Quotation? (time travel's strongest counterargument)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 11 08:20:44 UTC 2013

Apologies for the number of messages. Here is the last update (from
me) on this topic for at least 24 hours:

Below is an excerpt from the "Chronology Protection Conjecture" paper
by Stephen Hawking in the journal Physical Review D. I downloaded the
paper from the online APS database. The paper was submitted to the
journal on September 23, 1991. So a draft was probably in circulation
by that date or earlier.

If the CP conjecture is true then currently proposed time-machine
mechanisms would be physically impossible. Hawking was arguing for the
truth of the conjecture in the paper.

The excerpt shows the last two sentences of the paper. The quotation
in the Chicago Tribune might be based on the last sentence below. But
the sentence actually discusses the CP conjecture and not time travel
in general, so it does not work well as a stand-alone quotation. The
April 1992 Science article quoted parts of the final sentence.

Journal: Physical Review D
Volume: 46
Issue: 2
Issue Date: July 15, 1992
Article Title: Chronology protection conjecture
Author: S. W. Hawking
Article Received: September 23, 1991
Start Page: 603
Quote Page: 610
Publisher The American Physical Society

[Begin excerpt]
Either way, there seem to be theoretical reasons to believe the
chronology protection conjecture: The laws of physics prevent the
appearance of closed time like curves.

There is also strong experimental evidence in favor of the conjecture
from the fact that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from
the future.
[End excerpt]

The very popular 1988 edition of "A Brief History of Time" did not
contain the statement about time travel that I mentioned in an earlier
message: "This might explain why we have not yet been overrun by
tourists from the future, …" I have now examined scans of the 1988

That statement appeared in a chapter that Hawking added to the book
during a later revision. The new chapter was titled "Ch. 10: Wormholes
and Time Travel". This chapter and the phrase "overrun by tourists" is
in the 1998 edition I believe.


On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 8:42 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Quotation? (time travel's strongest counterargument)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The SF author Robert Silverberg mentioned the possibility of a large
> numbers of tourists from the future, but he did not argue that time
> travel was impossible. Indeed, a character in his novel is a time
> traveler.
> Title: The masks of time
> Author: Robert Silverberg
> Year: 1978 Paperback (Originally published in 1968)
> Quote Page: 151 and 152
> Publisher: Berkley Pub. Corp.
> (Verified with scans of 1978 paperback edition)
> [Begin excerpt]
> Last fall everyone thought the world was about to end, and now
> everyone thinks we're going to fill up with tourists from the future.
> I watch the faces of the people on the screens, the ones who follow
> Vornan around, cheering, kneeling. He's like a messiah. Does any of
> this sound sensible to you.
> [End excerpt]
> Vornan is an individual from the future year of 2999 according to the
> Wikipedia synopsis.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list