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My Dinner With André, the Lapdog Physicist

Scene 1. Act 1

[Loosely based on a true story]


Lay-person:

You mean that it is possible to travel in time through a wormhole and visit my great-great-great grandmother? But that's preposterous!

Lapdog physicist:

Well, you don't understand. When physicists say 'time travel', what they really mean is a closed time-like loop.

Lay-person:

You mean a closed time-like loop is not time travel?

Lapdog physicist:

Well, you see, you need to understand the difference between the model and the world. The model is not the world.

Lay-person:

Are you saying that when Kip Thorne talks about visiting his forebears in the past, he is only talking about the model and that the model does not have to reflect the world?

Lapdog physicist:

No. What I am saying is that you have to spend a lifetime of study before you can understand this stuff.

Lay-person:

So which is it? Do Kip Thorne, Stephen Hawking and John Wheeler claim that one can move in spacetime or not?

Lapdog physicist:

Well, you see, when we say motion in spacetime, we mean something else. We mean that the world-line of the object is fixed in a spacetime diagram. The object is its entire world-line.

Lay-person:

If it is fixed then how can one enter a wormhole today and come out yesterday?

Lapdog physicist:

Well, that is the difference between the model and the world.

Lay-person

[clearly frustrated]:

If I put my foot in your ass, would that be considered motion in the model or in the real world?

Lapdog physicist:

This is not a meaningful question since we do not model asses. Come to think of it, that would be a worthy subject for an undergraduate thesis.

End Scene 1, Act 1

 

©2004-2006 Louis Savain

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