time Machine

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Car as a time machine in Back to the Future

A time machine is a fictional machine for performing time travel . Such machines, which are supposed to allow any movement back and forth in time , are fictions : Although time travel into the future is feasible according to current knowledge, using time dilation , the construction of a machine that makes a journey into the past is behind Not possible based on current knowledge.

Time machines are a popular topic in science fiction . Science is seriously concerned a. On the basis of Albert Einstein's assumptions of a changeable space-time and more recent findings on reduced spontaneous matter formation in addition to large masses only with the transmission of 'information' in the past But even these experiments do not appear to be feasible in the near future due to the circumstances (high energy requirement, large dimensions).

Time machines are often the starting point for alternative world stories . Because a time traveler changes the past, the story develops differently than traditionally, and a parallel story emerges.


Fictional literature

A list of time travel in literature gives:

  • In what is probably the oldest time travel novel , The Year 2440: A Dream of All Dreams (1771) by Louis-Sébastien Mercier , a Parisian falls asleep at the time the novel is published and wakes up in 2440.
  • The first novel in which a time machine appears is El Anacronopete by Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau 1887. Before that there was already a short story The Clock That Went Backward in the Sun of September 18, 1881 by Edward Page Mitchell .
  • The novel The Time Machine by HG Wells was published in 1895.
  • In the book 1227 Lost in the Middle Ages by Pete Smith, opposing laser beams circle in a Bose-Einstein condensate . The time travelers sit comfortably on a sofa. This time machine is based on the research of Ronald Mallett and Lene Hau . The counter-rotating laser beams create a curvature of space-time.
  • In the book series Justin Time by Peter Schwindt , one stands in the “time portal” on a gravitational field that forms the cover of a wormhole . This wormhole is opened by a black hole trapped in a glass ball . It is emphasized several times that the realization of time machines only became possible after the development of general field theory .
    From the fourth volume, Treason in Florence, there are portable time machines called Wells units. These can be taken on a journey through time, which makes it much easier to return. In addition, these time machines can be used as teleporters .
  • In Herbert Rosendorfer's novel Letters into the Chinese Past , a mandarin from the 10th century uses a time machine constructed in what was then the Chinese Empire to move a thousand years into the future . However, this time machine only transports one person at a time; Even the travel bag must not be too heavy, otherwise the time traveler may get stuck on the way. The journey through time is abrupt and without loss of time. Because of the earth's rotation , however, the place of departure and the place of arrival are different. The time traveler can communicate with his “time home” by means of “time travel paper” that is deposited at a contact point (and as if by magic disappears) - the novel does not say exactly where the energy for the time travel comes from.
  • In the novel, Timeline of Michael Crichton , use is made of quantum mechanics to travel through time. However, physical and psychological damage can be caused by the trip if the programming is not error-free.
  • The novel The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov describes a culture that consists entirely of time travel. In it, the eponymous organization of eternity ensures stability in the history of mankind over 70,000 centuries by constantly bringing about time paradoxes and coordinates intertemporal trade. (Pseudo-) scientific bases to explain the phenomenon of time travel are not given, empirical characteristics of time travel itself are only hinted at. The focus of the plot is on the social effects and ultimately the individual fates of the actors.
  • Time machine stories (it. Macchina del tempo ) is an Italian comic series.

Popular science references

In The Physics of the Impossible , Michio Kaku shows realistic possibilities of realizing a time machine in practice using the latest scientific knowledge. According to this, the construction of a time machine will only be possible in the distant future due to the technological and financial outlay.

In the book The Shortest History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow , which is aimed at laypeople , the subject of the time machine or time travel and wormholes is discussed in chapter ten. The physical laws seem to allow time travel, but they are illogical: Why does humanity have problems in the present when time travel is possible at some point in the future? Where are the visitors from the future?

Fictional films

  • In the British television series Doctor Who, the protagonist travels through time with a time machine called TARDIS , which looks like a police cell .
  • In the movie trilogy Back to the Future plays Fluxkompensator ( flux capacitor actually, literally. "River capacitor") play a significant role. It is housed in a DeLorean DMC-12 . The necessary output of 1.21 gigawatts for a journey through time is provided by a nuclear fission , for which the time machine needs plutonium . After a renovation in 2015, the energy will be supplied by a waste-fueled fusion generator.
  • Time travel is a central theme in the films in the Terminator series. Here a fighting machine from the future is sent into the past to eliminate an important person in history or - in the second and third parts of the series and the television series - to protect it.
  • In Jesus and Josephine , a manger replaces the time machine through which Josephine gets to know the historical Jesus as a child.
  • In the 1994 film Timecop , Jean Claude van Damme plays a police officer who works for the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) and has to prevent manipulation of the timeline.
  • In some episodes of the television series Stargate - Command SG-1 and the television film Stargate: Continuum , time travel is also a theme. Time travel is mostly caused by a malfunction of the eponymous Stargate.
  • In Avengers: Endgame , Thano's finger snap is undone with the help of time travel.
  • The Netflix series Dark also features a time machine, a machine constructed by the fictional character called HG Tannhaus and called "the Apparatus" with which the title characters travel to different times.

Time capsule

Not to be confused with the time machine is the time capsule , an object that is locked for a certain time and which may only be opened in the distant future.


For philosophical specialist literature see time travel
  • Paul J. Nahin: Time Machines. Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction. 2nd Edition. AIP Press et al., New York NY 1999, ISBN 0-387-98571-9 .
Popular literature
  • Falko Blask, Ariane Windhorst: Time machines. Myth and technology of a human dream. Atmosphären-Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-86533-020-7 . Second edition. published as: Zeitreisen. The fulfillment of a human dream, Reinbek near Hamburg 2009, e-book, ISBN 978-3-644-44471-3 .
  • Paul Davies : This is how you build a time machine. A manual. Piper, Munich et al. 2004, ISBN 3-492-04527-8 .
  • J. Richard Gott: Time Travel. In Einstein's universe. ( Rororo 61577). Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-499-61577-0 .
  • Stephen Hawking , Leonard Mlodinow : The Shortest History of Time. ( Rororo 62197). Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-499-62197-5 .
  • Michio Kaku : The physics of the impossible. Projectors, phasers, time machines. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-498-03540-2 .
  • Jim Al-Khalili : Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines. Elsevier, Munich et al. 2004, ISBN 3-8274-1567-5 .
  • Stefan Thiesen: Trek Science. Into the future at warp speed? Completely revised new edition. MindQuest et al., Selm 2001, ISBN 3-934195-06-7 .
  • Rüdiger Vaas : Tunnel through space and time. Einstein's legacy - black holes, time travel and faster than light. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-440-09360-3 .

Web links

Wiktionary: time machine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Richard Woesler: Conceivable superluminal transmission of classical information and applications. Problem of inconsistent histories, and a conceivable proposal for its solution. Large number of conceivable applications to achieve extremely fast computations, to greatly enhance expensive quantum machines, to achieve superluminal complete quantum teleportation, and applications for time travel of robots. 2nd edition. European University Press et al., Berlin et al. 2006, ISBN 3-934453-29-5 ( Denk-Schriften 3).