Part of his obsession with time travel stems from the book The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. He stumbled upon it about a year after his father's death and it had a significant impact on him.
A prototype travel machine
Sixty years after reading the book, Mallett is still working on his prototype time travel machine. His journey was a long one including becoming a tenured professor at the University of Connecticut.
It was only then that he felt comfortable talking about his dream of time travel without the fear of looking like a mad scientist. What he found is that people responded positively.
"People started contacting me, literally from all over the world about the possibility of going back in time," he told CNN travel.
Einstein's general theory of relativity posits that gravity is actually the bending of space by a massive object. "If you can bend space, there's a possibility of you twisting space," Mallett told CNN travel.
"In Einstein's theory, what we call space also involves time -- that's why it's called space-time, whatever it is you do to space also happens to time."
Mallett, therefore suggests that by twisting time into a loop, you could possibly travel from the future back to the past and then return to the future again. Now, he's created a prototype time machine that uses lasers to create a circulating beam of light that, he argues, could twist space and time.
"It turned out my understanding about lasers eventually helped me in my breakthrough with understanding how I might be able to find a whole new way for the basis of a time machine," said Mallett.
"By studying the type of gravitational field that was produced by a ring laser, this could lead to a new way of looking at the possibility of a time machine based on a circulating beam of light."
Now, Mallett is looking for funding to conduct real-life trials on his machine. Only time will tell if anything fruitful comes out of it.