Time travel. Since Einstein formulated his special theory of relativity, we have known that it is theoretically possible, even if popular notions of time travel have deteriorated slightly from the august H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine to… well, Hot Tub Time Machine. Which is to say that few people—lay or professional—take the concept very seriously anymore. But University of Connecticut Professor Dr. Ronald Mallett still believes, and he has sought to realize his dream of making time travel possible in this century by infiltrating the scientific profession, becoming a respected theoretical physicist, then braving the ridicule and opprobrium, or at least disagreement, of his colleagues to begin work on a time machine.
In the video above, Dr. Mallett describes his experience of “risking professional suicide,” and physical pain, to work out his ideas. Since coming out, so to speak, as a proponent of time travel, Mallett published a memoir in 2006, Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality. It’s both a description of his fifty years of scientific work toward his project Space-time Twisting by Light (STL) and a moving personal narrative of growing up under segregation, losing his father at a young age, and becoming one of the first African American theoretical physicists.
Spike Lee has acquired the film rights to his memoir (though the project seems to be stalled), and Mallett has told his story on This American Life, CNN, and in speaking tours around the country. Whether Mallett’s enthusiasm will translate into reality remains to be seen, but his passion for Einstein’s predictions is infectious and illuminating.
The video comes from a new series from THNKR called EPIPHANY, a “daily series inviting impassioned thought leaders across all disciplines to reveal the innovative, the improbable, and the unexpected of their worlds.” Each week is devoted to a new “thought leader.” Visit the EPIPHANY channel to view the rest of Dr. Mallett’s “revelations.”
Another online source for information, the Cassiopeia Project, claims to “make science simple.” In the video below, learn the basics of time travel and special relativity.