and the Consistent Histories Approach) that will provide attempts to find a solution for paradoxes regarding time travel to the past. Questions about time travel to the past and superluminal travel are like the questions asked on Radio Yerevan. The answer is always, "In principle yes, but…" But the fascination about time travel will continue to provide material for "fiction".
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