Google Search Bar


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Making Time Travel a Reality

The death of a loved one brings with it shock and disbelief but sometimes - particularly for a child - the grief is so unbearable that it never leaves you. And, faced with such a tragedy, who wouldn't go back in time and change the past if they could?

Ron Mallett idolised his father, an electronics whiz who died when Ron was just ten years old. Time, he says, stopped for him on 22 May, 1955. Such was his grief that the young boy, after reading H G Wells' The Time Machine, resolved to build his own time machine to go back and save his father.

The Time Traveller: One Man's Mission to make Time Travel A Reality is a terrific book that tells the amazing and true story of scientist Ronald Mallett's discovery of the basic equations for a working time machine. But is also an inspirational tale of a son attempting to journey to the past to save his father. Driven by filial love and obsession, Mallett tells his personal story of how he planned and shaped a time machine, through which he hoped to change the course of this future.

This memoir of a man, inspired by both the memory of his father and Einstein's theories on space-time, is a wild and exciting journey though science. Ronald's intelligence and determination took him on a path of discovery and development of which his father would have been proud. While working towards his goal, Ron Mallett achievement - if not quite what he strove for - was astonishing; and he refused to allow poverty, racism (he is an African American) or depression to impede his progress.

Having discovered H G Wells, Ray Bradbury and other science fiction, Ronald tried to put together a time machine. But he soon realised he needed scientific knowledge. He was introduced to Albert Einstein via a book by Lincoln Barnett called The Universe and Dr Einstein. On page 59 he discovered a formula that showed how time was affected by motion. And he learned that the young Albert Einstein had to find a tutor to teach him the sophisticated language of mathematics he would need to present his revolutionary theories about time. Einstein also believed that "imagination is more important than knowledge".

Ronald was amused to come across this quotation: "Do not worry about your problems with mathematics. I assure you mine are far greater." He hated arithmetic but kept his goal in his sights.

In 2002, when he was a professor of physics at the University of Connecticut, Ron Mallett finally revealed to fifty of the worlds leading physicists, at The International Association for Relative Dynamics Third Biennial Conference at Howard University, his beliefs that the 21st Century would herald the dawn of the time machine - a daunting prospect in such illustrious company.

Ronald outlined his own theories based on Einstein's general relativity theory, and illustrated that space and time could be manipulated in a whole new way that would lead to the possibility of time travelling to the past. This book is riveting: don't be put off by the technical terms as the writer explains important ones in layman's terms. Neither is he blasé about his position: "My dream," Ronald tells an audience of young people, "helped keep me out of the state pen and got me into Penn State."

Born in Pennsylvania in 1945, Dr Ronald Mallett grew up in the Bronx. In 1973 he was one of he first African Americans to receive a PhD in Physics and he is now a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Connecticut. He has published many papers on theoretical physics, and his time travel research has been featured in the TV special The World's First Time Machine as well as in publications as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and New Scientist.

More At: Professor Mallet's Homepage

Discovery Channel: First Time Machine


No comments: