What Is the Nature of Space and Time? (The Physics of Space Travel and Time Travel)

  • Barry B. Luokkala
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


The most successful science fiction television series in the history of the medium is undoubtedly Doctor Who. The lead character, whom one refers to as “the Doctor”, is a Time Lord, who travels through space and time in a sentient device called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). From the outside, the TARDIS looks like a 1950s British police box (Fig. 2.1). Painted blue and slightly larger than the classic red telephone booths, which can still be found in England, the police public call boxes could be used by anyone at no charge to phone the police in case of emergency. But from the inside, the TARDIS is more like the size of a small house. Evidently, the door to the TARDIS connects the exterior of a relatively small object (the police box) to the interior of a large object (the space/time machine). Hence, the phrase that is frequently used to describe the TARDIS: “It’s bigger on the inside.” A device such as the TARDIS is possible only in the realm of the imagination. But from a scientific perspective, what is the nature of space and time? Is time travel possible? The answers to these questions have changed considerably over the last few centuries.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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