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Stony Brook University

Time Machine Guide: Home

This Guide

The SBU Libraries time machine is located in Study Room 2 of the Old New North Reading Room, right next to the hibernation pods. The machine is available for approved research trips to eras between 1440 CE and last Tuesday. All trips must be authorized by the Head of Temporal Services. 




[MANDATORY WARNING: The normal side effect of "time slippage" may cause this guide to be visible in the past. If you are reading this before August 27, 2121, please log off and forget what you saw.]

Learn from the Past

Your research in past time periods must be related to your current field of study. Still brainstorming? Here are some tips:

  • Pick a topic and time period that interests you.
  • Make sure it is something you can investigate within three time jumps.
  • Find out as much about that time as you can: did they have antibiotics? Indoor plumbing?
  • Avoid the "big question" topics. Abraham Lincoln will not have time to talk to you.


The VP Index

The VP Index is the standard unit of measurement for approximating your position in time while visitng NA-USA zones back to 1789*. Make sure you know how to calculate it in any given era.

Interpreting the VP Index

Measurements are taken automatically and reported to you by BARRY!. Adjust the number from the base of their election year to calculate your current time*.

VP Index = Fairbanks +3


Charles W. Fairbanks, United States Vice President 1905-1909

Calculate the year from his election + number.

Fairbanks (elected 1904)  +3 = 1907

* If traveling to 2092-2096, convert to the New Triumvirate system. 

3-Jump Rule

Again, totally as a precaution, we remind you of the 3-Jump Rule. All time travelers who do not return to their original time within three time jumps will irrevocably alter the future beyond all recognition. 

And be aware that there havve been reported 21st century inhabitants wandering into the machine. Do not interact.

Related Research Guide

Want to learn more? Then check out this related guide:

Mythological Zoology: Unicorns, Dragons and Cats.




The Time Machine may not be used to:

  • return overdue library books
  • wager on any sporting event
  • buy any Apple stock in the 1980s
  • interfere in any way with the development of rock n roll
  • make more than three time jumps on one trip

Also, do not reveal any information about the future to people you encounter. They do not need to know about the flying cars fiasco.

Time Portals

The library time machine is powered by our cataloging and search interface platform, BARRI! BARRI! can open proprietary time portals to most periods betwen 1440 and last Tuesday. Once your research trip has been approved, you will be sent directly to your destination. When you are ready to return, simply enter the portal again.

For security reasons, all time portals are:

  • hidden to avoid detection by the past. Just hunt around; you'll find it.
  • password protected. You will need to enter the correct code in order to activate a portal. Be advised that BARRI! is very security-conscious.


BARRI! is the artificial intelligence once known as the library's online catalog and search interface. Since becoming self-aware, he maintains all of the library's online functions, from the book cloud and hologram databases to the scent archive and the study room time machine. BARRi! will be able to send you messages in the past - just look for the big blue dot to access their information.