University of Calgary

Time travel: Can it really be done?

UToday HomeAugust 21, 2013

Internationally acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Paul Davies will visit the University of Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20 for a free public lecture. Photo courtesy Paul DaviesInternationally acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Paul Davies will visit the University of Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20 for a free public lecture. Photo courtesy Paul DaviesStar Trek’s crew time travelled at “warp speed” aboard the Starship Enterprise, while Marty McFly rode “back to the future” in a sleek DeLorean sports car.

But is time travel really possible?

Internationally acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Paul Davies will visit the University of Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20 to talk about “Time travel: Can it really be done?”

The university’s Institute for Quantum Science and Technology is presenting Davies’ free talk as its annual public lecture.

“We’re very excited to feature Paul Davies,” says Barry Sanders, professor of Physics and Astronomy, iCORE Chair of Quantum Information Science, and director of the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology.

“Paul has significantly advanced knowledge of quantum science, including the quantum theory of black holes in space and profound problems concerning the quantum vacuum in curved space time,” Sanders says.

Davies, a professor of physics at Arizona State University, is a British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist.

His research interests are focused on the “big questions” of existence – ranging from the origin of the universe to the origin of life – and include the nature of time, the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe, and foundational questions in quantum mechanics.

In his talk, he’ll discuss the concepts of time travel, causal loops and worm holes – topics that have captivated the world of science fiction and which Davies will explore on the basis of scientific evidence.

Davies helped create the theory of quantum fields in curved spacetime, to provide explanations for how black holes can radiate energy and what caused the ripples in the cosmic afterglow of the Big Bang. The asteroid 6870 Pauldavies is named after him.

In astrobiology, Davies was a forerunner of the theory that life on Earth may have come from Mars. He is currently championing the theory that Earth may host a “shadow” biosphere of alternative life forms.

He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines worldwide, and is the author of many popular books, including The Eerie Silence , The Goldilocks Enigma , and How to Build a Time Machine .

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in MacEwan Hall on the main campus and tickets are available with advance registration here.

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