A “time machine” capable of rewinding the clock by a fraction of a second has been built in Russia, scientists have claimed.
The longest journey begins with the smallest step, and although this new machine does not seem capable of the same magnificent feats of physical impossibility, as, say, “Doc” Emmett Brown’s modified and plutonium-powered DeLorean in the Back to the Future series, it’s still pretty impressive stuff.
The Daily Mail reports that researchers have branded the device as capable of moving particles in the opposite direction of “Time’s arrow.”
It’s heady stuff, but then again, quantum physics always is. The Russian team who seek to command time and make it their plaything have bragged that they have basically defied the second law of thermodynamics.
What does this law refer to? It’s all caught up with the rule of physics that events can only go in one direction — from the past to the future. In other words, all energy must make the leap from usable to unusable in a closed system because energy cannot repeat in a infinite loop. The second law of thermodynamics states that everything within our universe must eventually decay — even the sun. If you want a concrete example close to hand, think of how your phone needs to be constantly charged or it will die, and that’s the second law of thermodynamics.
The researchers from the Laboratory of the Physics from Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology (MIPT) have now claimed to have knocked this centuries-held notion on the head by making time flow backward.
“We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time,” explained Dr.Gordey Lesovik, who heads MIPT’s laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information.
Here’s the science part — the “time machine” is a rudimentary quantum computer consisting of electron “qubits.”
A qubit is a unit of information which is described by a “one” or “zero.” During the experiment, an “evolution program” was initiated and the qubits become an increasingly complex changing pattern of zeros and ones as the order was lost, much like pool balls when scattered with a cue.
In addition, another program was launched, which modified the evolution program and made the qubits evolve backward from chaos to order.
The researchers explained a good analogy for the qubits returning to their original starting point would be like watching the aforementioned pool balls roll back into an orderly pyramid.
After working with just two qubits, scientists claimed they had a “time reversal” success rate of 85 percent.
It’s not a case of “stop the clocks” just yet, but the intriguing patterns of these zeros and ones could just unlock the door to a brave new world and enable us to boldly go where no man or woman has ever been before.