A new time travel theory developed by researchers in Australia declares that going back in time might not create the classic paradox which many suspect would arise. Typically, when thinking about time travel and often times in films, a paradox suggests that going back in time and changing anything would create a different series of events which stops the time traveler from ever going back in time in the first place. Everything then cancels out, so it's all one big headache of possibilities and impossibilities. However, the new theory claims that the future is inevitable despite any minor changes along the way.
"Say you travelled in time, in an attempt to stop COVID-19's patient zero from being exposed to the virus," University of Queensland scientist Fabio Costa told the university's news service (via Nashville Public Radio). "However if you stopped that individual from becoming infected — that would eliminate the motivation for you to go back and stop the pandemic in the first place," Costa adds Costa co-authored the time travel theory research paper with university of Queensland's honors undergraduate student Germain Tobar.
"This is a paradox — an inconsistency that often leads people to think that time travel cannot occur in our universe," Costa explains, referring the "grandfather paradox" which was recently referenced in Christopher Nolan's Tenet movie.
Using 2020's coronavirus pandemic as an example, the researchers laid out how major world events are inevitable. "You might try and stop patient zero from becoming infected, but in doing so you would catch the virus and become patient zero, or someone else would," Tobar said. "No matter what you did, the salient events would just recalibrate around you."
Best-selling sci-fi author Blake Crouch weighed in on the subject, who has written extensively about time travel, said the new study is in line with what some time travel tropes have suggested. "The universe is deterministic and attempts to alter Past Event X are destined to be the forces which bring Past Event X into being," Crouch told NPR. "So the future can affect the past. Or maybe time is just an illusion. But I guess it's cool that the math checks out."
Time travel is ultimately a big headache but is a notion which is fun to fantasize about, nonetheless. Do you have a time travel theory you believe in more than others? Is Back to the Future "a bunch a bullsh-t," as Scott Lang claimed in Avengers: Endgame? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram!