Time reflections sound like science fiction, but their reality has just been proven

For more than 50 years, scientists have theorized that there is a special type of reflection in quantum mechanics known as time reflection. However, proving the existence of this fascinating mechanic has always seemed impossible, at least until recently.

While the term “time reflection” might reinforce images from time-traveling movies and science fiction, these reflections aren’t actually time travel. Instead, a time reflection occurs whenever an entire medium in which an electromagnetic wave is propagating completely changes course. This causes part of the wave to reverse and transform its frequency.

But these reflections require what scientists call a smooth variation across their entire electromagnetic field. Because of this, scientists have always believed that time reflections would require too much energy to observe in action. However, scientists from the Advanced Science Research Center at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City have successfully observed such a reflection.

reflection in a mirror
Looking in a time mirror would not show you your face but your back. Image Credit: HBCY/Amazon

To pull off this spectacle, the researchers sent broadband signals through a strip of metal filled with electronic switches, all connected to reservoir capacitors. This allowed the researchers to trigger the switches at any time, increasing the impedance throughout the metal strip. The sudden change then caused the signals to successfully carry time reflections.

The researchers published the results of these findings in an article in the scientific journal natural physics. Achieving such a feat was not easy, but the discovery here could completely change the way some scientists approach these fascinating mechanics in the future. Last but not least, the proof of the existence of time reflections is a major advance in the field of quantum mechanics. And it answers a question that has puzzled scientists for over five decades.

The researchers note that these special quantum reflections also behave differently than our usual spatial reflections. As such, the time reflections reflect the latter part of the signal first. That is, if you were staring into a time mirror, you would not see your face looking back at you. Instead, you would stare at your back.

The study of time travel is not new, and neither is the pursuit of evidence for the existence of time reflections. But now that scientists have managed to reverse time at the quantum level and even show how time reflections occur, we may see more breakthroughs in this field in the years to come.


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