Physicists Are Spending Way Too Much Time Hunting Time Travelers on Facebook

If you traveled back in time, you'd take a selfie, too.

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Universal / Everett Collection

This explains why the DeLorean fad never caught on.

If you were a modern physicist on the hunt for time travelers, a phenomenon that has intrigued cultures dating back to the Indian Mahabharata in 9th century BC, how would you do it? According to two experts from Michigan Technological University: Check Facebook, obvi.

In a study titled “Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers,” Drs. Robert Nemiroff (see incredible photo here) and Teresa Wilson chronicle their exhaustive search through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Bing in search of signs that people from the future came, selfied, and conquered.

The physicists scoured the social networks for “digital signatures” in the form of posts including prescient information that only someone from the future would know. The two terms they searched for: mentions of Comet ISON and Pope Francis before they became public knowledge. This involved extensive hashtag searches.

Unfortunately, this methodology has some problems:

1. While the implication that people in the distant future still use Twitter and Facebook must be very comfortable for stock holders, it seems a little short sighted to just assume we use not only the same social media but the same form of Internet as well. (Sidenote: If hashtags are still a thing in 3127, I’m moving to Jupiter.)

2. Time travelers don’t have time for social media when they have to prevent THE APOCALYPSE.

3. Okay, even if there’s no pending apocalypse — why Facebook? Even though Nemiroff and Wilson acknowledge that there are three types of time travelers (those who advertise their presence, hide their presence, and are indifferent), wouldn’t the ones who don’t care if people find out about them make their presence known in a bigger way?

4. If they did decide to go on social media, wouldn’t it be to poke an ex girlfriend instead of talk about the Pope?

By the end of the study, the researchers found that even if there were time travelers, which “could be transformative not only to physics but humanity” although also “possibly catastrophic,” they couldn’t find them online. Those sneaks.

8 comments
justplncate
justplncate

Wow!  I'm so proud that tax dollars from my Michigan State Income Tax supported such "groundbreaking and important" research.  Will their next project be a study to determine if their visual acuity improves when they pull their heads out of their butts?

HACTOR
HACTOR

ptolemy"s computation of planetary positions,maxwell mathematization of the E-M spectrum,schrodinger equation of wave mechanics  all inclusive 

HACTOR
HACTOR

Time,mass energy relationship explains the theory of relativity.

morleyrobertson
morleyrobertson

If time travel is possible...and people living in the future are able to achieve it...don't you think that they would be intelligent enough to avoid idiotic crap like social media to avoid temporal paradox? 

PhillyCrosby
PhillyCrosby

My son was approached by a man in a pub who announced himself as inebriated, and proceeded to shove several pages of physics notes into my sons hands, asking him to review them and let him know what he thinks.  The man was frogmarched out of the pub by staff, but not without shouting back, "NO wait!  He needs my contact information!"  but they wouldn't have him back in and he was gone when my son left the pub.  Haha.  A visitor from the future? :)  Straight out of the X-files.  Footnote: My son's major is physics.  Nothing extraordinary about the physics notes...black holes and vortexes...

VijayBanga
VijayBanga

Almost all scientists are chasing shadows and physicists are no exception. many of them put in 30-40 years in research and end up without any tangible results

PaulWright1
PaulWright1

What a waste of time and money. When will they figure out that time is possible to change. The past is over and the future has not happened. It is not possible to travel through time. If it was we would all be in big trouble. 

Markas
Markas

@justplncate Considering that one of the researchers actually works for NASA, it is unlikely your state tax went to this research.

Your money was more likely spent on the yet-unpublished research trying to find out why Michiganers like to smell their own farts more than anyone else in the US.