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The Quantum Physics

of Time Travel
Common sense may rule out
such excursionsbut the
laws of physics do not

by David Deutsch and Michael Lockwood

I
magine, if you will, that our friend Yet, surprisingly, the laws of physics do ocre and concludes that the artist has
Sonia keeps a time machine in her not forbid such adventures. yet to produce those inspired paintings
garage. Last night she used it to vis- Another paradox, which often ap- that so impressed future generations.
it her grandfather in 1934, when he pears in science ction, has been dis- The critic shows the painter a book of
was still courting her grandmother. So- cussed by the Oxford philosopher Mi- reproductions of these later works. The
nia convinced him of her identity by re- chael Dummett. An art critic from the painter contrives to hide this book,
ferring to family secrets that he had future visits a 20th-century painter, who forcing the critic to leave without it,
not yet revealed to anyone. This left is regarded in the critics own century and then sets about meticulously copy-
him stunned, but worse was to follow. as a great artist. Seeing the painters ing the reproductions onto canvas.
When he told his sweetheart over din- current work, the critic nds it medi- Thus, the reproductions exist because
ner that he had just met their future
granddaughter, the ladys response was
both to doubt his sanity and to take of-
fense at his presumption. They never
married and never had the baby who
would have become Sonias mother.
So how can Sonia be sitting here to-
day, telling us of her adventure? If her
mother was never born, how was she
ever born? The real question is, when TIME TRAVELER GREETS DISASTROUS
Sonia returns to 1934, can she or can GRANDFATHER DINNER
she not bring her grandparents ro-
mance to a premature end? Either an-
swer creates problems. If Sonia can
prevent her own birth, there is a contra-
diction. If she cannot, that inability con-
icts with common sense, for what is
to prevent Sonia from behaving as she
pleases? Will some strange paralysis
grip her whenever she tries to enact
certain intentions?
Situations like thisa mild version
of the classic grandfather paradox, in
which the grandfather is murdered by
his time-traveling grandchildare of-
ten regarded as ruling out time travel.

GRANDFATHER PARADOX, in which a


time traveler prevents his or her own GRANDFATHER MEETS GRANDFATHER DRESSES DELIGHTFUL
birth, is a stock objection to time travel. CHARMING LADY FOR DINNER DINNER

68 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc.


they are copied from the paintings, and physicists understand it. In Einsteins
the paintings exist because they are cop- special and general theories of relativi- DAVID DEUTSCH and MICHAEL LOCK-
WOOD, both of the University of Oxford,
ied from the reproductions. Although ty, three-dimensional space is combined
share an interest in the philosophical
this story threatens no contradiction, with time to form four-dimensional foundations of physics. Deutsch is a re-
there is something very wrong with it. space-time. Whereas space consists of search fellow at Wolfson College; he
It purports to give us the paintings with- spatial points, space-time consists of earned his doctorate in physics at Ox-
out anyones having to expend artistic spatiotemporal points, or events, each ford under Dennis Sciama, did postdoc-
effort in creating thema kind of artis- of which represents a particular place toral research under John A. Wheeler,
tic free lunch. at a particular time. Your life forms a Bryce DeWitt and Roger Penrose and is
kind of four-dimensional worm in now working on the quantum theory of
computation. Deutsch is writing a book

P
ersuaded by such objections, space-time: the tip of the worms tail
on physics and philosophy entitled The
physicists have traditionally in- corresponds to the event of your birth, Fabric of Reality. Lockwood is a fellow of
voked a chronology principle that, and the front of its head to the event of Green College and lecturer at the depart-
by at, rules out travel into the past. your death. An object, seen at any one ment for continuing education; he earned
One-way travel into the future raises no instant, is a three-dimensional cross his doctorate in philosophy, also at Ox-
such problems. Einsteins special theory section of this long, thin, intricately ford, under the late Sir Alfred Ayer. His
of relativity predicts that, with sucient curved worm. The line along which the book, Mind, Brain, and the Quantum, was
published in 1989, and he is currently
acceleration, astronauts could go on a worm lies ( ignoring its thickness) is
writing another on the nature of time.
journey and return to the earth decades called that objects worldline. The authors believe that the real uni-
into the future, while physically aging At any point on your worldline, the verse is far stranger than anything con-
only a year or two. It is important to angle it makes with the time axis is a ceived of in science ction but is also ul-
distinguish between predictions such measure of your speed. The worldline timately more intelligible.
as this, which are merely surprising, of a ray of light is typically drawn as
and processes that would violate phys- making an angle of 45 degrees; a ash
ical laws or independently justiable of light spreading out in all directions not be any arbitrary squiggle. Because
philosophical principles. forms a cone in space-time, called a nothing can travel faster than light, the
We shall shortly explain why travel- lightcone [see illustration on next page]. worldline of a physical object can nev-
ing into the past would not violate any An important dierence between space er stray outside the lightcone emanat-
such principle. To do so, we must rst and space-time is that a worldlineun- ing from any event in its past. World-
explore the concept of time itself, as like, say, a line drawn on papercan- lines that meet this criterion are called

NO WEDDING NO CHILDREN NO GRANDCHILDREN

TIME
MACHINE
AND TIME
TRAVELER

NO TIME TRAVELER
BIRTH
BIRTH OF GRANDDAUGHTER
WEDDING OF DAUGHTER (TIME TRAVELER)

Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 69


create CTCs by distorting and tearing
the fabric of space-time. So a time ma-
chine, rather than being a special kind
of vehicle, would provide a route to the
past, along which an ordinary vehicle,
such as a spacecraft, could travel. But
unlike a spatial route, a CTC (or rather,
the surrounding closed timelike tube)
gets used up if repeatedly traversed;
LIGHTCONE just so many worldline worms can t
into it, and no more. If one travels on it
to a particular event, one will meet ev-
eryone who has ever traveled, or will
ever travel, to that event.

D
oes our universe now, or will it
WORLDLINE ever, contain CTCs? We do not
know, but there are various
theoretical conjectures about how they
might be formed. The mathematician
Kurt Gdel found a solution to Ein-
steins equations that describes CTCs.
In that solution, the whole universe ro-
tates (according to current evidence,
the actual universe does not). CTCs also
appear in solutions of Einsteins equa-
tions describing rotating black holes.
But these solutions neglect infalling
HEIGHT
matter, and how far they apply to real-
istic black holes is a matter of contro-
versy. Also, a time traveler would be
trapped inside the black hole after
reaching the past, unless its rotation
rate exceeded a critical threshold. As-
TIME
trophysicists think it unlikely that any
naturally occurring black holes are
spinning that fast. Perhaps a civilization
far more advanced than ours could
WIDTH shoot matter into them, increasing their
rotation rate until safe CTCs appeared,
but many physicists doubt that this
would be possible.
A kind of shortcut through space-
SPACE AND TIME are combined into one four-dimensional entity, space-time. Here time, called a wormhole, has been
we show two space dimensions and time. A worldline connects all events in our mooted by Princeton University physi-
life in space-time; since we have some size, a persons worldline is more like a cist John A. Wheeler. Kip S. Thorne of
worm extending from birth to death than a line. The worldlines of light rays ema- the California Institute of Technology
nating in all space directions from an event trace out a cone in space-time, called a and others have shown how two ends
lightcone. The worldline of any object, such as the navel of this gure, cannot of a wormhole could be moved so as to
stray outside a lightcone emanating from any point in its past.
form a CTC. According to a recent cal-
culation by J. Richard Gott of Prince-
ton, a cosmic string (another theoreti-
timelike. Time, as measured by a watch, Such worldlines would be timelike all cal construct that may or may not exist
increases in one direction along a the way around. Locally they would in nature) passing rapidly by another
worldline. conform to all the familiar properties would generate CTCs.
Einsteins special theory of relativity of space and time, yet they would be We are at present a very long way
requires worldlines of physical objects corridors to the past. If we tried to fol- from nding any of these CTCs. They
to be timelike; the eld equations of low such a closed timelike curve (or may, however, become accessible to fu-
his general theory of relativity predict CTC ) exactly, all the way around, we ture civilizations, which might well at-
that massive bodies such as stars and would bump into our former selves tempt to enact time-travel paradoxes.
black holes distort space-time and bend and get pushed aside. But by following Let us therefore take a closer look at
worldlines. This is the origin of gravity: part of a CTC, we could return to the the paradoxes to see what principles, if
the earths worldline spirals around the past and participate in events there. any, time travel would violate, accord-
suns, which spirals around that of the We could shake hands with our youn- ing to classical and quantum physics.
center of our galaxy. ger selves or, if the loop were large Classical physics says, unequivocally,
Suppose space-time becomes so dis- enough, visit our ancestors. that on arriving in the past Sonia must
torted that some worldlines form closed To do this, we should either have to do the things that history records her
loops [see illustration on opposite page]. harness naturally occurring CTCs or doing. Some philosophers nd this an

70 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc.


unacceptable restriction of her free es to her; she accepts. Not only could inconsistency paradox). We use the
will. But as an argument against time this happenunder classical physics term knowledge here in an extended
travel within classical physics, that ob- something like it must happen. Sonia, sense, according to which a painting,
jection is unpersuasive. For classical far from altering the past, becomes a scientic article, a piece of machin-
physics in the absence of CTCs is de- part of it. ery and a living organism all embody
terministic: what happens at any in- What if Sonia is determined to rebel knowledge. Knowledge paradoxes vio-
stant is wholly determined by what against history? Suppose she travels late the principle that knowledge can
happens at any earlier (or later) instant. back to meet her earlier self. At this come into existence only as a result of
Accordingly, everything we ever do is meeting, her younger self records what problem-solving processes, such as bi-
an inevitable consequence of what hap- her older self says and, in due course, ological evolution or human thought.
pened before we were even conceived. having become that older self, deliber- Time travel appears to allow knowledge
This determinism alone is often held to ately tries to say something dierent. to ow from the future to the past and
be incompatible with free will. So time Must we suppose, absurdly, that she is back, in a self-consistent loop, without
travel poses no more of a threat to free gripped by an irresistible compulsion anyone or anything ever having to grap-
will than does classical physics itself. to utter the original words, contrary to ple with the corresponding problems.
her prior intentions to do otherwise? What is philosophically objectionable

T
he real core of the grandfather Sonia could even program a robot to here is not that knowledge-bearing arti-
paradox is not the violation of speak for her : Would it somehow be facts are carried into the pastit is the
free will but of a fundamental forced to disobey its program? free lunch element. The knowledge
principle that underlies both science Within classical physics, the answer required to invent the artifacts must not
and everyday reasoning; we call this is yes. Something must prevent Sonia be supplied by the artifacts themselves.
the autonomy principle. According to or the robot from deviating from what In an inconsistency paradox, physi-
this principle, it is possible to create in has already happened. It need not be cal events seem to be more tightly con-
our immediate environment any con- anything dramatic, however. Any com- strained than we are used to. In a
guration of matter that the laws of monplace hitch will suce. Sonias ve- knowledge paradox, they are less tight-
physics permit locally, without refer- hicle breaks down, or the robots pro- ly constrained. For instance, the state
ence to what the rest of the universe gram turns out to contain a bug. But of the universe before the art critic ar-
may be doing. When we strike a match, one way or another, according to clas- rives does not determine who, if any-
we do not have to worry that we might sical physics, consistency requires the one, will arrive from the future or what
be thwarted because the conguration autonomy principle to fail. he or she will bring along: the generally
of the planets, say, might be inconsis- Now let us return to the story of the deterministic laws of classical physics
tent with the match being lit. Autono- time-traveling art critic. We call this vi- allow the critic to bring back great pic-
my is a logical property that is highly olation of common sense a knowledge tures, poor pictures or no pictures at
desirable for the laws of physics to paradox (the grandfather paradox is an all. This indeterminacy is not what we
possess. For it underpins all experimen-
tal science: we typically take for grant-
ed that we can set up our apparatus in
any conguration allowed by physical
law and that the rest of the universe
will take care of itself.
In the absence of CTCs, both classi- CLOSED
cal and quantum physics conform to TIMELIKE
the autonomy principle. But in their CURVE
presence, classical physics does not, be-
cause of what John L. Friedman of the
University of Wisconsin and others call
the consistency principle. This states
that the only congurations of matter
that can occur locally are those that are
TEAR IN
self-consistent globally. Under this prin-
SPACE-TIME
ciple, the world outside the laboratory
can physically constrain our actions in-
side, even if everything we do is consis-
tent, locally, with the laws of physics.
Ordinarily we are unaware of this con-
straint, because the autonomy and con-
sistency principles never come into con-
ict. But classically, in the presence of
CTCs, they do.
Classical physics says there is only
one history, so try as she might to do
other than what history dictates, con-
sistency requires Sonia to act out her
part in it. She may visit her grandfa-
ther. But perhaps when he tells Sonias TODAY TOMORROW
grandmother-to-be what happened, she
becomes worried about his state of CLOSED TIMELIKE CURVE can be formed if space-time loops around. Entering such
health. He is very touched and propos- a curve tomorrow and moving forward in time, we can end up at today.

Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 71


lations, which use an approximation happen, it doesin some universe.
that ignores the gravitational eects of Physical reality consists of a collection
quantum elds, uctuations in such of universes, sometimes called a multi-
elds would approach innity near the verse. Each universe in the multiverse
CTC. Approximations are inevitable un- contains its own copy of the neutron
til we discover how to apply quantum whose decay we wish to observe. For
theory fully to gravity; but space-times each instant at which the neutron might
containing CTCs push current tech- decay, there is a universe in which it
niques beyond the limits where they decays at that instant. Since we observe
can be condently applied. We believe it decaying at a specic instant, we too
that Hawkings calculations reveal only must exist in many copies, one for each
TIME the shortcomings of those techniques. universe. In one universe we see the
The quantum-mechanical eects that neutron break up at 10:30, in another
we shall be describing, far from pre- at 10:31 and so on. As applied to the
SPACE venting time travel, would actually fa- multiverse, quantum theory is determin-
cilitate it. isticit predicts the subjective proba-
Quantum mechanics may necessitate bility of each outcome by prescribing
NEUTRON the presence of closed timelike curves. the proportion of universes in which
PROTON CTCs, while hard to nd on large scales, that outcome occurs.
ANTINEUTRINO
may well be plentiful at submicroscop- Everetts interpretation of quantum
ELECTRON
ic scales, where the eects of quantum mechanics is still controversial among
NEUTRON DECAY can occur at any time, mechanics predominate. There is as yet physicists. Quantum mechanics is com-
though some times are more likely than no fully satisfactory theory of quantum monly used as a calculational tool that,
others. For each instant in which the gravity. But according to many versions given an inputinformation about a
neutron might decay, there is a universe that have been proposed, space-time, physical processyields the probabili-
in which it decays at that instant, accord- though it appears smooth at large ty of each possible output. Most of the
ing to Everetts multiverse interpretation scales, has a foamlike submicroscopic time we do not need to interpret the
of quantum mechanics.
structure containing many wormholes mathematics describing that process.
as well as CTCs reaching about 10 42 But there are two branches of phys-
second into the past. For all we know, icsquantum cosmology and the quan-
usually expect from classical physics, time travel by subatomic particles may tum theory of computationin which
but it constitutes no fundamental im- be going on all around us. this is not good enough. These branch-
pediment to time travel. Indeed, the in- More important, quantum mechanics es have as their entire subject matter
determinacy would allow the classical can resolve the paradoxes of time trav- the inner workings of the physical sys-
laws to be supplemented with an addi- el. It is our most basic physical theory tems under study. Among researchers
tional principle, stating that knowledge and constitutes a radical departure from in these two elds, Everetts interpreta-
can arise only as a result of problem- the classical worldview. Rather than tion prevails.
solving processes. predicting with certainty what we shall
Yet that principle would land us in observe, it predicts all possible out-
the same problem regarding autonomy comes of an observation and the prob-
as we encountered in the grandfather ability of each. If we wait for a neutron
paradox. For what is to prevent Sonia to decay (into a proton, an electron and
B-UNIVERSE
from carrying new inventions into the an antineutrino), we are most likely to
past and showing them to their sup- observe this in about 20 minutes. But
posed originators? So although classi- we might observe it immediately or be TIME
cal physics can, after all, accommodate kept waiting indenitely. How are we to
the kind of time travel that is usually understand this randomness? Is there
considered paradoxical, it does this at something about the internal state of
the cost of violating the autonomy neutrons, currently unknown, that dif-
principle. Hence, no classical analysis fers from one neutron to another and
can wholly eliminate the paradox. explains why each neutron breaks up
All this, however, is in our view aca- when it does? This supercially attrac-
demic. For classical physics is false. tive idea turns out to conict with pre-
There are many situations in which it is dictions of quantum mechanics that
an excellent approximation to the truth. have been experimentally corroborated.
But when closed timelike curves are in- Other attempts have been made to
volved, it does not even come close. preserve our classical intuitions by
modifying quantum mechanics. None

O
ne thing we already know about are generally deemed to have succeed-
CTCs is that if they exist, we ed. So we prefer to take quantum me-
need quantum mechanics to chanics at face value and to adopt a
understand them. Indeed, Stephen W. conception of reality that straightfor-
Hawking of the University of Cam- wardly mirrors the structure of the the-
bridge has argued that quantum-me- ory itself. When we refer to quantum
chanical eects would either prevent mechanics, we mean its so-called many-
CTCs from forming or would destroy universes interpretation, rst proposed MULTIVERSE PICTURE OF REALITY un-
any would-be time traveler approach- by Hugh Everett III in 1957. According ravels the time travel paradoxes. Sonia
ing one. According to Hawkings calcu- to Everett, if something physically can plans to enter the time machine tomor-

72 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc.


What, then, does quantum mechan- tum mechanics, even in the presence However convoluted Sonias plans
ics, by Everetts interpretation, say of CTCs, conforms to the autonomy might be, quantum mechanics says the
about time travel paradoxes? Well, the principle. universes link up in such a way that she
grandfather paradox, for one, simply Suppose Sonia tries her best to enact can carry them out consistently. Sup-
does not arise. Suppose that Sonia em- a paradox. She resolves that tomorrow pose Sonia tries to cause a paradox by
barks on a paradoxical project that, she will enter the time machine and traveling around the link twice. She
if completed, would prevent her own emerge today, unless a version of her wants to reappear in the universe she
conception. What happens? If the clas- rst emerges today, having set out started from and join her previous self
sical space-time contains CTCs, then, from tomorrow; and that if a version of for a spaghetti dinner instead of the
according to quantum mechanics, the her does emerge today, she will not en- stir-fry she remembers having. She can
universes in the multiverse must be ter the time machine tomorrow. With- behave as she likes, and in particular
linked up in an unusual way. Instead of in classical physics, that resolution is eat whatever she likes, in company with
having many disjoint, parallel univers- self-contradictory. But not under quan- her younger self; however, the multi-
es, each containing CTCs, we have in tum physics. In half the universescall verse, by being linked up in a way dif-
eect a single, convoluted space-time them Aan older Sonia steps out of ferent from that of the previous para-
consisting of many connected univers- the time machine. Consequently, just dox, prevents her from doing so in her
es. The links force Sonia to travel to a as she resolved, Sonia does not enter original universe. Sonia can succeed in
universe that is identical, up to the in- the time machine tomorrow, and each sharing spaghetti with a version of her-
stant of her arrival, with the one she A-universe thereafter contains two So- self only in another universe, while in
left, but that is thereafter dierent be- nias of slightly dierent ages. In the the original universe she is still alone,
cause of her presence. other ( B ) universes, no one emerges eating stir-fry.
from the time machine. So Sonia sets Time travel would make possible an-

S
o does Sonia prevent her own out and arrives in an A-universe where other curious phenomenon, which we
birth or not? That depends on she meets a younger version of herself. call asymmetric separation. Suppose
which universe one is referring Once again, she can behave as she likes that Sonias boyfriend, Stephen, stays
to. In the universe she leaves, the one in the past, doing things that depart behind while she uses her time machine
she was born in, her grandfather did from her (accurate) recollections. in one of the ways we have described.
marry her grandmother because, in So in half the universes there is a In half the universes, she enters it and
that universe, he received no visit from meeting between two Sonias, and in never returns. Thus, from Stephens
Sonia. In the other universe, the one half there is not. In the A-universes an point of view, there is a possibility that
whose past Sonia travels to, her grand- older Sonia appears from nowhere, he will be separated from her. Half the
father does not marry that particular and in the B-universes she disappears versions of him will see Sonia depart-
woman, and Sonia is never born. into nowhere. Each A-universe then ing, never to return. (The other half will
Thus, the fact that Sonia is traveling contains two Sonias, the older one hav- be joined by a second Sonia.) But from
in time does not constrain her actions. ing started life in a B-universe. Sonia Sonias point of view, there is no pos-
And it turns out, according to quantum has gone missing from each B-universe, sibility of her being separated from
mechanics, that it never would. Quan- having emigrated to an A-universe. Stephen, because every version of her

A-UNIVERSE B-UNIVERSE A-UNIVERSE

TIME TIME TIME

row and travel back to today but resolves that if she emerges verse she does not emerge today and so enters the time ma-
from the time machine today, she will not enter tomorrow. chine tomorrow. She then emerges today, but in an A-universe,
She is able to carry out this plan, without paradox. In a B-uni- and meets her copywho does not enter the time machine.

Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 73


1991 Watterson (distributed by Universal Press Syndicate)

will end up in a universe containing a ing at it, by deducing it from existing source. Extraterrestrial civilizations or
version of himwhom she will have to physical theory. All the claims we have our descendants will have their own
share with another version of herself. made about time travel are consequenc- priorities for its use, and there is no
If Stephen and Sonia follow a similar es of using standard quantum mechan- reason to assume that visiting the earth
planentering the time machine if and ics to calculate the behavior of logic cir- in the 20th century would be high on
only if the other does not rst emerge cuitsjust like those that are used in their list. Even if it were, they would ar-
they can separate completely, ending computers, except for the additional rive only in some universes, of which
up in dierent universes. If they carry supposition that information can travel this, presumably, is not one.
out more complex intentions, each of into the past along CTCs. The time trav- We conclude that if time travel is im-
them could end up in the company of elers in this computer model are pack- possible, then the reason has yet to be
any number of versions of the other. If ets of information. Similar results have discovered. We may or may not one
time travel were achievable on a grand been obtained using other models. day locate or create navigable CTCs.
scale, competing galactic civilizations But if anything like the many-universes

T
could use these asymmetric separation hese calculations denitively dis- picture is trueand in quantum cos-
eects to have the whole galaxy to pose of the inconsistency para- mology and the quantum theory of
themselves. Also, an entire civilization doxes, which turn out to be mere- computation no viable alternative is
could clone itself into any number of ly artifacts of an obsolete, classical knownthen all the standard objec-
copies, just as Sonia did. The more often worldview. We have argued that the tions to time travel depend on false
it did this, the likelier it would be that knowledge paradoxes would likewise models of physical reality. So it is in-
an observer would see it disappear from present no obstacle to time travel. But cumbent on anyone who still wants to
his universe, just as Stephen sees Sonia one cannot make that argument airtight reject the idea of time travel to come
disappear from the A-universe when until concepts like knowledge and cre- up with some new scientic or philo-
her clone appears in the B-universe. ativity have been successfully translat- sophical argument.
( Perhaps this explains why we have not ed into the language of physics. Only
yet encountered any extraterrestrials!) then can one tell if the no-free-lunch
In the art critic story, quantum me- principle we requirethat it takes prob-
chanics allows events, from the partici- lem-solving processes to create knowl- FURTHER READING
pants perspective, to occur much as edgeis consistent, in the presence of CAUSAL LOOPS. Michael Dummett in The
Dummett describes. The universe that CTCs, with quantum mechanics and Nature of Time. Edited by R. Flood and
the critic comes from must have been the rest of physics. M. Lockwood. Basil Blackwell, 1986.
DO THE LAWS OF PHYSICS PERMIT CLOSED
one in which the artist did, eventually, There is a nal argument that is of-
TIME-LIKE CURVES? Kip S. Thorne in An-
learn to paint well. In that universe, the ten raised against time travel. As Hawk- nals of the New York Academy of Sci-
pictures were produced by creative ef- ing puts it, The best evidence that ences, Vol. 631, pages 182193; August
fort, and reproductions were later tak- time travel never will be possible is that 1991.
en to the past of another universe. we have not been invaded by hordes of QUANTUM MECHANICS NEAR CLOSED
There the paintings were indeed plagia- tourists from the future. But this is a TIMELIKE LINES. David Deutsch in Physi-
rizedif one can be said to plagiarize mistake. For a CTC reaches only as far cal Review D, Vol. 44, No. 10, pages
the work of another version of one- back as the moment it was created. If 31973217; November 15, 1991.
THE PARADOXES OF TIME TRAVEL. David
selfand the painter did get some- the earths rst navigable CTC is con- Lewis in American Philosophical Quar-
thing for nothing. But there is no para- structed in 2054, subsequent time trav- terly, Vol. 13, No. 2, pages 145152;
dox, because now the existence of the elers could use it to travel to 2054 or April 1976. Reprinted in The Philosophy
pictures was caused by genuine cre- later, but no earlier. Navigable CTCs of Time. Edited by Robin Le Poidevin
ative eort, albeit in another universe. might already exist elsewhere in the and Murray MacBeath. Oxford Universi-
The idea that time travel paradoxes galaxy. But even then we should not ex- ty Press, 1993.
could be resolved by parallel univers- pect hordes of tourists from the fu- MUST TIME MACHINE CONSTRUCTION VI-
OLATE THE WEAK ENERGY CONDITION?
es has been anticipated in science c- ture. Given the limited capacity of
Amos Ori in Physical Review Letters,
tion and by some philosophers. What CTCs and that our stock of them at any Vol. 71, No. 16, pages 25172520; Oc-
we have presented here is not so much given time cannot be replenished in this tober 18, 1993.
a new resolution as a new way of arriv- universe, a CTC is a nonrenewable re-

74 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN March 1994 Copyright 1994 Scientific American, Inc.