TARDIS Time Travel May Be Possible Because SCIENCE – Physicists Explain How

4958_Yes, you read right. According to a real paper written by real physicists, the spacetime geometry within which Doctor Who‘s TARDIS manoeuvers could well exist in our own universe, potentially allowing for travel in all directions through space and time.

Untitled1Titled “Traversable Achronal Retrograde Domains In Spacetime“, the paper also concludes that the universe’s incalculably massive size allows for the possibility that real Time Lords may exist somewhere within it. Authors of the essay Ben Tippet and David Tsang are theoretical physicists working at McGill University in Canada and the University of British Colombia (though in true Whovian style, they claim here to work at the Gallifreyan Polytechnic Institute and the Gallifreyan Institute of Technology).

Summarising their arguments, From Quarks to Quasars explains that:

“In order for a TARDIS to function, it needs to exist in a universe where the construction of closed timelike curves (CTCs) is possible. A closed timelike curve is defined by instances where the time dimension curves back on itself creating a closed loop. Hypothetically speaking, you could get in this loop (or build one around yourself) and travel forward and backwards in time at will.”

It’s not all fun and jelly babies, however: as in Doctor Who, any real time traveller would face serious difficulty and danger. Before being able to move through the time vortex or create a “TARDIS bubble” in the first place, budding Time Lords and Ladies would first have to discover exotic matter, as well as violating the laws of classical mechanics. But that’s far from the worst part:

Untitle“Conquering this hurdle would allow for a TARDIS vehicle to travel in circles (in both time and space – but that’s rather boring). To travel in other more complicated ways, we would have to cut two TARDIS bubbles and connect two ends from the two different bubbles. When you’re watching the opening credits for Doctor Who, this mechanism is what you’re watching (you’re inside the time vortex/TARDIS bubble and, whenever the TARDIS changes directions, it has entered a different such bubble. When you connect two TARDIS bubbles, it’s possible that you’ll enter from one side, and exit into a universe made out of antimatter (I’m sorry. I’m so sorry).”

In addition to their full TARDIS paper, Tippet and Tsang have also published an easier-to-understand version for laypeople, called The Blue Box White Paper, which you can download here.

Source: From Quarks to Quasars



  1. Matt Mars says:

    Hi Heather,
    sorry to say but I think you may find there is no time, and thus no
    time travel (though other possibilities arise) rather than
    type an essay here, here are a couple of videos outlining the
    possibility that the universe may be truly ‘timeless’.
    – in the first I cover ’tilted light cones’ as discussed above, and in the excellent “The Science of Dr WHO”.

    (also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSJ8A-w78xM for a more detailed break down of ‘time’ )
    yours M.Marsden

    (auth “A Brief History of Timelessness”)

    • Fragpuss says:

      so what you’re really saying is “i’m plugging my own book, please buy it”

      • mattmars says:

        Hi Fragpuss,

        What I`m actually saying is, well, what I said, or –

        This seems to be a webpage by someone interested in Science in relation to the Dr WHO series. And thus logically the OP and other people here may be interested in the bespoke video talk I produced specifically about scientific interpretations of the ideas in the Dr WHO,

        e.g the time-travel ideas fundamental to the ‘TARDIS’, and hopefully showing in a concise, scientific and logical way, possible alternative “Timeless Answers to Prof Cox’s Science of Dr Who lecture”. (And making the links available to anyone interested… kind of the whole point of the internet?)

        As per plugging the book, yep, you got me : ) that was definitely behind my motivation, it’s cost me a great deal in reducing my normal work to intensely focus on, research and write the book, +if anyone wants to buy it… there it is, but you can also get the general concept from all the youtubes and webpages.

        But, are you really saying “anyone who produces an original body of work, hopefully suggesting a unique approach to a very current and complicated subject, full of speculation and unanswered ‘paradoxes’, should not even mention it, to people probably interested in the subject, on the net”?

    • Hi Matt,
      I don’t pretend to any real physics knowledge – I’m just a writer and a Doctor Who fan – but I think the paper was as much a bit of fun as anything. Even if it was possible I don’t think it’s likely to actually happen, but it’s a cool story anyway. I will be sure to check out your work too, though 🙂

      • mattmars says:

        Hi Heather,

        I guess I`m a writer and Dr WHO fan also :). I hope you don’t mind my post. It’s just that the foundation of that paper seems to rest on Relativity, and ‘closed time like curves’, as covered by professor Cox, in his Science of Dr WHO, time travel lecture.

        And I think it can be shown that, while science seems to assume that because Relativity basically proves very unexpected, unintuitive, variations in the rate at which things change – (GPS oscillators etc), science also seems to assume Relativity proved the existence of a past and future… and thus time that might be traveled through.

        I don’t think it (time-travel) is likely to be possible, but not for the lack of exotic matter to control warped space etc, but because we may be wrong to assume a thing called time exists in the ‘first’ place.

        Anyway, it’s fun to discuss these things, if you do check out my work the ‘kings head’ video is pretty much the best introduction I’ve come up with. But there’s so much to say, and so little… space, energy, matter, Telomeres, whatever 🙂
        thanks for your reply, mm.

      • bearskinsej says:

        im in the eighth grade and i know alot about quantum physics( no im not a nerd its just interesting) cloaking devices are physicaly possible because of quantum physics in saying that if you look at something from a different angle it can appear to be something else but im afraid that doesnt help as much with the tardis as proving the Helicarriers ability to become, not invisible but disillusioned. quantum physics is also Bridging the gap between Magic and science.

    • bearskinsej says:

      i do believe that we covered that the universe is not timeless! Please go watch some doctor who specificaly the episode “Utopia”

  2. Anonymous says:


    you need to do more research. The Universe isn’t timeless. If the universe was timeless then the planets wouldn’t age and stars wouldn’t die. Stars are made with a set amount of years. You should really research more into stars and how the Universe is very full of time. You should do alittle research before you post a comment and not believe everything your read or see on the internet.

    • Jakk Frost says:

      You may be confusing the Universe with all the stuff contained IN the Universe. As far as I know, the Universe itself is eternal, or timeless. Or I could be misunderstanding your intent.

      Regardless, Matt sounds like he’s developed his own opinions about space/time and then chosen the theories that support his beliefs. It’s a mistake most scientists make, making the facts fit your conclusion rather than making your conclusion fit the facts. It just doesn’t help that there are no hard facts.

      A true scientist understands that “facts” can change drastically, even to the point of contradicting the previous “fact”. Thus the one thing every scientist should learn to say whenever they talk about facts is “as far as we know.”

      • Nathair /| says:

        Here’s a little history of a bigger mystery,
        I have written this story into my song.
        If it isn’t what you’re used to,
        I hope it will amuse you.
        And maybe if you choose to then you’ll sing along.

        It goes:
        “I am as old as the universe,
        I’ve been here before and I’ll be here again.
        I am a child of the universe,
        A part of all women and a part of all men.”

        Once upon a sometime and once upon a somewhere,
        And once upon a somehow there was a big bang.
        Energy revolving and energy dissolving
        And energy evolving, and that’s what I am.

        I’m a little flower to blossom for an hour,
        But in me there’s a power that grows on and on.
        Power in the root of me,
        Power in the shoot of me,
        Power in the fruit which will pass my seed on.

        I am not a somebody, I am not a nobody,
        I’m a cell in one body filling all space.
        All I ever could be and all I ever should be
        And all I ever will be is here in this place.

        –By Theo Simon. As performed by Seize the Day.

        • bearskinsej says:

          i hate to poke holes in your daft little theory but POKE,POKE,POKE there was no big bang we were created by God the eternal being who created everything

          • Alex Moore says:

            I hate you

          • Cadspen says:

            As I believe, and as the Prophet Brigham Young taught:
            “To assert that the Lord made this earth out of nothing is preposterous and impossible. God never made something out of nothing.”

            And as Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
            “The pure principles of element … can never be destroyed…; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end.”

            God did not create everything. He created specifically our universe, and created our bodies. We lived with God before we came to the Earth as eternal spiritual beings, just like God, but only at a much lower level of progression. To progress, two people proposed a plan: Jesus, and Lucifer. Jesus’ plan was to send us all down to earth, including himself, to suffer trials, afflictions, and learn of Christ’s teachings, which are included in the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, the teachings of the Prophets, Apostles, and so on and so forth, and, as far as it is translated correctly, the Bible, then be resurrected through the Atonement of Jesus Christ
            Lucifer’s plan, which would not allow the progression of our souls, was to send us to earth, and force us to do good. However, he did not wish for us to progress, he wanted God’s spot in heaven. God knew Lucifer’s real intentions, and there was a war of words in heaven over which God would choose: Jesus or Lucifer. Obviously, it was Jesus’ plan he chose, but there was one third of all the souls in heaven which chose Lucifer’s plan. God exiled them into outer darkness, for the plan which they wished to choose would bring upon the stagnation of all the souls of heaven, if it were to be chosen.
            After this, God sent Adam and Eve down into the Garden of Gethsemane and the transgression of Adam, the eating of the fruit, brought upon the fall of Adam, but this was needed. Without this, no man would have ever set foot on the earth, and the rest is, pretty much, history.

          • Cadspen says:

            I incorrectly typed Garden of Gethsemane, I meant to type the Garden of Eden.

          • The Doctor says:

            Actually, God created the Big Bang, so yeah…

      • mattmars says:

        Hi Jakk, (hands up :), sorry,pathetic, couldn’t resist)

        Ahh yes, the specter of confirmation bias,

        But re, “Matt sounds like he’s developed his own opinions about space/time and then chosen the theories that support his beliefs. It’s a mistake most scientists make, making the facts fit your conclusion rather than making your conclusion fit the facts”.

        I wrote an essay on how current science *may* in fact be choosing theories to support its beliefs, i.e using hidden confirmation bias in just assuming time exists (unless dis-proven), +without actually following the scientific method here, especially where it seems to just take ‘time’ as needing no proof, as an exception to the scientific method, without even giving a reason)

        I certainly have developed my own opinion , hopefully very thoroughly, and hopefully very open mindedly. I respect science a great deal, and as you say it’s important to be clear about ‘facts’, and opinions, and to being open to being wrong. And if I’m wrong then I’m wrong, though what I tend to find is people initially don’t really grasp what I’m suggesting… because they assume from the outset it must be wrong… and therefore not worth grasping carefully before judging.

        e.g. re your own point, I actually haven’t found any theories that support my ‘beliefs’, or rather “the possibility I am suggesting, that ‘may’ account for all or scientific observations, but without the need for the theory and paradoxes, of ‘time’ “. (If you can post a link to the theories you are thinking of it’d be appreciated).

        In fact quite the contrary, which is why I published the book , and made the videoed talks. Also re confirmation bias, it’s important to consider that I may in fact be trying to highlight and expose a vast area of such bias. E.g. virtually every book and article I have researched on ‘time’, starts by asking loaded questions like, ‘what is time’, or ‘does time exist’ – as opposed to asking “what do we actually observe, and what can we legitimately conclude from this” – and from there seeing whether, extra to matter/energy and motion, ‘time’ pops u as being essential, and scientific proofs of a past and future become apparent.

        re “sounds like…” I’m caught between a rock and a hard place, if I explain the point I think is worth considering in fuller detail, people may think I’m flooding a forum. If I explain it concisely people may just assume (without checking) that I haven’t checked all the things I haven’t mentioned. If i just post links people think i’m (just) self promoting… and (apparently) that that is wrong.

        re space-time, here’s some general thoughts on why i think “the electrodynamics of moving bodies” may just assume time, but not actually prove it.

        (and my analysis of the first 9 sections of the Routledge publication of relativity)

        As you say “facts” can change , even to the point of contradicting the previous “fact”, so it may be worth considering that is what I may be doing here.

        The only facts (postulates) I think are needed to support my suggestion, are that matter can exist, and interact, (misleading us in to assuming past/future etc ‘exist’). And it seems to me that, excluding endless ‘metaphysical’ ‘philosophical’ discussion, things existing and interacting is as ‘proven’ and acceptable, beyond a reasonable doubt as any other ‘fact’ can be. And demonstrated incidentally and intrinsically in every other experiment proving anything else.

        re “as far as we know”, yep, of course, and if you look at my opening post you can see I suggest to Heather that you *may* find there is no time, and point to links outlining the *possibility* i am ‘suggesting’ might be worth considering.

        i.e I agree in essence with the caution you are suggesting.


        • DawsonJeff says:

          This is kind of how the Doctor sounds before he sees peoples eyes glaze over and just tells them wibbley wobbly, timey whimy. I love it

    • Mike says:

      stars don’t die, they just cease to be stars. nothing is ever born and nothing ever dies, it only changes. time is the measurement of the progress of matter and has no effect on the universe itself. dots in a triangle, the universe is timeless.

      • jamers84 . says:

        If the universe is timeless then eventually every possibility will b played out regardless of what we consider its eccentricity

      • D-luxx says:

        We define a star as a huge dense compressed amalgamation of different elements releasing nuclear energy and heat and light etc. When that supernovas, we define it as something else, and it’s composition is. Your logic would make it so that we could never define between something like a worm and a moth. Or between a brown fox and a blue whale.

      • bearskinsej says:

        well a super nova is the death of a star right? so the explode the energy dissapates into space only to be absorbed by suns and super giants

      • bearskinsej says:

        wait humans die animals die plants die i dont see your point except for that stars arent alive so they cannot die

      • mattmars says:

        Hi Mike, yes, I basically agree.
        I think we have to consider confirmation bias here. The problem seems to be, that if we look at the world ‘as if’ a thing called time exists, then it will seem as if it does. If only because the key aspects of time, a past and future, are ‘conviently’ or unfortunately, said to be invisible (therefore we don’t see proof of their non-existence, to use an awkward phrase).

        To see how the universe *may* actually be timeless, the most basic question I came up with was…

        “If matter in the universe *just* moves and changes. Not heading into a future, not leaving a past behind. would this be enough to mislead us into thinking there is a past, future and time?”

        In particular if we consider all ideas about a temporal ‘past’, are in fact things, patterns of matter in-formation, that exist in our heads.

    • Jon Forel says:

      That’s actually only what
      you see on the macro level. We’re getting into quantum physics, which
      deals with extremely small things that are sub-atomic. This being said, not only has he done enough research, but there are actual math equations AND observations both which would gladly prove you wrong. If anything, you need to do lots more research and/or recognize that scientists are experts in their respective fields, with no exception. While there are instances of scientists being “bought off”, so far this has only applied to global warming, NOT physics and quantum physics. Get your facts and opinions, organize which is which, and see to it that they don’t get mixed up when it comes to science.

    • Pein says:

      Time is something humans came up with to help us contemplate the fact that things are, and then are not. Time is slower the further away you are from gravity, and seems to go faster when you are surrounded by the colour blue. We can see backwards in time by looking through a powerful telescope. there could be life on planets but we can’t see it yet because the light hasn’t reached us yet.

      • bearskinsej says:

        the hubble telescope has actually found planets like earth with water green plants but no places with animals or people

        • Pein says:

          But there could be life on them. As I said, the light that is coming from those planets could be thousands of years old. And have they really found a planet with plants?! That is awesome!

    • mattmars says:

      Hi Anonymous, do I know you ? (joke : )

      Thanks for your reply,
      Re research, there may be a slight irony here. You don’t seem to have researched whether I’ve researched or not. Here’s the bibliography for the book,


      I think there’s about a hundred books there, plus audio lectures etc, each of which (plus many others not listed) I researched very carefully, in full, or just specifically, where they relate to the concept of time. Probably the most critical being “On the electrodynamics of moving bodies). If there’s any work you can point me to, especially anything that does not start by just assuming time exists and building on that assumption, please post a link.

      Re “The Universe isn’t timeless. If the universe was timeless then the planets wouldn’t age and stars wouldn’t die. Stars are made with a set amount of years. You should really research more into stars and how the Universe is very full of time.”

      There may be some circular logic here, imo, if we just *say* stars ‘age’, then we are just *saying * ‘time exists and passes’ . But it seems to me all we actually observe is that matter is existing, and changing formation. We certainly observe stars and planets changing. But in all these cases matter just seems to be existing and moving (in simple terms) towards or away from certain places. but I don’t see any proof that anything is coming out of a future, or going into a past, or extra to changing formation stuff is ‘dying’.
      In other words, imo, stars are made with a certain amount of matter, and burn their fuel at a certain rate.

      (Anyway, here’s some of the stuff I’ve written re stars, and what they may and may not prove, in the context of what I am suggesting)


      Re “You should do a little research before you post a comment “

      In considering the idea that “perhaps matter just existing and interacting is enough to mislead us into thinking there is a past and future”, I read pretty much everything I could find that might disprove this, up to the [point where every book I read seemed to just contain the same information in different form. So I decided the law of diminishing returns was in play and I should express my thoughts and reasoning so they could be publicly peer group reviewed… or carry on researching ‘forever’.

      So, with respect, I think the book list, plus the fact the 20 odd videos, web site, and the book itself exist shows that. while what I am suggesting may be essentially right or wrong, I am confident I have done a great deal of research surrounding the concept.

      Re “not believe everything you read or see on the internet.”

      Absolutely, and that is very much at the core of my work. I consistently read people talking about ‘the’ past, or ‘the’ future, or how the universe is not time-less. But I find no proof that these things or ‘places’ exist. ( Try Googling ‘scientific proof the past exists’, and you seem to only find pages of questions and conjecture).

      So, point taken, and agreed, and don’t just believe everything you read on the internet esp about a past and future unless it also contains reasonable proof they actually exist, and that a thing called time exits and ‘passes’.

  3. John Doe says:

    Well, The Doctor does describe it as “Wibbly-wobbly, Timey-wimey………stuff.

  4. Blaidd Gwyn says:

    “budding Time Lords and Ladies would first have to discover exotic matter, as well as violating the laws of classical mechanics” … but “When you connect two TARDIS bubbles, it’s possible that you’ll enter from one side, and exit into a universe made out of antimatter” … Isn’t that exactly what Omega did to create the entire Time Lord race, and then he got stuck on the wrong side, as mentioned in the 3rd Doctor episode The Three Doctors? (note: being born a Gallifreyan does not automatically make you a Time Lord) Either humans figured this out 40-some years ago, or Doctor Who is real and wibbley-wobbley-timey-wimey stuff.

  5. clueless says:

    if you reverse it & superimpose it it is an infinity symbol. the circle reminds me of a Tesla coil, or a Hendershot magnet….. just saying

  6. jamers84 . says:

    Physicists say it may b possible n suddenly its news, slightly change the acronym n wow here it is! If time n space r infinite (which the majority of data from what we have and can actually analyse most probably suggests they are), then any possibility that can b conceived is possible including a dimension where Timelords and the Doctor can exist. As soon as you start talking about a closed timeline loop you invalidate any possible interference with that loop, as the slightest deviation could cause unimagined consequences. Either time (and / or fate) are fixed or they are not. This hypothetical TARDIS would only b able 2 travel throughout an individuals timeline and the alterations to their reality that they might make, do not encompass the entireity of space and time, because every decisions that could possibly be made would create a new reality

  7. AngeTKenos says:

    to down load this paper we have to pay to join some business thing – NO WAY! AND time will not change anything re my response.

  8. Norman Blowers says:

    Sorry, if time travel were possible the future would have already visited us. And, don’t give that lame excuse that “they did not let us know”

    • Generic42 says:

      Except if you had read the article the entire paper is about suggesting how time travel could exist “some where” in the universe not necessarily on Earth. We aren’t the center of all things, in particular the universe.

    • bearskinsej says:

      did the doctor let people know when he visited the past or the future? No he didnt they just noticed his different clothes.

  9. The Impossible Girl says:


  10. Pan Dimensional says:

    This isn’t news though… there have been time machine models in the literature ever since Kerr-Newman black holes were discovered to have closed timelike curves… back in 1973 Frank Tipler proposed a mechanism with a massive rotating cylinder that would produce a time-distorting frame-dragging effect that would function a a time machine. Yeah, he was a bit of a crackpot, but you can’t argue with his maths 😉 http://theophysics.host56.com/pdf/tipler-rotating-cylinders.pdf

    • mattmars says:

      HI PanD,

      I think such theories and equations can be explained very satisfactorily using just warped space, and distorted (spaghettified) objects and no Time. (ie timelessly), as I try to show here…

      Time travel, Worm hole, billiard ball’ paradox, Timelessly. (re Paul Davies- New scientist article) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc5cRGOGIEU

      I have no problem with the maths in theories like this, but throughout they refer to ‘T’, i.e. Time. And in these equations this clearly implies the passage, or ‘stretching’ of some thing in a 4th dimension from a ‘past’ to a ‘future’ (hence the implication of time-travel).

      However, no proof etc that ‘the’ past or ‘the’ future is given, i.e no experimental proof as per the scientific method. So these monumental and critical things (past / future) things are just suggested or implied.. and the maths rolls on.

      But it seems to me that if matter just exists and interacts ‘timelessly’, i.e. no heading into a future or leaving a past behind, then this alone would enough to *mislead* us into wrongly assuming a past, and thus time etc exists.

      (in the “worm hole billiard paradox” I try to show how the billiard ball may indeed interact with itself, but never in a way that involve a past or future or creates any paradoxes that need solving)
      matt mars

  11. Sasasasasa says:


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