'Hole in space-time' created by scientists
This illustration shows how a temporal cloaking device could allow a person to go undetected at a museum.
January 4th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

'Hole in space-time' created by scientists

You've heard of invisibility cloaks concealing people in "Harry Potter" movies, but wrap your head around this one: Scientists have created a way of cloaking space-time itself.

It's still preliminary, but Alexander Gaeta, a physicist at Cornell University, and colleagues are making strides in this direction. He and colleagues report their feat in the journal Nature.

They're not just talking about a device that would make an object invisible. Instead, the idea behind space-time cloaking is, for a brief period of time, to make an event undetectable by light. So far, scientists can do it for a small fraction of a second, but all kinds of quirkiness would ensue if technology could take the concept to the extreme.

For instance, if you had a surveillance camera filming a person running from point A to point B, the recording would show the person appear to move instantaneously from A to B, with nothing in between. "It is of course an illusion, there is no de-materialization and re-materialization, but it would look a bit like a 'Star Trek' transporter," said Martin McCall, of Imperial College London, who had originally outlined the space-time cloaking concept in 2010.

Just as bizarre, someone could rob a safe while a surveillance camera always shows the safe door locked, since it would appear as if the opening of the safe never happened, he said.

McCall's paper in the Journal of Optics described a theory of space-time cloaking using "metamaterials" - artificial materials that interact with and control electromagnetic waves, and are designed at a molecular level.

Gaeta's team has made this idea a reality, although not the way McCall's group described. Gaeta and colleagues used devices called "split-time lenses," which slow down part of a light beam and speed up another part to create a gap in the beam that can then be put back together. The beam would not detect an event in that gap, and anyone observing would not know there was a gap. "It will seem as if nothing ever happened," he said.

Previously, researchers have explored spatial cloaking - that is, manipulating space around an object to keep light rays away. But Gaeta's group is able to control light to keep it away from a certain instant in time. "Anything that occurred in that instant wouldn't modify the light beam at all," he said.

The gap of time they've achieved is about 40 trillionths of a second, which is shorter than you can imagine. With current technology, Gaeta predicts his group may be able to get to the order of tens of nanoseconds, which is still pretty small.

"We’re not changing time," he said. "What we’re really changing is a light beam."

If the technology were to improve substantially, a person could pass through a light beam without disturbing it - think about a security sensor beam of light in a museum that you could walk through undetected, for instance.

But McCall says it's unlikely that cloaks of this nature could be created to last for minutes or even seconds. That's because, since light travels at about 300,000 kilometers per second, in order to cloak a second, you'd need an apparatus 300,000 kilometers long - and that's more than 20 times the diameter of Earth.

"Whilst sophisticated methods exist to 'slow' light down, these would need to be combined with even more sophisticated methods to modulate its speed at different places at different times," McCall said. "I can't rule it out, but it represents a level of sophistication that we cannot approach with current technology."

Still, there are applications for this technology that are easier to achieve. There's the possibility of sending an emergency signal down an optical fiber without interrupting the data stream that's already there. And other uses may be found in optoelectronic circuits and communications, McCall said.

Gaeta's group is putting the idea of cloaking space-time into practice much faster than McCall expected.

"I had imagined that with best efforts, it would be a year or two before we saw anything like a space-time cloak being made in the lab," McCall said. "How wrong we were! It took Alex and his team just a few months!"

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Filed under: Discoveries
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Alexis Wittman

    Create a space in time, and fall into it...

    March 18, 2013 at 12:10 am |
  2. can anyone learn to draw

    My brother recommended I may like this website. He used to be entirely right. This publish actually made my day. You cann't believe just how so much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    April 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Mohammad Shafiq Khan

    The article 'Experimental & Theoretical Evidences of Fallacy of Space-time Concept and Actual State of Existence of the Physical Universe' proves that Albert Einstein with the help of a trickery has been responsible for misleading the world to the materialism and atheism. Aristotle and Newton could not be blamed for adopting the philosophy where the existence of God is not justified because the secret of existence of God being in the nature of light/radiation; which secrets were unfolded in the nineteenth century. Then Lorentz and Einstein misinterpreted these secrets to mislead the humanity. The article is written in a very simple manner so that even the undergraduate students of physics could understand. Let this article reach every professor, researcher, teacher and student of physics of the world. Kindly read the article and do your responsibility as a human being. The article is available on http://www.wbabin.net, http://www.worldsci.net, ViXra.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • ST Mannew

      Mohammad Shafiq Khan, You are correct. Time does not exist in objective reality and is nothing more than a human construct. If time actually existed a person in LA could call someone in Montreal, Canada by telephone and because of the different time zones it would take hours to hear their voice, the person in LA would speak and it would take 3 hours to hear in Montreal. This does not happen, so time does not exist, and is nothing more than a fallacious concept. Time just seems to exist because humans die, but we do not die because of time but because of entropy. Humans found mathematics and “thought” everything could be measured, even things that don’t exist. Imagine how much money has been spent on this kind of foolishness, the western world as blown more money on this kind of “conjuring” and called it science for 200 years, than it as spent feeding the poor. This is a shameful indictment of humanity.
      Scientists no longer know how to interpret their own data; they have become social engineers rather than scientists.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • Eulogistics@hotmail.com

        "and because of the different time zones it would take hours to hear their voice"

        I can't tell if you're serious or not. Please tell me you're not.

        January 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • shafiqifs

        Well said. They are sensationalising things which people cannot understand nor they themselves understand. This is to justify wasting public money for so-called research. The article I referred proves that there is no space-time concept whatsoever I fail to understand what hole they have detected. They are befooling the world on the name of science. Come on CNN ask these scientists who found the hole to read the article & then tell what hole they have found. They are wasting the wealth of the poor for non-sense research with which poverty & hunger could be removed.

        January 29, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • MikeyZ

      Dude, kick up your Abilify dose just a bit.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Urantiarevelation

      The revelation given to mankind by Cellestial beings called Urantia explains all of this stuff. Just check out the book online and it will help. You can read it online for free at the urantia. org website.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • James Hawk III

      @Mohammed Khan – Dude, I read your paper. I could be wrong, but I think the equation you present for Doppler effect under accelerated (angular) motion is missing a factor–it certainly doesn't match the other references I checked. One other thing: flogging your own papers on blogs like this, versus having them vetted in serious peer review journals is the wrong way to go. I could go on and on about the mistakes you're making, but then you'd just threaten to sue me for defamation, even though you were the one that pointed me to the paper in the first place. (I've been through this before with other fringe theorists. If you're going to step up to the plate, you have to be prepared to hit the fast ball. I think you'd be a better physicist if you took your ego out of the equation, sir.)

      January 27, 2012 at 7:25 am |
      • shafiqifs

        @Hawk III Comeon Dude show me a single mistake. Write the mistake in detail. I wii reply. The flying comment would not serve any purpose.

        January 29, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  4. Josh

    "This illustration shows how a temporal cloaking device could allow a person to go undetected at a museum."

    Ok. The actual science reported here is interesting, and is valid news. But this caption is silly and laughable. Come on CNN, you can do better than that.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  5. Future Review

    This is the reason why when the government makes these types of discoveries, no one hears about them for at least 40 years!

    January 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • ST Mannew

      this is not a discovery it is nothing more than a optical illusion. Is David Copperfield now a scientist? Because if this is what passes for science today then they ought to give him a Nobel prize for illusions.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  6. AnthonyC

    Lots of good applications here: soldiers, guardian angels, professional criminals, etc.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • MAR695

      Thank you gentlemen, to all of you who achieved this remarkable first little step towards "FTL Travel".


      The Future...

      January 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  7. yeti37

    "Nothing to see here".....move along....HA!

    January 5, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Rich

      I c wat u did thar.

      January 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  8. Beefburger

    "...his group may be able to get to the order of tens of nanoseconds..."

    Wow, they wasted how much money on this? I am stunned by the sheer magnitude of uselessness that this represents.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Primewonk

      When Volta put together his battery in 1800, what was it good for.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Oh really

      when this dude named Charles Babbage designed a machine called "Analytical Engine", did you know what the beefheads like you said? and do you know what that eventually led to? hint.. hint.. you are reading this on one of those machines

      January 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Danram

      Dullards like you said the same thing about the money invested in the space program back in the 1960's, yet every piece of electronic equipment that we now take for granted can trace its roots back to the massive R&D expenditures of that era.

      January 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Snowyowl

      Beefburger – Too much red meat in your diet perhaps? Can lead to mad cow disease.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  9. Professor Trollworth

    I hope they create a black hole that destroys the Earth. That would be cool. I hope they do it on December 21st, 2012.

    January 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Snowyowl

      I hope they do it before the Republican National Convention.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  10. mejazzbo

    Sheldon has been busy.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Marine5484

      Lol you and I both know that he just wants to push the shiny red button.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
      • Thatoneguy


        January 5, 2012 at 1:46 am |
  11. John G.

    First, this does NOT stop TIME, rather it simply manipulates light to make it appear as if nothing happened. According to special relativity time flow depends on the speed of the object with respect to an inertial reference frame or the strength of the gravitational field around the object NONE of these properties were manipulated in this experiment.

    Anyway Search youtube for "Collateral Murder – Wikileaks – Iraq", this is what the "time cloak" will be used to cover up.

    January 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  12. Seriously?

    "This illustration shows how a temporal cloaking device could allow a person to go undetected at a museum."

    LOL. Oh I totally get it now, thanks to this extremely informative collage of crappy clip art. Bravo.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Nisroc

      The military will get involved very soon and funding will go though the roof. it wilol be nothing more then another weapon used to destroy

      January 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • TrvlSEA

        It will be used to cover up the act of destruction. Prove it!

        January 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Antonio

    So should I worship a guy because he is a "man of science" or a "scientist." Scientist contribute to society just like anybody else. They are no better than anyone. You go to college for several years to learn a little bit about how the enormous universe works and some other guy goes to college to learn how to defend your geeky butts when war breaks out. Some people in the science community really do think they are gods and they give the rest of you humble and civil tolerant scientist a bad rap. There are a great number of highly respected christian scientists who don't agree with all the atheist crap mainstream science spits out, by the way.

    January 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Atheist

      And out you spit the Christian crap.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • kevthegerman

        no kidding, go away christian scientist.. aka magician.

        January 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • kevthegerman

      Jesus is using this cloaking device.. antonio knows this... the great invisilble man we must worship scientifically exposed!

      January 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • mickey1313

      christian + scientist= NOT POSSIBLE. You cannot devote your life to truth and then live a lie, they are mutually exclusive.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
      • Beefburger

        You can neither prove nor disprove either viewpoint. The Big Bang is as much a THEORY as Creationism. Until then you only have the Law of Conservation of Reality; reality is decided by a majority of perception.

        January 5, 2012 at 12:59 am |
      • I'm The Best!

        No... The big bang has some solid science and math behind it. Creationism has neither. You may not be able to prove the big bang but it is not "as much a THEORY as Creationism". It is much more than that. Your example is like comparing the theory of gravity to the theory that elves exist. One has good science behind it, the other doesn't

        January 5, 2012 at 8:26 am |
      • Primewonk

        @Beefburger, since you claim that creationism is a theory – in a scientific context – please post the citation to the peer-reviewed scientific journal where it was published.

        January 5, 2012 at 10:52 am |
      • Maelius

        @Beefburger – Creationism is the baseless imaginings of human beings where as the Big Bang theory follows the scientific method and is the currently accepted theory to the beginning of the univers/multiverse. Of course, all theories can be disproved when new facts are learned....

        January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • shafiqifs

      well said. The science today is atheistic crap which started with Darwin & Einstein; my referred article on the post shows that Einstein had been atricker & a fraud. Soon Darwin will be proved to be an ignorant being.

      January 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  14. clearfog

    Articles like this are 'dumbed down" so that those who are unfamiliar with the language or concepts can nevertheless gain some understanding of the science. There is nothing wrong with this. Even scientists need dumbing down in areas outside of their expertise. From the content of most of the posts, the article was not dumbed down enough. This article was a summary of an article published in Nature by scientists at Cornell. For those who think that the article was dumb, go buy a copy of Nature and read the real thing. Good luck on understanding it.

    January 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      As a scientist myself (Chemist) I completely agree, but would avoid the term dumbing down...

      January 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • Beefburger

        How about "upwardly disingenious"?

        January 5, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  15. Chris

    CNN is so bad at articles like these. None of this has to do with Space-Time. CNN is seriously so stupid with tech and science articles. Why do they always have the person that knows NOTHING about the topic write the article? This is article chicken feed for morons.

    January 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Read my post below. The object moves through the hole in space-time making it appear to move as fast as or faster than the speed of light to all observers. The universe itself does not see the object move

      January 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • Outta sight

        No. The object exists and acts continuously in space-time, but for part of that interval, light is refracted in such a way that you can't observe it visually. It should be obvious that visual observation is not a necessary condition for an object's existence. The quarks that are part of the atoms that go to make up the skin of your fingertips are not observable to your eyes, but they still exist. Neither is a non-observable interval a "hole" in space time. If a cell phone moves into a shielded building where there is no signal, cell phone users are just in an area where signal is blocked, not outside of their calling area. What the experiments described in the article have done is block observation, and that only via one signal – light. Existence in space time remains, and a different mechanism of observation, measuring air disturbance or gravity or chemical composition, would continue to record and observe the object complete with all of its space-time effects.

        January 4, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Light is everything. The only other way to tell if something is there is through the forces that act on it such as gravity. We know the atoms of our fingers are there because of forces. If light is blocked then the only way to tell if something is there is by gravity and the strong and weak forces. Electro-magnetism would even be blocked. It may be a stretch to say the event never happened, but even fewer atoms will be affected by this object than usual. So I guess its ALMOST like it never happened

        January 5, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  16. Snow

    Space-time article that has nothing to do with space or time.. All this experiment is showing is that light can be bent around an object to mask it from being seen by visible light spectrum.. It is like saying "wearing camouflage to blend in with surroundings bends space and time"

    where the heck did they get the link to either space or time?

    January 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • clearfog

      Your camouflage analogy would be correct if the manipulation were spatial. Previous work had been performed on that aspect of "cloaking." However, this work involved manipulation of the speed of light and therefore, in a manner of speaking, time. Reread the 9th paragraph. This is not a Predator cloak or that of a cuttlefish; it is something entirely different.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Outta sight

        The speed of light always varies depending on the material it interacts with. It is only "constant" in a vacuum. Everyday materials "manipulate" the speed at which a ray of light travels all the time, which is what makes things underwater look different than above the surface. None of that involves the physical constant "c" (defined as speed of light *In A Vacuum*). Gaeta's team are talking about using lenses, i.e. tangible materials, i.e. light interacts with things, so they are just doing what matter ordinarily does.

        January 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Nothing like your analogy, this is warping space and time to make it as though the event never happened. The object is moving without being seen by the universe itself. To all observers, the object teleported, to the object, time went on as normal.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • I'm even bester

        Totally incorrect. This has NOTHING to do with warping space or time. It's simply an experiment with slowing down light beams enough so that an object can avoid getting hit by them. Just because something is able to pass through a beam of visible light without getting hit does not in any way mean "the event never happened" or that it is invisible "to all observers" or "the universe". What if you were looking at the event with thermal vision? You'd still see it happen normally. What if you were watching the event using sonar? You'd still still see it happen normally. Just because you can't see it happen with your naked eyes doesn't mean it isn't happening.

        January 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        If you're in that zone, even thermal won't work. It's just another type of light like visual light, it would be altered as well. Sonar would but that's only because you're still interacting with the atoms in the air. In a vacuum where it wouldn't interact with anything, if no light touched it either, then the event never happened.

        January 5, 2012 at 7:56 am |
      • Still Bester

        In what "zone"? Oh, now we're in a vacuum? Now you're just making up your own experiment in your mind. And again, just because light doesn't touch it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. There is a lot going on in this universe that we cannot see. Can we see dark matter? No, but we know it's there.

        January 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Okay, I'm sorry, it may be a stretch to say it never happened, but all electromagnetic forces would be invisible. (those are the ones that make photons). Invisible as in never happened, the object would have no effect on any other object electromagnetically in the universe. Yes, gravity would be normal, yes, the strong and weak forces would still be seen. But for the sizes that they are talking about, electromagnetism is the only force that really has any sway.

        So yes, the event still happened, but 99% of the information that shows that the event happened has been hidden from everything else in the universe. So unless you have some way to see gravity's effect on small objects, or the minute forces of the weak force, or the tiny distances of the strong force, then to you, the event never happened. For anyone looking at this scientifically, (where gravity, the strong and weak forces are usually ignored) the event never happened.

        -I'm The Best

        January 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
      • I'm The Best!

        Oh, and before you ask, it's any scientist not looking at overly massive objects or sub-atomic distances. They usually ignore just about everything else because everything else makes up so little of what is happening to the object that it can be ignored and still get an accurate answer/measurement.

        January 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Oh really

      But the event did happen.. you just do not have a means to measure (or detect) it.. or you are fooling the means for measurement (or detection) that you normally use.. That does not mean the even did not happen.

      Hole in space-time would mean the event can not be detected by any means

      January 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Oh really

        So, I think that camouflage analogy still holds

        January 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
      • Rich

        Oh, the ramifications to quantum mechanics makes my head hurt...

        January 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  17. clearfog

    When the mechanical loom was developed, people had no idea that the technology would lead to the CPU. Even Einstein did not anticipate and in fact affirmatively discounted the possibility that E=mc2 could lead to practical applications. The history of science is replete with example of unanticipated consequences conferring great benefits. Pure science is something that should be pursued even if no one can think of a practical benefit arising from it. Sorry that so many were disappointed with the article intended to bring science to non-scientists. You can read the real peer reviewed article or Harry Potter, your choice.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  18. John

    Ahhh! Suckered again by CNN to get me to read another one of they're crappy articles.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Same

      Agreed. Sigh.

      January 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  19. Kelly

    An article about science immediately followed by diatribes from morons...ironic...for those that said their money could have been spent somewhere else...it was...on your cable bill...go back to watching the Kardashians and leave science to scientists...your money is safe...

    January 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Milky Pirate

      An article about science immediately followed by the diatribes of smug college freshman who took a class in something and now think they know everything about everything.

      In case you haven't looked, most of the dumb comments in science and technology forums come from people (like yourself) who act like some type of big shot.

      I would hate to break it to you, but people who actually know a thing or two about science don't generally act like that because they understand that the more we know the less we know.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • clearfog

      There is definitely an anti-science mind set in America. It is not just from the religious zealots, but also from the general public. I suppose it has always been that way. Hopefully, it will not always be so. In the meantime, articles like this may inspire a few and the few will, despite the pitchfork and torches cadre, will move the progression of science along to the point where they can have pitchforks and flashlights.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • Beefburger

        You see "religious zealots", everyone else sees militantly atheistic, self-important technocrats. Who until recently called those that found proof of a faster than light particle heretics. Politicians in lab coats. Btw, I have never met Richard Dawkins, but yet you would say that I have to accept that he exists on faith.

        January 5, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  20. kj

    The author definately has a dark side with several references of using for "negative" puposes. Let's reframe it for use with medical or science and time travel or something a little more puposeful than stealing. Nice!

    January 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Guest

      KJ, totally with you on this one; and I was thinking the same thing when I read the article. CNN must have their junior reporters or interns with no journalist integrity write this stuff. To your point, all we hear about are applications to Hollywood science fiction, exciting thievery and such. There's little mention or even an intent of any insightful scientific or medical applications for this technology. Grade 6 on entertaining, but a 1 on providing any useful information.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  21. TheBossSaid

    If man can hide events, then so can God. How do you figure He hid 4 billion years behind the 6000 years He revealed to man?

    January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • clearfog

      God hid the billions of years only from stupid people. To the rest of us, it was not hidden but became obvious as scientific knowledge progressed beyond the bronze age.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • MdN

      Yes, Odin is powerful indeed. Way more powerful than other, false, gods.

      January 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  22. AJ

    People think this is new stuff, but the military has been doing this for years. People have appeared in strange places and not known how they got there. Whole ships have disappeared and reappeared. By the time John Q public hears of something they're working on it's already declassified and useless because they have better stuff.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • MAS

      so...so...SO TRUE!

      January 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Heid Theba

      Isn't this the plot of the movie "The Philadelphia Experiment' and not actual events that took place in the real world?

      January 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • what?

      What people and ships? Please tell me where you get your information from.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  23. Ron

    40 trillionith of a second? Really!!! Boy, all the money spent to achieve that was really worth it, HUH?? I couldn't even think, CRAP! in that length of time!!! Think we could spend our money better, Say, a better battery for electric cars, one that will last more then 2 years! or maybe a faster way to travel in space, or a better space vehicle! The ROMULANS have a better cloaking device! HEHEHE

    January 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Greg

      You're an idiot.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Adam

      I know right? Its ALMOST worth half as much as we lose giving tax breaks to corporations who perpetuate the lies about a magic sky wizard!

      January 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  24. Nebber

    Apparently, the only thing keeping us all from robbing banks and museums are those darn security cameras!

    January 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • obviously you dont think

      Why would you be so stupid to assume that?

      January 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • Allistair

        I think, ironically named Obviously You Don't Think, Nebber was just making a joke. That to read the article, it would appear the ONLY thing standing between me and a bank vault are security cameras.

        January 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  25. Danny C

    I was hoping for some tiny discovery in regard to manipulating time. Think about this. In the last 100 years, we have learned virtually everything we know about "time". About 90% of that in the last 20 years. In other words, our understanding of "time" is growing faster than anything you could name. So here's a question. If man survives long enough, will "time travel" ever be possible? Think 1000 years, 5,000 years, 100,000 years? If your answer is yes, it means people from the future have probably been in every period of recorded history. So why haven't we seen them? Maybe we have. Although we thought they were Aliens.
    If time travel is ever discovered it will be by far the most heavily regulated technology in history, because it will have the potential destructive power of every weapon ever made COMBINED. So why do they pass themselves off as Aliens? Because they can look back on history and see that we thought they were aliens, and if they changed that, everything in history could change, including man's existence on earth. And more than likely, the people who are running "time travel" would be replaced with different people with different ancestors. So they are motivated to follow the rules to a T.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • speedro

      If it were possible, it would already exist.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Time Traveler Jones

        It does. I am from the future.

        January 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Scarano

      Man what did you smoke this morning?

      January 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • ShaneB

      If either of us create a time machine lets agree to come back 5 seconds after you posted that to reply.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Ron

      Time travel would be the most dangerous thing we could ever have unless it was regulated by strictly sience. Say you go back in time and want to see your family, you discover your father is going to kill your mother, you save her by killing him, what happens to you and your sisters and brothers in the future? all the people they touched, thier children! Or you go back in time and invest heavily in Edison just before he invented the lightbulb, now you will be a millionair in your tilme! and all your kids will be millionairs, but what of the timeline where they touched a lot of people and now in the present time, they don't touch these people, See how dangerous time travel can be!!

      January 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Snow

      Time travel is one of the impossible, improbable of all the science fiction ideas.. unless someone has the technology to travel through space in a particular trajectory that matches exactly the path of earth in the expanding universe while traveling in time, one would start on earth but probably end up inside a star somewhere on the other side of a few galaxies..

      considering what we know about the path of heavenly bodies over time in the universe (which is about 0.001% of what is needed), I would say time travel would be possible in.. oh, Never!

      January 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
      • wmurderface

        We do travel through time foward every second of every day it's traveling back through time that is immpossible. I know semantics

        January 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Time travel is not possible for a very, very simple reason: time is relative.

      Everything in the universe experiences time according to the speed of the observer in relation to the speed of the observed. When I am moving quickly to you, you appear slow to me. If I could travel at near light speed for 10 years of my time and return, generations of my family would no longer be alive. They would have lived their entire lives and passed away while only 10 years would have passed for me. This is not science fiction, this is fact. And it applies to everything in the universe. To take it to a more extreme level, part of your own body are aging at different rates. For example, when you wave your hand, it is aging more slowly than your legs at that moment.

      The differences are so miniscule, however, that we have no perception of them. So, it is natural to think of time as linear and not relational. However, to try to take a mass of moving parts (a person) and somehow stop the moving parts and then send it "back" through a universe of moving parts is not possible.

      The very question of time travel itself is not a valid question, since time is not constant.

      January 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  26. Jb

    smoke and mirrors people, cnn just made it sound fancy.......NEXT

    January 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Everything in Moderation

      You do it, then.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • obviously you dont think

        He did do it, he explained the story just how it is. Headline is declaritive, yet the meat is purely speculation and attempting. Nothing is here but smoke and mirrors.

        January 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  27. Paganguy

    More mumble-jumble to get research money.
    Slight of hand. Magicians have been doing it for centuries.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Derr.

      mumbo jumbo

      January 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  28. msadr

    wait what? I feel stupid, but I don't get it. I understand that something would be hidden from our perception. But would you not still perceive the passage of time? Would there not be several seconds between the man appearing at point A and then appearing at point B?

    January 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Li Tai Fang

      Correct. Another sensational headline that fails to deliver.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Allistair

      I don't fully understand all the physics. But since they are insterting this gap within a beam of light, the man would be moving at the spead of the gap, which is the speed of light. So, he would appear to instantly move from point A to point B. I'm basing this on the statement that you would need a device 300,000 km long to cover one second.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  29. Milky Pirate

    I once saw on Metalocalypse where Nathan Explosion used a paper bag to travel through time at the speed of regular time. I have tried it and it works!

    Just put a paper bag (not plastic or you will kill yourself) on your head and wait for however long you want, then take the bag off of your head and BOOM! you are in the future.

    January 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • palintwit

      Bristoltwit Palin likes to put a bedsheet over her head and then break wind.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • Milky Pirate

        Wow, I bet that gets results!

        January 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  30. MIT

    Doc Brown is still alive? I hadn't heard

    January 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  31. jimbo

    the article is misleading. They did not create a hole in space and time. they delayed a light beam to hide an object. the writer is just trying to sensationilize it.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • FrankR

      You are correct. The headline is misleading.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bud

      I didn't notice until now that this is the reason they put that phrase in quotes. I agree, it's misleading..undoubtedly a cheap way to gather an audience, but a good way to drive readers away from such sensationalism.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Paul Lester

      All CNN headlines are misleading. But the concept is simple and the result good and the applications huge. Glad to hear Gaeta is still doing well on his optics research. How are Lovelace, Fleischman and Cool doing? I miss the A&EP labs.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • elandau

      Hello everyone, I ran the idea of "hole in spacetime" by Professor McCall and he said it's fine to call it that – this cloaking device is essentially creating this illusion of something having never happened. We don't mean to mislead you. Thanks for reading.

      Elizabeth Landau,

      January 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
      • min

        What was Professor McCall's area of expertise? What is described in this article is nothing of the sort.

        January 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  32. fred

    sorry piece of journalism, this has nothing to do with space time, but possibly cloaking maybe we can expect future bogus attention grabbing headlines from CNN like Batchild lives or other grocery store rag tag lines

    January 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  33. Mycology

    Dear Scientists,

    I am not anti-science, I am not anti-pursuit of knowledge, but if you don't mind, would you please cure some diseases, solve our pollution / global climate change problems, invent a clean and long term fuel to ween us off the oil from the islamic states,

    and THEN move on to your toys whose main applications will be at the department of defense?


    January 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • cesar

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well said.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • palintwit

      It's typically the other way around. Many of the inventions / devices we use today had their origin in the military.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • Chris


        January 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Milky Pirate

      That would be nice wouldn't it. We seem to spend more time and money causing problems rather than fixing them.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Paula

      You're speaking to the wrong department. Scientists don't wake up in the morning and randomly choose which problems to work on based upon society's needs. If you're a physicist, you don't seek cures for cancer. If you're a neurosurgeon, you don't study singularities and string theory. Those who are educationally equipped to study the problems you seek are actively engaged in doing just that. Keep those grants and endowments coming!

      January 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bobby

      There will never be a cure for any major disease, because there is no MONEY in it, themre will also be a huge spike in population therefore depleatingour resources even faster, sadly as lon as big pharm has their hands in the pants of every politician in washington people will still continue to die from horrible diseases.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rich

      Really? Because being a scientist means that the person has expertise in all those fields you mentioned? Or people aren't allowed to pursue their interests until all the world's problems are solved? I'm just trying to figure out exactly what you want. I mean, it's not like anything useful ever comes out of studying silly things like physics.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Nemo

      We're working on those problems too... it all takes time, inspiration, blood, sweat, tears, and funding from grants that are quickly drying up because the interests in all these areas of research, although still there, is considerably low right now. Inform your politicians that agencies like NSF, NASA, and NIH need tax payer money to generate new grants/keep old ones funded. These grants should be awarded to reputable scientists that produce good research, this in turn creates jobs, in the long run it produces innovations, discoveries, and medicines. It takes time, but it starts with funding.

      Maybe a little over simplified, but generally this is how it works.

      Let's do some research!

      January 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Hib

      DoD pays the bills.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • SalSal Gamboni drank the bong water

      Who do you think is paying for this research....the DOD...

      January 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  34. Boomer in Mo

    The image is not Photoshop but may be Illustrator or something similar. People who have never used Photoshop probably should not refer to Photoshop. It ain't magic, though some days I wish it was.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • mikeD

      Well, aren't you Mr. Know-it-effin'-all?

      January 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Milky Pirate

      It could have been Photoshop or Illustrator or any of a number of other programs. Stop being "that guy" that goes around pretending like you know something about something.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • Reagan Blows Liberals in the Alley

        You mean...like you?

        January 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  35. MrBo

    Cornell scientist? Bah.
    This has Cave Johnson written all over it!

    Think in Portals.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • GLaDOS

      The cake is a lie...

      January 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  36. CT

    Why must it be all related to crime?

    January 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  37. Don Driscoll

    So, contrary to the headline, the scientists did not create a hole in space-time, or anything even remotely like a hole in space-time. They created a way to deceive observers. World of difference.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Milky Pirate

      I have found that almost all of the "Light Years" articles are contrary to their headlines.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Doug

      That was my understanding as well and I was a bit disappointed by that.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Stinky Fish Boy

      I noticed that the headline which would have something to do with black holes or time and space itself being adjusted has nothing to do with delaying a pulse of light. Apparently this article is intended for small children.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • elandau

      Hello everyone, I ran the idea of "hole in spacetime" by Professor McCall and he said it's fine to call it that - this cloaking device is essentially creating this illusion of something having never happened. We don't mean to mislead you. Thanks for reading.

      Elizabeth Landau,

      January 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  38. linda lockwood

    it is funny how they used criminal examples to explain the possible applications.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  39. Larry

    Alcohol has been creating holes in space-time for thousands of years. These scientists act like it's something they discovered recently.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • tluv00

      Same with the snooze button on your alarm. You hit it, blink and it's an hour later.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Pat

      It has saved me from remembering a night of debauchery several times...

      January 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  40. palintwit

    This "hole in space-time" has already been created by physicists at the prestigous Sarah Palin University (Floyd County, Arkansas campus). They are currently using it to cloak that republican presidential candidate phenomenon known as "hole in head-time".

    January 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  41. rkt210

    I'm convinced that this is a common occurrance in my house. I have no other explanation for the number of non-matching socks that come out of the dryer.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  42. BKT1969

    Very interesting topic – but who wrote this crap?

    January 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Terry

      Somebody a whole lot smarter than you.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  43. pipefighter

    Well, beam me up, Mr. Scott.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  44. Hmmm

    The detector is modified with a curvilinear (fish eye) lens that can be corrected for identifying the culprit? Does the process include beating the curve?

    January 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  45. Ken

    Wow, that "illustration" is the worst travesty of Photoshop, or any visual medium for that matter, that I have ever seen.

    January 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Boomer in Mo

      I don't think the image was created in Photoshop, but in Illustrator or something similar. People who don't use Photoshop probably should not refer to it. I can because I use it lots. Much of what TV shows claim it can do can't be done, or not well. It is not magic, though some days I wish it was when you see some of the images people want me to clean up.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
      • Milky Pirate

        It could have been Photoshop or Illustrator or any of a number of other programs. Stop being "that guy" that goes around pretending like you know something about something.

        January 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
      • cjm

        i use (APS) also. that could be done. why would you use a vector based program (AI) to manipulate a raster image that is basically image clipping and applied effects?

        January 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • PhotoshopGuru

        People tend to use the word "Photoshop" much like they use the word "Google", even if they are doing searches with Bing or some other search engine. In context, its often used as a verb rather than a product name.

        January 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  46. Sheila

    When they wrote "quirkiness" – did they really mean Quark-i-ness?

    January 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm |


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