Science on Tap: Time Travel

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“You think that the past is fixed and the future is up for grabs, but as far as the laws of physics are concerned they are equally real,” said Caltech’s Sean Carroll with a mischievous grin that seemed to suggest that he could actually see every brain in the room processing his words, accelerating to keep up.

On January 11, The Science & Entertainment Exchange held the second installment of its ongoing series Science on Tap at the Formosa Café in West Hollywood. The latest topic: From Eternity to Here: Time Travel for Beginners. Professor Sean Carroll wowed as the night’s one and only speaker in an interactive banter over beer on the nature of time, spaghettification (as a technical term), and why time travel is absolutely possible – in fact we do it every day … slowly forward.

Time Travel Science on Tap

Questions ranged from why the universe started organized and gets messy with the passage of time, otherwise known as entropy, to why Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure actually more accurately depicts time travel than Back to the Future – because Bill and Ted could not make changes to the past, but were able to make use of the past in their future to help themselves in the present. Sean Carroll, beer in hand, did nothing short of explain the universe itself, boiling complex theories of time and space into understandable nuggets for all to learn. At the end of the evening, entertainers gathered blown minds off the floor and went home with much to ponder as they returned to work on their next time travel science-fiction show or film.

Stay tuned, Science on Tap will continue, thanks to the great success of the format’s first two events with Professor Carroll, as well as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Randii Wessen and Bob Anderson.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.