Given how fascinated our culture is with both social media and time travel, wouldn’t someone who actually had a Tardis or a tricked-out DeLorean be tweeting about or sharing pictures of his/her experiences? That’s exactly what the authors of a new study tried to find out.
In an attempt to locate some evidence of time travel, Michigan Technological University physics professor Robert Nemiroff and graduate student Teresa Wilson scoured the Internet. They checked out search engines and sites such as Facebook and Twitter for mentions of things or events before people should have known about them, indicating they may have come from the future.
With so much information available online, Nemiroff and Wilson decided on two specific items of information and searched for references to those subjects that pre-dated their entry into the common lexicon: Comet ISON and Pope Francis. They then looked for references to either subject occurring between January 2006 and September 2013.
“Before the identification of comet ISON in 2012, there were no mentions that the researchers could find of this icy space rock,” said CNN.com’s Elizabeth Landau. “Similarly, before Jorge Bergoglio took on his papal name in 2013, the phrase ‘Pope Francis’ did not appear in the researchers’ search results, except for one person’s blog, which appears to have been speculating – not remembering something from the future.”