Scientists Reveal They Have Conquered A Specific Kind Of Time Travel

Scientists have discovered how to reverse time inside a quantum system.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

time travel

From a teenager taking a stylish Delorean 88 miles per hour to two-hearted alien creatures flying a blue police box, our fiction has been filled with fun stories about time travel. However, it looks like time travel is now no longer a matter of science fiction but science fact. A group of scientists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna have been experimenting with the quantum world (though one very different from what we see in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) and have discovered how to reverse time inside a quantum system, which they published in a series of papers via Optica.

One of the researchers used a very movie-friendly way of explaining the time travel phenomenon they are working with. The researcher compared traditional physics with watching a film at the movie theater: we must endure the beginning, middle, and end of the film, with no ability to speed through the boring parts or jump back to our favorite moments. But inside the quantum world they have been working on is more like watching a movie at home: “we can rewind to a previous scene or skip several scenes ahead” (we wish we could do that now to see if Chris Pratt really does end up being Booster Gold).

While there are many cases in history where scientists didn’t realize how much of a game-changer their discovery was, these particular researchers understand how impressive their time-travel research really is. One of them boldly proclaimed, “we have made science fiction come true!” However, the process is going to need a lot more work if it’s ever going to resemble our favorite time travel sci-fi movies and TV shows.

Time travel

For example, their experiments have primarily focused on electrons, and they developed something called a “rewind protocol” to help revert an electron back to its previous state. They could do so with a quantum switch that helps make this time travel possible. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a long time before any humans can engage in our own time travel adventures.

Why a long time? Right now, the science isn’t there for the team to try to send a human being back through time without most likely killing them. And even if someone was willing to take that risk in the name of time travel, our current technology means that “It would take millions of years to rejuvenate a person for less than a second.”

Also, we hate to break it to any fans of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but the future uses of this technology are going to be far less fun than you might imagine. These researchers don’t imagine using time travel to allow humans to document important moments in time, nor do they imagine using it to retrieve historical figures so two high schoolers can pass a history exam. Instead, the researchers imagine a future where scientists conduct experiments where they can use this breakthrough tech to undo any errors they committed.

In other words, mankind is working hard on perfecting time travel technology so that we may one day have the ultimate in “undo” technology. And while it may seem like those making errors in their research could just hit CTRL+Z like the rest of us, it’s undeniably cool that real-life researchers are experimenting with the quantum realm. However, if they end up finding a MODOK in there, here’s hoping they pull the plug on all the mad science before it’s too late.