You are transported to 1950. Can you convince anyone you are from 2009?

You are suddenly sent to 1950 in your pajamas. No smartphone in your pocket or anything. Do you have any knowledge that could convince someone from 1950 that you are from 2009? i’m disallowing predicting elections or World Series champs or anything like predicting the future.

Just describing 2009 life is probably not gonna be convincing. Do you contain in your brain anything that could jump-start 1950 tech?

Do I have to do it immediately? Then probably not. If I had a little time I could tell them about the interstate system.

I could explain the basic concept of packet-switching maybe. Perhaps the underpinnings of Nanotechnology. Not sure what I could do in terms of jump-starting technology.

The trick is to know when the next solar eclipse is going to occur…

Depending on where I landed, I’d be commited within minutes, wouldn’t get much of a chance to explain.

If I had enough time, just the fact that I’m a woman who knows chemistry might be enough to convince someone that I’m from a very, very strange place.

Heh, I think the trick would be to try and get in touch with Alan Turing. Even a lay person might know enough about computers to give him some useful information.

But none of this would be revolutionary to any educated person.

How far back would you have to go to actually teach someone something they dont know? What do you actually Know?

myself? I cant start any technology from the ground up, going back 500 years!

Quintas has an interesting point.

Offhand, the first thing I’d note is that cork gaskets in automobile engines aren’t as effective as rubber.

I think there is not much that would be mind blowing to any person from 1950. An Intel engineer might be considered a prodigy or a genius but could they convince anyone they were from 2009? I doubt it. Aside from predicting the future, how do you show you are from 2009? Could ANYONE do this?

They were well aware of the interstate idea. And the idea of limited access high speed highways would not be ‘futuristic’, nor would it blow anyone’s mind. :slight_smile: Feynman had the idea of nano in the 50’s too. None of this shows you are from 2009.

You could do it if you knew a scientific discovery which had not yet been discovered but which could be with contemporary tech. Penzias and Wilson hadn’t discovered big bang radiation by then, had they?

I’m an engineer. I know stuff about transistors and such that they hadn’t quite figured out yet in 1950. The silicon transistor came along in 1954 and metal oxide semiconductors weren’t figured out until 1960. I’ve designed computer processors and would be able to give computing a big boost as well.

OK, this is what i’m talking about. Do you have knowledge that would provide such a leap that you wouldn’t just be a genius but would be a future man?

I know enough about computers to make for some serious strides in computers and gaming. That and find a way to own part of a lil company called Blizzard when it starts up.

Can you tell us what those strides are? Knowing about ‘computers’ doesnt count. Computers as we know them dont exist. If you have every MS certification in the world, it doesnt matter in 1950. What deep knowledge do you have?

For example: If an engineer from the year 2070 appeared and said “here is what you’re doing wrong on your fusion reactor” .

The computer stuff they might be able to write off as me being a genius, but the semiconductor stuff would definitely put me into “future man” territory. I have over 20 years of practical experience designing stuff out of parts that don’t even exist in 1950. No genius is going to have that sort of practical knowledge no matter how much time he spends going “what if…”

They would also find my almost complete lack of practical knowledge concerning vacuum tubes to be baffling. They did everything with things like vacuum tubes and relays back then. While I know relays very well (thanks to programmable logic controllers, which use simulated relays in “ladder logic”), my entire training and experience with vacuum tubes consists of just one lecture in college, lasting a whole hour and a half or so.

I can picture the 1950s guys all gathering around in a room saying yeah, this idiot claims to be from the future, and not only does he not understand basic electronic circuits, he wants us to build circuit parts out of SAND! Oh, and it gets better. Not only does he want us to start with sand, he wants us to mix things like arsenic into it! He says you can grow circuit stuff like you can grow an icicle! What a freaking crackpot.

You say we can’t predict the future, but can we “predict” the “present”? That is, let’s say I manage to talk my way into getting a sit-down with some bigwig General, then calmly state - “Oh, I know the Roswell thing was just Project Mogul.” (Or whatever super secret project the person might know about, but which I shouldn’t know about.)

This obviously has a few problems. One, I have to get access to the right people without being rejected as a crank by his low-level people who don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. Two, if I do convince some important person to let me have five minutes of his time (say, by posing as a reporter doing a story on important people), there’s always the risk of them thinking I’m a communist spy as soon as I mention details of a Top Secret project.

But, if someone knew enough about secret shenanigans back in the day, they might be able to eventually convince someone that they’re really from The Future. At some point, time travel would be a better explanation of their vast knowledge of things they shouldn’t know than that they just happen to be the greatest spy of all time who suddenly turned themselves in for no reason.


The double helix shape was found in 1952 according to Wiki. If you memorised enough about that area you’d be decades ahead. Genius alone cant predict all the subsequent findings you could share, although it might take years to verify it all.


“Hello, President DeGaulle? Might I suggest you cut your losses in Algeria and Indochina and leave now? Seriously, it’s going to be better for everyone.”

Actually, I don’t think DeGaulle would listen to you and you’d probably get labelled an OAS sympathiser or a Vietminh or something equally unhelpful by contemporary standards…

Oh hell yes I could prove I’m from 2009. The military folks would strip a gear with all the declassified stuff I know.