Is the concept of time travel rooted in genuine science? Is time travel possible within our lifetime? A resounding “yes” to both questions echoed through the York Prep Gymnasium on the evening of March 10 as Dr. Ronald Mallett delivered a fascinating lecture on time travel to parents, students, and faculty.
In 1955, Dr. Mallett’s father died of a heart attack at age 33, devastating his 10-year-old son. Inspired by H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, the young boy vowed that he would develop a way to travel back in time to save his father. Dr. Mallett chronicles his lifelong passion in his memoir Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality. “The personal aspect of his motivation to pursue this line of research is very touching,” said Richard Abba, York’s Director of Technology. The book is the basis for an upcoming feature film co-written and directed by Spike Lee.
A professor of Physics at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Mallett asserts that time travel is anchored in real physics and may become a reality in the foreseeable future. Based on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, Dr. Mallett has formulated a time travel theory using light. “If light can affect gravity, and gravity can affect time, then light can affect time,” he postulates. He hopes to prove this theory in the lab by using laser lights and reflective mirrors in what has been named the Space-Time Twisting by Light Project. Fundraising to finance this project is ongoing.
“What most impressed me was how he was able to simplify such a complex topic for people who may not be so familiar with Einstein’s theories,” said Isaac, a sophomore. His classmate, Max, who plans to become a physicist, noted that Dr. Mallett nonetheless did not oversimplify his subject. “He gave a meaningful lecture; he was able to educate people,” said Max.
An animated question-and-answer period capped the presentation, and York’s sixth and seventh grade students made many of the thoughtful inquiries. “Dr. Mallett spoke about a very interesting topic, and I had fun with my dad,” said sixth grader Max O., who came to the talk accompanied by his father.
Afterwards, Dr. Mallett graciously chatted with individual audience members and signed copies of his book, which those in attendance could purchase on site. Proceeds from the book sale were donated to the York Prep Scholarship Fund.