Futurama – Time Travel and Multiple Worlds – Things to Remember

First. If you could go back in time what would you do? Stop Antonio Luna from going to Cabanatuan? Stop Ferdinand Marcos from leaving Malacanang in 1986? Prevent the death of a loved one? Win the lottery in 2000 and leave it to your future self? Buy stocks in Google or Apple? Or watch the Triumph of Julius Ceasar as he entered Rome? Second, would you rather go a world where Antonio Luna did not die and he was able to convert Baguio into a fortress? Or perhaps a world where things turn out differently?

Time travel and multiple world have been a common thread in Art and Culture. It would be interesting to look at has there been a scientific basis for this and has Science & Technoloy had an impact in this thread of Art & Culture, and vise-versa?

One recent and entertaining examples of this is the cartoon Futurama, where in the episode Roswell that Ends Well and Farnsworth Paradox. In films you can see this in Terminator; Back to the Future; Somewhere in Time; The Time Machines; Looper and the 12 Monkeys. Or perhaps you might remember the other tv series like Time Tunnel; Dr Who; Quantum Leap; and those Star Trek episodes. But does this have a scientific basis?

Interestingly enough there are theories for the Grandfather Paradox; Multiple Worlds and time travel. It is a world that can be equally aggressive as any chronos-time war and confusing as the Crisis in Infinite World. There is the story of a party hosted by Stephen Hawkins complete with food and champagne but no guests, since the invite was only given a few days after the party. Hawkin’s point was quite clear. Time travel back into time was not possible. Although, nothing in Science and Technology is written in stone.

The Theory of Multiple Worlds came about because of the study of Quantum Physics. Scientists observe that in the quantum universe things were not behaving as they should: based on the established laws of physics. Something else was at work. Multiple Worlds made it possible to explain how these things work differently from what was expected. And now we even have String Theory.

Physics is not my area of science but it is important to see how Art and Culture were able to explain the physics of time travel and multiple worlds by depicting it in the form of a story. Making more palatable to its viewer and reader. In the process making the science more understandable.

There is however a caveat to this. The first one would be the depiction of science and technology in art and culture becomes credible when grounded in actual study. The second it should recognise that Art and Culture has an equally important effect on Science and Technology. And this is because Art and Culture conveys: (i) Ideas that are hoped for: a better world via Science & Technology; (ii) Society’s concern over the use of Science & Technology: Frankenstein’s Monster & the Atom Bomb; (iii) Warning of the consequences of actions in the future: I am Legend and a Distant Sound of Thunder; and (iv) glorying or condemning Man, Science & Technology: The Veldt and the Martian

Also as we enjoy the products of Art & Culture that inspire and in return inspire Science & Technology one vital thing that must be considered when learning about their scientific basis is that these are products of the scientific process. In other words these theorems and laws are considered plausible and valid because they were proven, until at such point were they proven to be otherwise. In Science and Technology the only thing dogmatic is the adherence to critical thinking and importance of valid proof.

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54 Responses to Futurama – Time Travel and Multiple Worlds – Things to Remember

  1. Ericka Rose Forbes says:

    “…the best evidence we have that time travel is not possible, and never will be, is that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future.” – Stephen Hawking

    We all have that What If’s in life. What if I did that and not this? What if I choose this and not that? Too many what if’s to answer and that’s where the concept of time travel occurs. People tend to think that if we could go back in time and change what has been done, we could answer those what if’s. But according to many world’s theory’s hypothesis, there is a very large—perhaps infinite—number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes. Therefore, if time travel is possible and someone traveled back into the past and change even a single thing, it would create another universe according to multiple universe theory.

    These theories have been adopted to arts and literature, even to movies specifically sci-fi movies. With this, people are beginning to increase awareness on this topic. But even though these theories are made by professional researchers or scientists, I’m still not fully convinced that these theories might be real because still they are theories which means they are not yet proven. So for the mean time, we should be contented on what we have now and accept the fact that we can’t change what has been done besides everything happens for a reason right?


  2. Marrian Deytiquez says:

    The concepts of time travel certainly is of interest for many people. Some (like historians or history enthusiasts, for example) want to see what it was like in the past–to LIVE in it, rather than just study about it and recreate it through the artifacts that are uncovered. Others, on the other hand, want to go back in time to change a part of their past. The latter group of people sometimes forget that when one changes the past, if ever possible, they are changing all the outcomes after that point in time. If they ever wished that a part of their past was changed, it was almost like wishing to be someone or somewhere else aside from who they are at the present time. They forget that everything that makes them themselves is the combination of all the events of the past–whether good or bad, right choices or wrong ones.

    The concept of multiple universes, on the other hand, is more plausible. One could even propose that something that happened in the past could have not happened in another universe. I personally think it’s amazing knowing that there is an alternate version of me somewhere else in another universe. I wonder what “alternate me” would be like, what the surroundings are like, etc. Knowing that there could exist multiple alternate versions of ourselves, we could feel better about some things in the past, knowing that the opposite could have happened to them. In a sense, something not done in the past could have been done (or something done in the past could have not been done), but instead of having a temporal variation, we have a spatial one in the form of our alternate selves.

    Now I could just imagine that an “alternate me” chose not to write a comment like this.

  3. Adrian Jericson Jimenez says:

    The field of science has always been one of my interests. Understanding how things work, how the universe operates never fail to satisfy my curiosity. However, some information, although accessible, are too complex that they become incomprehensible, especially to ordinary individuals. Complicated revolutionary scientific ideas, such as quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and cosmology, are not being apprehended by the public. Therefore, as this article emphasizes, art and culture plays a crucial role in explaining these complicated ideas in a way that normal people can grasp. We may not be aware of them, but they have always been part of our everyday lives—science fiction movies, Discovery Channel and National Geographic episodes, Youtube videos, and a lot more.

    Adrian Jericson S. Jimenez

  4. Neil Patrick Ferrer says:

    Is Time Travel really possible? If we could really go back in time, what would I do? For sure, I would want to do, undo, or redo a lot of things. But even if time travel is really possible, I would still have to think not just twice or thrice, but maybe a hundred times, if there are really things that I want to undo or change. Another thing we would have to consider are the possible consequences and effects of these. I wouldn’t want to be too selfish to just think of my own good and own happiness. I guess, if the time comes that time travel is already really possible, the only things that I might do or change are those things that would benefit everyone, or if not possible, at least the good of the greater people. But for now that time travel has not yet been proven to be possible, I would just go with the flow and live by this motto from the movie Kung Fu Panda: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift… That’s why it is called PRESENT.” 🙂 For now, let’s just live in the moment and enjoy the present! 🙂

    FERRER, Neil Patrick S.

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