So let’s say you want to buy the next generation gadget, because you like gadgets. There’s a problem though: it’s not out for another three months! What are you to do? You can’t be expected to wait a full three months for something you want right now. What are they thinking? Don’t worry, I have the solution for you. Ever heard of time travel? Now don’t run away thinking this is about Star Trek or the latest Stephen King novel. I’m talking about something that will move you forward in time. No, not by setting your watch forward, that wouldn’t help much at all. I’m talking about you being in the future, as your present self. “Tell me how!” It’s all relative, baby!
I’m sure you’ve heard of Einstein and his famous equation E=MC². I won’t be going into that now, but I will discuss something else that we attribute to Einstein and his theory of relativity. Time dilation. You see, time is not the same for everyone as you might think. There is an actual difference in time between observers moving at different speeds. A moving observer will notice that his clock ticks more slowly in relation to an observer standing still, meaning it will take longer for the moving clock to complete 1 second. Over time this difference will mean that the moving clock will register that only 1 hour has passed, while the clock standing still is already several hours ahead. When the moving observer then stops, he will return to “normal” time, which for him is in the future.
“Great!” you say. “I’ll just run a marathon, slow down my time AND lose weight in the process.” Well, no. There is a catch, there always is. If you want to have any significant time dilation, you would need to move at the speed of light, which is 299,792,458 metres (186,282 miles) per second. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! All you have to do is jump on a beam of light and ride it while not dying in the process. After a while you jump off, preferably on a habitable planet with no hostile life forms, and you’ve travelled through time! All that remains then is to return to Earth and hope all your loved ones are still alive, which they won’t be. Oh, and that gadget is now hopelessly outdated. Good luck.