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Van Stokum cylinder




A type of time machine based on an immense cylinder spinning at near-light speed. The physicist W. J. van Stokum realized in 1937 that such an object would effectively stir spacetime as if it were treacle, dragging it along as the cylinder turned. What van Stokum didn't realize is that circumnavigating such a cylinder can lead to closed time-like paths. Anyone orbiting the cylinder in the direction of the spin would be caught in the current and, from the perspective of a distant observer, exceed the speed of light and thus travel back in time. Circling the cylinder in the other direction with just the right trajectory would project the subject into the future. The van Stokum time machine is based on the Lense-Thiring effect and uses ordinary matter but of enormous density - many orders of magnitude greater than that of nuclear matter.


Related category

   • SPACE AND TIME