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This Tenet Shows Time Travel May Be Possible

Time travel has been a beloved science-fiction idea at least since H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895. The concept continues to fascinate and fictional approaches keep coming, prodding us to wonder whether time travel is physically possible and, for that matter, makes logical sense in the face of its inscrutable paradoxes. Remarkably, last year saw both a science-fiction film that illuminates these questions, and a real scientific result, spelled out in the journal, Classical and Quantum Gravity,1 that may point to answers.

The film is writer-director Christopher Nolan’s attention-getting Tenet. Like other time travel stories, Tenet uses a time machine. But unlike the other stories, Tenet proposes a novel mechanism for this “Turnstile” machine to send a person or thing backward into its own history. The mechanism is reversed entropy, which carries real meaning because entropy says something about the flow of time through the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

LOOPY: The film Tenet gets points for hinging time travel on entropy, but still comes up scientifically short. A mathematical theory about paths that loop back to the same point in spacetime would make a more plausible film about time travel.Sarunyu L /

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