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Photo by: Bob Owen

A team of physicists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have reaffirmed Einstein’s theory that nothing can travel faster than light.

Not Terminators. Not DeLoreans. Not even Austin Powers.

This team, led by Prof. Shengwang Du, tested a single photon’s capacity for speed and determined that even in a vacuum, the photon’s velocity could not surpass the speed of light. As Du stated in a press release from the university, “…our results bring a closure to the debate on the true speed of information carried by a single photon.”

Ten years ago, time travel dreams were stoked by a controlled study in which optical pulses appeared to travel faster than light. That buzz was killed when scientists discovered that it was only a visual effect. Still, the velocity of a single photon was unknown, and speculations of time travel were still hotly debated by physicists and scientists. Prof. Shengwang Du and his team at HKUST managed to isolate single photons to test their speed and prove that, yes, Einstein was right all along.

This news should come as a comfort to China, who banned time travel in film and on television last March, on the grounds that history was being treated frivolously, and should not be portrayed as changeable.

Next up for Prof. Du and his team? A controlled study as to whether Freaky Friday could really happen. Well, that’s my suggestion, anyway.

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About The Author

Anne Merritt

Anne Merritt has lived in Canada, Europe, and Asia. She teaches ESL, writes, haggles, hikes, and wears sunscreen fanatically. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, GoOverseas.com, and The Compass. Check out her blog.

  • http://twitter.com/onceatraveler Turner Wright

    But that doesn’t address wormholes at all…

    • Ernesto

      Agreed. All this proves is that photons, shockingly, travel at the speed of light in a vacuum.

  • Bill Richardson

    It’s like saying that I can’t travel faster than 110MPH, because that’s the fastest my car will go!

    • Breck

      It’s a little bit more complicated than that. Basically, the energy needed to accelerate increases the faster you go. At the speed of light it requires an infinite amount of energy to accelerate even a tiny little but. So you can’t accelerate past the speed of light

  • AceTracer

    This has zero to do with time travel. You’ve made your own conclusions about what this means based on science fiction movies you’ve seen. Ridiculous.

  • Umbralupinus

    As far as I have heard, faster than light travel being discussed as a method of time travel is old hat anyways. I’m pretty sure its about bending space time around the craft now.

  • Lonewolf17

    Yes, this is very misleading. True, it is proven that you cannot travel faster than light – BUT – wormholes allow you to theoretically CHEAT light. If a wormhole was ever discovered/created, and we could pass information or objects through it, time travel back in time would indeed be possible. The catch is you could only travel back no further than when the wormhole was created.

    Also, “time travel” to the FUTURE is very much possible and proven. We even have to calibrate our satellites to compensate for it, as their immense speeds mean they travel microseconds into the future over periods of time.

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