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Time reflections sound like science fiction, but they were just proven to be real

Published Mar 18th, 2023 8:13PM EDT
time reflections
Image: Quality Stock Arts / Adobe

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For more than 50 years, scientists have theorized that a special kind of reflection known as time reflections have existed in the realm of quantum mechanics. However, proving the existence of this intriguing mechanic has always seemed impossible, at least until recently.

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

But these reflections require what scientists call a uniform variation across their entire electromagnetic field. Because of this, scientists have always believed that time reflections would require too much energy for us to observe them 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 into a time mirror wouldn’t show you your face, instead you’d see your back. Image source: HBCY/Amazon

To accomplish 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 whenever they wanted, increasing the impedance throughout the metal strip. The sudden change then caused the signals to carry time reflections successfully.

The researchers published the results of these findings in a paper in the journal Nature Physics. Accomplishing such a feat wasn’t easy, but the discovery here could completely change how some scientists approach this intriguing mechanic in the future. If nothing else, proving the existence of time reflections is a huge step forward in the field of quantum mechanics. And it answers a question that has nagged scientists for over five decades.

The researchers note that these special quantum reflections also behave differently than our standard spatial reflections. As such, the time reflections echo the last part of the signal first. That means if you were to stare into a time mirror, you wouldn’t see your face looking back at you. Instead, you’d be staring at your back.

The study of time travel isn’t a new one, and neither is the quest to prove the existence of time reflections. But now that scientists have managed to reverse time on a quantum level, and even showcase how time reflections happen, perhaps we’ll see additional breakthroughs in this field popping up over the next several years.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.