Can you travel in time? The answer is yes if you are Brian Cox

Ok so it's not every day that the world of the paranormal and science overlap, but isn't it intriguing when they do? Well, they certainly did at the British Science Festival when Professor Brian Cox went all out and claimed that time travel may just be possible, and he even explained how it's already happened on a small scale.

The likeable professor's proclamation has sent ripples of excitement throughout the scientific world, but it's just as exciting for those of us who have always believed in just that little bit more than what's been proven. While science often counters aspects of the paranormal and explains the mysterious, this time it seems to have aligned with it. The impossible may just be possible, and it's no less magic because we understand how it could happen.

So Professor Cox's comments may have delighted Doctor Who fans around the world and had us all plotting which point in time we'd return to and do over again but there are a couple of snags with the theory. Firstly, it seems the past is out of bounds, can only hope to travel to the future - and secondly, we don't have the technology yet.

Based on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, the thinking Brian was quoting works on the principle that an object can move forwards through time - but it would have to get close to the speed of light to do it. When something reaches the speed of light time has been shown to slow down, but only for the particular object that's moving.

Have you ever thought time drags whilst you're flying? It could just be because time passes ever so slightly more slowly for those moving at the speed a plane travels at than it does for those down on the ground. Ok we admit, Brian has stressed that the slowing of time is so marginal that humans wouldn't notice it so we can't blame that for in-flight boredom, but it's still something to think about. So in principle, if we managed to create the technology to accelerate larger objects then it's plausible that people could be taken to the future.

Who's thinking about 'Back to the Future'? Well, it seems that it may just be possible for good old Marty McFly to have travelled forwards in time after all, but he wouldn't have been able to return to the past. "You can go into the future: you've got almost total freedom of movement in the future" Brian explained eagerly to a stunned audience, now isn't that an uplifting thought?


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