28th September 2016: Erik Stengler – The Time Travel Paradox in Movies


Time travel fascinates scientists and filmmakers alike. As with many other fields of science, fiction takes intriguing ideas and explores them in the realm of “what if?” Whilst Physics has yet to take the leap from theory to experimental evidence, movies have already told us (almost) all that could happen if time-travel were possible.

But time-travel itself goes beyond the boundaries of Physics, and the main issue in this context could be regarded as meta-physical. The time travel paradox (the twin-paradox being its most well-known incarnation) would still hold if Physics were to “allow” time-travel. Filmmakers have either used this paradox as a plot element or tried to cleverly hide it in the story in order to explore other “what ifs”.

So let us for an evening explore an intriguing “what if” of our own: what if the solution to the paradox was found not by a Physicist or a Philosopher, but by a filmmaker? Is it plausible that in their effort to circumvent the paradox, a filmmaker may have actually solved it, perhaps inadvertently?

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).
Venue: Smoke and Mirrors

Erik Stengler is Senior Lecturer in Science Communication. His special interests in this area include Science Museums and Planetariums, Science in Film and, more broadly, how to succeed in communicating science to those not particularly interested in it.

He has extensive experience in Communicating Science informally in Science Centres, through Outreach Projects and in the Media. He has been project manager of various initiatives that range from a Science Van to Courses on Science in the Movies, including a TV children’s show; theatre plays; science programmes for senior citizens, in prisons or in leisure environments; and educational partnerships with Science Historians. He also runs the website www.time-travel.org


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