Are the time machines coming true?

The subject of whether traveling through time is possible came up again recently when Gordey Lesovik from Moscow Physics and Technology Institute made a statement. He said in his statement: “We succeeded to create an artificial condition in reverse motion of the time’s thermodynamic direction.” What does his statement mean? We asked Prof. Dr. Metin Arık from Boğaziçi University Physics Department, whether it is possible to travel through time. He said that the experiment does not make traveling through time possible as in the science-fiction movies, rather it is just a development in terms of the thermodynamic of the time.
Kenan Özcan

According to the article published in Scientific Reports, the experiment was conducted with quantum computers and used a “time machine” composed of electrons and quantum bits, a data science used for quantum computers. The researchers who took part in the experiment compare what has been succeeded in the experiment to the movement in which billiard balls return to the starting position after being dispersed by the opening stroke, and claim that this experiment involves important changes not only about the function of the quantum computers but also about the perceptions of the rules that govern the universe. This experiment brings the question of whether travel through time is possible, as in the science-fiction movies, to the attention of the public for discussion.


We asked Prof. Dr. Metin Arık, a faculty member in the Department of Physics at Boğaziçi University, about this experiment. He said that the statement “a step back in time” is not accurate, and that this experiment is about an improvement on the side of the time’s thermodynamics. “We observe a course from orderliness to complexity in the physical systems of the nature. This is called increase in entropy, and some physicists say that the time should be defined in the direction of increasing entropy, but I do not agree with that idea.” Arık points out that what has been achieved in this experiment is transforming a state from dispersed to ordinate, and that physicists working on quantum computers have achieved a very big experimental success with this development.  

“Traveling through time is not possible with todays technology”

Prof. Dr. Arık, explained the working principle of the experiment: “For example, if we gather trillion times trillion gas molecules in the corner of a room and then release them, they would spread all over the room. We can recollect them in the corner of the room if we reverse their speed after they spread in the room; but it is impossible to do that, because even the smallest deviation would prevent this. There are only 5-10 atoms in this experiment, not trillion times trillion. Besides, the experiment takes place in a very cold environment.”

Prof. Dr. Metin Arık says that people cannot travel through time with the current technology, and explained this situation with “causality” principle in physics: “according to the causality principle, an incident at one point could affect another incident only in a later moment in time, the opposite has never been observed. This experiment does not disproof this principle. What has been done in this experiment is returning to the A ordinate position after starting with A ordinate position and going to B dispersed position, by means of controlling circumstances of the experiment to a very high degree. This only indicates the high capacity of playing with molecules.”


Prof. Dr. Arık also touched upon potential changes this experiment can bring into the field of physics, and stated that quantum computers will be transformed to have the capacity to process information in the future, while they are solely used for entering information today. He talked about the changes these developments would bring, through a perspective from the history of physics: “We first had laws of mechanics founded by Newton, later it was found out that heat would also be transformed into mechanical energy through thermodynamics. Then we left mechanic age behind when electric and electromagnetics were found. We are now in the age of electromagnetics; we have progressed so much that we can fit computers into our pockets while they were as big as a room in the past. The next phase will be to apply quantum theory to technology, it is already being applied a little now; however, now we only get information by loading it over the atoms, in the future we will be able to process this information with quantum computers.

Prof. Dr. Arık said that there is no widespread progress regarding quantum computers in Turkey when we asked about it: “These developments are not so transparent, because this is now a matter of power between countries.” 


News: Özgür Duygu Durgun, Gizem Seher / Corporate Communication Office

*The article can be accessed here: