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Time travel nixed in metamaterial world

A desktop universe captures properties of the real thing

Unable to study the Big Bang in person, physicists have now simulated it in a bit of plastic and metal.

This desktop model tries to re-create the forward movement of time that drives history ever onward. In this experiment, as in many others before, time travel is impossible.

“It’s a toy representation of what actually happens in our universe,” says Igor Smolyaninov, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park who describes his work online April 4 at

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