For Professor of Physics, Ron Mallett, time travel isn’t just a flight of fancy. It’s his life’s obsession.
Ron’s fascination with time travel began as a child. Like many 10-year-old boys, Ron worshipped the ground his father walked on. His dad was a TV and radio repairman who could fix just about anything. Ron described him as the center of his universe.
One night, Ron woke to the sound of his mother crying. His father had died from a heart attack.
Ron was beside himself with grief. He couldn’t comprehend the death of his father. He said it was like Superman dying.
Ron thought building a time machine could save his father’s life. He’d go back in time and tell his father to quit smoking cigarettes and prevent his heart attack.
He began building a time machine in his basement. The project was doomed to failure, but Ron never gave up.
He later studied for a Ph.D. in quantum physics and became a professor. He specialized in the study of black holes. It cloaked his urge to study nothing but time travel.
At the age of 57, Ron was forced to retire due to heart-related problems. It gave him time to focus on building his time machine. He worked 15 hours a day and made a blueprint for a time machine.
His theoretical findings were published as a cover article in The New Scientist. After 40 years Ron finally came out of the closet. His lifelong obsession was at last given the publicity it deserved.
When quantum physicist, Bryce DeWitt, heard Ron’s theories of how lasers could be used to bend space-time, he sang their praises.
He told Ron, “I don’t know if you will ever see your father again, but I do know he would have been proud of you.”
Ron has accepted that his theories on time travel won’t ever help his father. His theories are based on Einstein’s block model of space-time. It suggests that the past, present and future are already written. If we were to travel back in time, we could only experience it, but not alter it. In other words, what will be will be.
This knowledge didn’t upset Ron. He realized he had spent his life working to keep his dad’s memory alive. By the time he faced the fact he would never see his dad again, he didn’t need to.
In this case, time itself was the greatest healer of all.