The party that didn’t go off with a Big Bang: Stephen Hawking held a party for time-travellers – but no-one turned up…
By Eddie Wrenn
It is the ultimate test for time travellers – hold a party for them, but don’t post the invites until after the event.
But sadly, when Stephen Hawking tried this, he was left to his own devices – for across all of time and space, his invite to literally anyone who ever will exist landed on deaf ears.
Professor Hawking offered this as ‘experimental evidence that time travel is not possible’ – although we secretly hope that by publicising the party’s existence (held on June 28th 2009), someone in the future might retroactively decide to visit.
Party: Stephen Hawking’s attempt to welcome time travellers – perhaps the guests just thought it felt so 2009
A party to remember until the end of time: Stephen Hawking waited and waited, but no-one turned up…
According to Ars Technica, the Brief History of Time author explained: ‘I have experimental evidence that time travel is not possible.
‘I gave a party for time-travellers, but I didn’t send out the invitations until after the party.
‘I sat there a long time, but no one came.’
It is a sad, but quite intriguing, image: Professor Hawking in a room by himself, surrounded by canapes and champagne, and expectantly waiting for the door to open or some kind of Doctor Who-style TARDIS to appear in the room thanks to some timey-wimey loophole assistance.
In fact, you can see this poignant vignette for yourself, for the party was filmed and put on YouTube.
You’re still welcome to come at any time: Your invite is here
Still, perhaps it was a good thing that no-one came.
For Hawking said that while Einstein’s theories alllow for time travel into the past, but that ‘it is likely that warping would trigger a bolt of radiation that would destroy the spaceship and maybe the space-time itself’.
SO WHY DID NO-ONE TURN UP?
It is the old time-travel conundrum: if time travel is possible, should history not be littered with examples?
For instance, there should be historical accounts of people turning up and leaving cryptic statements like ‘there’s an app for that’, or out-of-time anachronisms like a pair of Nike shoes dating from the age of the dinosaurs.
So why did Prof Hawking’s party go off without a Big Bang?
Possible semi-scientific solutions to this include:
a) time travel is simply not possible
b) it is only possible to move forwards in time, not backwards
c) time travel can only occur from the date a time-travel machine is first built/switched on
d) time travel is possible, but no-one figures out how to do it, or they are simply too responsible to use it
d) we are in the ‘original’ universe, before travellers start meddling with the timeline
And however much Hawking might have wished his party to go off with a Big Bang, no-one would want their big event to be remembered for that reason.
In the interview with Ars Technica, Hawking said: ‘We are all travelling forward in time anyway. We can fast forward by going off in a rocket at high speed and return to find everyone on Earth much older or dead.
‘Einstein’s general theory of relativity seems to offer the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that we could travel back in time.
‘However, it is likely that warping would trigger a bolt of radiation that would destroy the spaceship and maybe the space-time itself.’
Still, if at some time in the future (or back in the past), you find yourself talking to Prof Hawking at a party, you may ask him his views on people who have seen UFOs.
The response he gave to Ars Technica is: ‘Evidence that intelligent life is very short-lived is that we don’t seem to have been visited by extra terrestrials.
‘I’m discounting claims that UFOs contain aliens. Why would they appear only to cranks and weirdos?
‘Do I believe that there is some government conspiracy to conceal the evidence and keep for themselves the advanced technology the aliens have?’