Space-Time Cloak Could Make Events Disappear?

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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC– It’s no illusion: Science has found a way to make not just objects but entire events disappear, experts say.

According to new research by British physicists, it’s theoretically possible to create a material that can hide an entire bank heist from human eyes and surveillance cameras.

“The concepts are basically quite simple,” said Paul Kinsler, a physicist at Imperial College London, who created the idea with colleagues Martin McCall and Alberto Favaro.

Unlike invisibility cloaks—some of which have been made to work at very small scales—the event cloak would do more than bend light around an object.

Instead this cloak would use special materials filled with metallic arrays designed to adjust the speed of light passing through.

In theory, the cloak would slow down light coming into the robbery scene while the safecracker is at work. When the robbery is complete, the process would be reversed, with the slowed light now racing to catch back up.

If the “before” and “after” visions are seamlessly stitched together, there should be no visible trace that anything untoward has happened. One second there’s a closed safe, and the next second the safe has been emptied.

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© 2011 National Geographic

Photo by Flickr user hembergler

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