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Large Hadron Collider, a time machine?

Large Hadron Collider, a time machine?

It could be the first machine capable of causing matter to travel backwards in time.

Washington: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest atom smasher that started regular operations last year, could be the first machine capable of causing matter to travel backwards in time.

"Our theory is a long shot," admitted Tom Weiler, physics professor at Vanderbilt University, "but it doesn't violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints".

One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson - the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass.

If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time, according to a Vanderbilt statement.

According to Weiler and Chui Man Ho's theory, these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or in the past.

"One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes," Weiler said.

"Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example.

"However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future," added Weiler.

Weiler and Ho's theory is based on the M-theory, a "theory of everything". A small cadre of theoretical physicists have developed the M-theory to the point that it can accommodate the properties of all the known subatomic particles and forces, including gravity.

But it requires 10 or 11 dimensions instead of our familiar four. This has led to the suggestion that our universe may be like a four-dimensional membrane or "brane" floating in a multi-dimensional space-time called the "bulk".
first published:March 17, 2011, 17:55 IST