Physicists may have discovered a real-life time machine — of sorts.
Although scientists have yet to replicate the futuristic scenes of The Jetsons or the 1985 sci-fi classic Back to the Future, researchers from Moscow’s Institute of Physics and Technology partnered with scientists in the U.S. and Switzerland to “experimentally demonstrate time reversal — sending a qubit from a more complicated state to a simpler one,” writes Newsweek.
The findings, which were published in Scientific Reports were almost like “magic,” the study’s author, Andrei Lebedev, told Newsweek.
Researchers, however, are far from achieving “time travel, or going back to the past, or reversing the principle of cause and effect,” says scientist Henning Bostelmann at the U.K.’s University of York, which he acknowledged may be a “disappointment to science-fiction fans,” per Newsweek. Instead, researchers managed to send quantum bits back into their states from a split second earlier, which could demonstrate the “possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics,” lead author Gordey Lesovik said, per Phys.org.
The “reversal algorithm” was successful in at least 85 percent of two-qubit cases, reports Phys.org. Lebedev says he plans to expand the research and investigate further.