PHYS 121 B3 Introduction to Physical Science
Westwood College – South Bay Campus
Dr. N. Dowlatshahi
December 6, 2012
Time Travel and the Speed of Light
Do Time Travel and the Speed of Light have anything to do with each other? If you are able to travel at the speed of light, will that give you the ability to go back or forward in time? In this paper I will try to explain through research some of the possibilities. In theory, once you reach the speed of light time will freeze. Traveling at speeds close to the speed of light has a great effect for the travelers. It causes time dilation which is by definition: The relativistic effect of the slowing of a clock with respect to an observer. In Special Relativity, a clock moving with respect to an observer appears to run more slowly than to an observer moving with the clock. In General Relativity, time dilation is also caused by gravity; clocks on the earth's surface, for example, run more slowly than clocks at high altitudes, where gravitational forces are weaker. You have probably heard or read that at these speeds, time slows down so much for the traveler that when the travelers return back to planet Earth, all their friends and everyone they knew are now dead as many years have passed on Earth since they first took off on their journey. This sounds like some wild science fiction movie but it is also true. For the travelers, with their ship traveling at speeds close to the speed of light, time had slowed for them according to the clocks of the people who kept track of the ship on Earth. This is part of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Although, not much of this has been proven, it is very fun to think about and hope that one day technology will catch up to our ideas.
So how fast does light travel anyway and what does it have to do with time? In one second, light can travel 186,000 miles. That is over three quarters of the distance to the moon. Why does...
References: Costello, R. (2009, October 1). Time and the Speed of Light. Costello Space Art. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from http://www.costellospaceart.com/html/time_and_the_speed_of_light.html
The Effects of Light speed. (2007, May 12). The Effects of Light Speed Answer. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from http://www.wikianswers.com
Time Travel Is Possible, Says Stephen Hawking | Fox News. (2010, May 3). Fox News - Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos. Retrieved December 6, 2012, from http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/05/03/time-travel-possible-says-stephen-hawking/
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