Here is the entire introduction from my new book, How to Time Travel. Enjoy!

Introduction

Few subjects evoke more emotion than time travel, the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space. Humankind’s fascination with time travel dates back thousands of years. Although there is no consensus recognizing which written work was the first to discuss time travel, many scholars argue that the Mahabharata, from Hindu mythology, is the first, dating between 700 BCE (Before the Common/Current/Christian Era) and 300 CE (Common/Current/Christian Era). The Mahabharata, which is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, relates the story of King Revaita, who travels to heaven to meet the deity Brahma. When King Revaita returns to Earth, he is shocked to learn that many ages have passed. In today’s science, we would assert King Revaita experienced time dilation.

What is time dilation? It is a scientific fact that time moves slower for any mass accelerated near the speed of light. If that mass were a clock, for example, the hands of the clock would appear to be moving slower than a clock in the hand of an observer at rest. That phenomenon is termed time dilation. If King Revaita used a spaceship capable of speeds near the speed of light to visit Brahma, a roundtrip journey that would appear to King Revaita to take one year would result in a time passage of thirty years on Earth. This may seem like science fiction, but time dilation is a well-established, experimentally verified aspect of Einstein’s special theory of relativity; more about this later.

Arguably, the greatest single written work that laid the foundation to fire the imagination of today’s generation regarding time travel is H. G. Wells’s classic novel, The Time Machine, published in 1895. It has inspired numerous popular movies, television programs, novels, and short stories. Why are we humans so obsessed with time travel? It appears to be an innate longing. How many times have you wished that you could go back to a specific point in time and select a different action? We all do it. Consider the number of times you have replayed a specific situation in your mind. Psychologists tell us we replay an event in our minds when the outcome is not finished to our satisfaction. This has accounted for numerous nights of tossing and turning. Another common need is to seek answers to important questions from a firsthand perspective. Perhaps you would like to be a witness during the resurrection of Christ, or be a witness behind the grassy knoll during the Kennedy assassination. Perhaps you miss a loved one who has passed on, and you would like to go back in time to embrace that loved one again.

Some of us also dream about time travel to the future. What outcomes will result from our decisions? Imagine the prosperity and happiness that could be ours if we were able to travel to the future. We would be able to witness the outcome of any decision, return to the present, and guide our lives accordingly. Picking the right profession or choosing the right mate would be a certainty. We could ensure there would be no missteps in our life. A life of leisure and prosperity would be ours for the taking.

It is little wonder that many people ask this deceptively simple question: Is time travel possible? The majority of the scientific community, including myself, says a resounding yes. The theoretical foundation for time travel, based on the solutions to Einstein’s equations of relativity, is widely accepted by the scientific community. The next question, which is the most popular question, is how to time travel. Of all the questions in science, the keyword phrase “how to time travel” is close to the top of Internet search engine searches. According to Google, the largest search engine in the world, there are 2,240,000 worldwide monthly searches for the keyword phrase “how to time travel,” as of this writing. Unfortunately, it is the most difficult question to answer.

Obviously, interest in time travel is high, and what people want to know most is how to time travel. This high interest, combined with the intriguing real science behind time travel, is what inspired me to write this book.

At this point, I would like to set your expectations. We are going to embark on a marvelous journey. We will examine the real science of time travel, the theoretical foundation that has most of the scientific community united that time travel is possible. We will also examine the obstacles to time travel, and there are many. However, even in the face of all the obstacles, most of the scientific community agrees it is theoretically possible to time travel. The largest issue in time travel is not the theoretical science. It is the engineering. Highly trained theoretical physicists understand the theoretical science of time travel. However, taking the theory and building a time machine capable of human time travel has proved a formidable engineering task. It has not been done, but we are amazingly close. We have already built time machines capable of sending subatomic particles into the future. If you will pardon the pun, it is just a matter of time before we engineer our way through the time travel barrier and enable human time travel.

In setting your expectations, I promise you significant insight into the real science of time travel and an equally incredible insight into the obstacles to time travel. I cannot promise that with this knowledge you will be able to overcome the obstacles and engineer how to time travel. However, you may be the one person destined to harness the science, glean the engineering simplicity, and journey in time. There is only one way to find out, namely, read on.

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