Time Travel and Double Davids
Time TravelAuthor Unknown
(1) In the nineteenth century, time travel was the stuff of science fiction. No one imagined it might someday be a reality. In 1895, H.G. Wells published a novel called The Time Machine. In this work of fiction the protagonist, who is never named, travels hundreds of thousands of years into the future.
(2) While Wells' novel was not the first work of fiction to cover time travel, it was the first to spend time trying to explain the science behind this seemingly impossible feat. Wells theorized that when people viewed objects in three dimensions, there also existed a fourth dimension, time. Time, thought Wells, is invisible, but we can still move through it.
(3) In chapter one, the Time Traveler elaborates on the fourth dimension, "'Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked,' continued the Time Traveler, with a slight accession of cheerfulness. 'Really this is what is meant by the Fourth Dimension, though some people who talk about the Fourth Dimension do not know they mean it. It is only another way of looking at Time. There is no difference between time and any of the three dimensions of space except that our consciousness moves along it. But some foolish people have got hold of the wrong side of that idea." (Wells, p. 5)
(4) In other words, proposed Wells, we travel to the left, to the right, up, and down, using our bodies. But we travel through time using our minds. We can remember yesterday. We can remember last year. When we wake up in the morning, we know it is not the same day as it was yesterday. Therefore, according to Wells, we travel with our consciousness. Someone confined to his or her bed might not move at all in the three visible dimensions, but he or she can continue to move through the fourth. On the other hand, someone confined to a bed who was unconscious might wake up and ask, "What day is it?" The loss of consciousness would have stopped that person from traveling in the fourth dimension, time.
(5) Wells' ideas made for very detailed fiction. But maybe he was on to something! In 1905, Albert Einstein published his Theory of Special Relativity. Einstein proposed that there were four dimensions, and those dimensions included, up and down, left and right, forward and backward, and one dimension of time. He linked space and time together. He proposed that if one traveled through space, on a straight line, at a high enough speed, one's observations about the world around him or her would be different from those traveling at a slower speed. In a nutshell, Einstein believed that if people could travel at the speed of light, they would be freed from the constraints of time, and free to travel to the future or to the past.
(6) Over one hundred years later, the greatest scientists on the planet are still grappling
with Einstein's proposal. Stephen Hawking, a well-known physicist, is convinced that time travel might be possible, but only to travel into the future. He believes that time, as a fourth dimension, must have wrinkles or tunnels, and that it is porous. Hawking believes if someone had a rocket that was fast enough, one that could travel at the speed of light, he or she could travel through one of those tunnels and skip ahead in time. He hasn't completely abandoned the idea of traveling to the past, though. He's just waiting for evidence that it is possible. In 2012, Hawking said, "I gave a party for time-travelers, but I didn't send out the invitations until after the party. I sat there for a long time, but no one came."
Double DavidsAuthor Unknown, Adapted by Marisa Adams
(1) "Hi David, I'm David."
(2) Those four words started what was, quite possibly, the weirdest conversation ever. I had been minding my own business, watching T.V. in the den, when the lights flickered and then went completely black along with all of the electricity, including the TV show I was watching. A moment later one, solitary lamp came back on, casting an eerie glow towards the middle of the room where a man was standing who looked vaguely like my Uncle Norman.
(3) "Hi David, I'm David," he repeated.
(4) Silence spanned the distance between us as my eyes darted to the cell phone beside me. I thought that if I could reach it, I could call 911. My parents had taught me plenty of times what to do in an emergency. For a split second, I even thought maybe I could jump out the half-open window, although it opened onto the roof on the second story.
(5) "I know your parents taught you to call 911 in an emergency," said the guy. "And I know that you're wondering if you can reach your cell phone in time."
(6) My heart started pounding in my chest and I was becoming terrified. Obviously, this guy had been stalking me.
(7) "I wouldn't recommend jumping out the half-open window either," he continued with a peculiar little smile. "It opens onto the roof on the second story."
(8) Instantly my eyes widened as I realized I had just been thinking about that "H-how are you doing this?" I stammered. "Are you reading my mind?"
(9) The Uncle Norman look alike simply scoffed and shook his head. "Not really. Well, sort of."
(10) "What does that mean?"
(11) "I'm reading my own mind," he said.
(12) Nervously, I shifted on the couch as real fear started to course through my body. "I don't understand you! That doesn't make any sense!" Maybe if I told him that someone was coming home soon, he would get scared and leave.
(13) "There's no point telling me that someone will return home soon because we both know that's not true," he continued and I shivered again. "Relax," he said. "You're the absolute last person in the world I would hurt. That would be fatally ignorant."
(14) "Why me?" I stammered out, knowing my heartbeat was racing wildly.
(15) "Because if I hurt you, I hurt me," he said. Lifting an eyebrow, he sat in the chair next to my couch, watching me carefully the entire time. "I'll explain, but you'll have a hard time accepting it."
(16) I took a deep breath to try and calm my nerves, thinking if I just listened to him, maybe he would go away and I would be safe. Quietly, I whispered, "I'll try."
(17) His lips curled into a deeper smile as he slapped his hands on his knees. "Wonderful! I knew you were a smart cookie! OK, I am David Sean Lamont."
(18) "That's my name!" I exclaimed, interrupting him mid-sentence.
(19) "Don't interrupt, me. It's rude and I know we were taught better than that." Nodding my head quickly in agreement, I exhaled another breath as he continued. "I was born on January 11, 1992."
(20) "That's when I was born! You're trying to mess with me!"
(21) "I told you that you would have a hard time accepting my explanation. The fact is, I am you. An older you."
(22) "There's no way - "
(23) "Just hear me out and stop interrupting. Man, I was obnoxious when I was young!" Shaking his head, he continued "I was 16 years old, sitting in this room, watching T.V. A guy came from the future and told me that he was me, and that he had invented a time machine in the future. He explained he had come back to see himself; in fact, it was the exact same conversation you and I are having now."
(24) "Time machine?" I asked weakly.
(25) "Yes, a time machine. I'm you, David, and I've just come back in time."
(26) Looking around the room warily, I couldn't help asking, "Did you really invent a time machine?" I was actually half starting to believe it.
(27) "We did, I did. Or, rather, we will, since it will happen in December of the year 2040."
(28) "Where is this machine?" I could hear the excitement in his voice but I still wasn't quite sure I was ready to believe him.
(29) "It doesn't go back and forth in time, the person does."
(30) I could almost believe it. I didn't think it could just be a coincidence that he seemed to know everything I was thinking. But, I had to find a way to reassure myself. "If you really came from the future," I said, "tell me something about it, so I can test you. Tell me who will win all the baseball games in the major leagues tomorrow."
(31) "I can't remember that far back, and we never liked baseball that much. But more importantly, I can't tell you anything about the future. If I did, you would have the knowledge you are not supposed to have, and that could mess with the time stream."
(32) I couldn't help but scoff at him; that wasn't any kind of real proof. "So why are you here?" I asked.
(33) "Just to say 'hello,' and look at me," he said. "Goodbye, David, take very good care of yourself."
(34) "But I - " I began to say, and then the lights dimmed again. When they came back on, he was gone. The T.V. came back on. It was an old movie, called "Back to the Future."
(35) That made me laugh nervously, but when the laughter passed, I had a brilliant idea. Immediately, I grabbed a pencil and a pad of paper and started taking very close notes about the movie.