Monday, November 19, 2012

'Time Travel' Communication?

UW professor aims to make time travel a reality

UW professor aims to make time travel a reality »Play Video
Dr. John Cramer
SEATTLE -- Physicists, mathematicians, philosophers and that guy talking to himself on a street corner all have opinions about validity of time travel.

So does Dr. John Cramer, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Washington. He wants to make it a reality.

But Cramer's form of time travel is not the teleportation characterized by Hollywood and science fiction. As time travel goes, Cramer thinks in baby steps. He's working on the possibility receiving a message milliseconds before it's sent.

"I have to admit, this is pushing the envelope and often the envelop pushes back," says Cramer, a nuclear physicist who has worked on projects involving the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

In the basement of the campus physics building, Cramer is fiddling with laser beams to prove what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance". He's splitting photons through a series of synthetic crystals to demonstrate that quantum non-locality can be used to communicate.

For those of us who never took high school physics, this is what he's trying to do in layman's terms: If you took a pair of photons created at the same time and altered one of those photons, in theory the other photon would be altered instantly -- even if it was separated by an entire galaxy.

That would mean communication could travel faster than the speed of light over long distances. The ramifications of something Einstein didn't think was possible but theoretically could happen would be incredible. Physicists call it "nonlocal quantum communication."

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Source: KOMO-TV 4 Seattle.

November 19 marks the 71st anniversary (1941) of the dedication of the Astronomical Observatory at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science:
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