Project Adam’s time travel rules and real science explained

Warning! SPOILERS for The Adam Project.

The Adam Project unfolds the sci-fi narrative conceit of time travel – but how does it work? Directed by Shawn Levy, it stars Ryan Reynolds as Adam Reed, a time traveler from the year 2050 who returns to 2022 and meets his 12-year-old self. Young Adam is played by Walker Scobell alongside Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner who reunited 18 years later 13 Ongoing 30 play Adam’s parents. The film, which was released on Netflix on March 11, 2022, is the second feature film Shawn Levy has made with Ryan Reynolds after free guy. The duo will also team up again for Dead Pool 3which still doesn’t have a release date, but is set to officially bring the Merc with the Mouth to Marvel Studios.


In The Adam Project, Ryan Reynolds plays adult Adam Reed, who flies his time jet back to 2018 in search of his wife Laura, played by Zoe Saldaña. Laura had jumped in 2018 to discover an anomaly when her jet exploded, presumably killing her. Adam, however, believes she is alive and pursues her. Accidentally landing in the year 2022, he encounters his younger self and they learn to work together to help save Laura and heal from the trauma of losing their father. They must also stop adult Adam’s boss, Sorian (Catherine Keener), from using time travel in a way that could have disastrous effects on the world, Biff-style.

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Because it’s a time travel movie, it has to deal with the problem of defining its time travel rules. In fiction, time travel is handled in different ways, depending on the rules of the fictional universe. the Avengers: Endgame The time travel version deals with branch timelines, which are created when a time traveler changes something in the past. the Back to the future However, the type of time travel means that a time traveler can change the future by changing the past. All of these time travel hypotheses have been proposed in real life when scientists consider the possible repercussions of time travel. Or exactly The Adam Project fall into his philosophy of time travel? Here’s how time travel works in Ryan Reynolds’ movie.

Adam’s Father’s Magnetic Particle Accelerator Explained

Adam’s father, Louis (Ruffalo), is a quantum physicist and professor who also works for a company owned by a woman named Maya Sorian. She funds his research and allows him to create a large particle accelerator at the facility. Particle accelerators exist in real life and have been making headlines for the past decade, the most famous being the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Accelerators use energy to accelerate particle beams and powerful magnets to direct and focus particles. They have been used since the 1930s to study different aspects of particle physics.

In the film, Louis creates Project Adam, his magnetic particle accelerator, to investigate a hypothesis that they could “create utility wormholes in space” using enough energy – i.e. portals that could actually be used to travel through space and time. In real-life science, it has been speculated that black holes could be used to travel through time, but it would be a one-way trip – and potentially deadly. Black holes could potentially tear apart any person or ship that tries to pass through them. The type of wormholes created by Louis’ Adam Project collider also use a stabilization algorithm called the Infinitely Shifting Plasma Containing Algorithm (ISPCA) that allows them to be used to travel through space-time without destroying the user.

Could wormholes be used for time travel?

In theory, yes. In 1935, Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen used the theory of general relativity to propose the existence of bridges through time that could be used to connect two different points in spacetime. This is called an Einstein-Rosen bridge. Popular culture has used this theory to explain everything from intergalactic travel to time travel. In the MCUs Thor, Jane Foster calls the Bifrost an Einstein-Rosen Bridge, which is what Asgardians use to travel between the nine realms. Real physicists have theorized about the potential of using wormholes to eventually make it possible to traverse between two points across the universe faster than the speed of light.

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If time travel can be done, science suggests wormholes could be the mechanism to make it possible, but maybe only in one direction. The wormhole should be traversable, which means a person should be able to walk through it unscathed. One theory suggests that for a wormhole to be traversable, a negative energy substance must exist. Physicists believe it is possible to create such a substance, and time travel may require less of it than previously thought. However, no known attempts to time travel using wormholes have been made public.

Why The Adam Project Doesn’t Use Alternate Timelines Or The Multiverse

When young Adam asks his eldest if their meeting would create a potential branch timeline, he immediately shuts down the idea. In the world of The Adam Projecttime travel works much more like in Back to the future – whatever is changed in the past changes the future. This calls into question the existence of the Multiverse, which Adult Adam fundamentally rejects. The reason alternate timelines and the multiverse can’t exist in this movie is because the plot wouldn’t work if they did. Adult Adam going back in time wouldn’t change anything about the time he came from and instead create a branch timeline. The Adam ProjectThe plot hinges on the ability to alter the past. Sorian couldn’t have created the future of adult Adam if she hadn’t been able to effectively change her own past through time travel. Because this time travel theory also uses fixed points, there is likely only one timeline in which the characters exist. If there is a multiverse, it won’t be affected by anything from these time travelers.

What are the fixed points of the Adam project in time?

In most time travel novels, meeting your past self is a big no-no that can create all sorts of paradoxical issues. On the one hand, meeting his younger self should create new memories that flood his brain as soon as he does something different from what he remembers from 2022, the way Old Joe remembers everything Joe does in looper. However, The Adam Project fix it “new memories” problem by explaining fixed points, or where a person is coming from on the time stream. Adult Adam tells his younger self that the reason he doesn’t remember any of their meeting or the ensuing adventure is that it’s not the right time yet. He explains that everyone only has one moment in time where they belong and that their new memories won’t be encoded until they return to 2050. Of course, none of that matters when the two Adams help their father destroy time travel, thus erasing the experiment. they had together.

How The Adam Project’s Past Affects The Future

Changes in the past alter the future, but the remnants of the experience will always exist in the essence of someone’s memory. Adam can’t remember anything he and his younger self are doing right now because he’s not at his fixed point, but there’s another way the past affects the future. When Adam and his younger self finally meet his wife Laura in 2022, she reveals to them that Sorian has already traveled back in time to change the past, creating a future that Adam says looks like The Terminator a good day, where she has universal control over time travel. Laura tells Adam that he needs to travel to 2018 to stop his father from inventing time travel, but Adam doesn’t want to because he’s afraid they’ll never meet. Laura, however, believes that everything they did together will have already existed and that they will have enough idea of ​​those memories to find each other.

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Turns out Laura’s guess was correct. After the two Adams go to 2018, they help their father recover his algorithm, which then prevents time travel from ever being invented, sending them both back to their appointed times with no memory of those events. However, both characters keep the promises they made before stopping the invention of time travel. Young Adam remembers hugging his mother for adult Adam, and adult Adam reunites with Laura. This suggests that the time in The Adam Project exists on a loop, and some remnants of each loop still exist even when the loop is changed. A time traveler can alter how time will unfold, but they cannot completely erase all traces of the original timeline.

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