By Ker Than, for National Geographic News
PUBLISHED April 14, 2013
It’s not quite Back to the Future, but a young Iranian inventor claims to have built a time machine that can predict a person’s future with startling accuracy.
Ali Razeqi, who is 27 and the “managing director of Iran’s Center for Strategic Inventions,” claims his device will print out a report detailing an individual’s future after using complex algorithms to predict his or her fate.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Razeqi told Iran’s state-run Fars news agency that his device “easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you.”
Razeqi says Iran has decided to keep his prophetic time machine under wraps for now out of fear that “the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight.”
Iran’s Deputy Minister of Science, Research, and Technology dismissed Razeqi’s claims on Friday in an interview with Fars—a sign of just how much attention the story has received.
We talked to Thomas Roman, a theoretical physicist at Central Connecticut State University and a co-author of the book Time Travel and Warp Drives, to ask about the possibilities for a Razeqi-like time machine and to debunk popular misconceptions about time travel. Here’s an edited version of our interview: