A Kind of Time Travel

Well done to Jasper for his submission that highlighted how physics allows us to understand the past through fossilisation. Take a look at his cover letter below:

I’ve made a short film that explains how (thanks to all the physics at play) we can look back millions of years into the past. Not with a time machine, sadly… however, (and almost as exciting) it’s thanks to physics that incredible ‘photographs’ set in stone are formed – images and 3D ‘echoes’ of the incredible creatures and plants that inhabited our earth so long ago. It’s thanks to physics that we have fossils!

My film aims to bring to life the physical processes behind fossilisation. The forces that can turn bone, skin, feathers and footprints into exact stone replicas of the real thing; the gravitational force that creates immense pressure within the building layers of sediment and earth, and then draws mineral-rich water downwards. The movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates that bring deeply buried fossils back up to the surface for us to find. (Fossils that were once buried beneath a seabed have even been discovered at the summit of Everest because of the movement of the plates!)

Time travel might still be a theory within the world of physics, but fossils are the next best thing, thanks to physics!