The Science of Doctor Who

The Science of Doctor Who

Book - 2010
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Just as an author cited has done for Star Trek, a science writer who is a Dr. Who fan explains the science (actual and emerging) featured in this popular television show about the adventures of a 900-year-old, do-gooder time traveler. Parsons and other scientist fans treat topics including altruism, the search for extraterrestrial life, and time travel. Included are a list of the actors who played each of the Doctor's 11 regenerations, list of episodes each played, and basic scientific diagrams, but no stills from the show. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Blackwell Publishing

Almost fifty years after he first crossed the small screen, Doctor Who remains a science fiction touchstone. His exploits are thrilling, his world is mind-boggling, and that time travel machine—known as the Tardis—is almost certainly an old-fashioned blue police box, once commonly found in London.

Paul Parsons's plain-English account of the real science behind the fantastic universe portrayed in the Doctor Who television series provides answers to such burning questions as whether a sonic screwdriver is any use for putting up a shelf, how Cybermen make little Cybermen, where the toilets are in the Tardis, and much more.

Taking the show as a starting point—episode-by-episode in some cases—Parsons dissects its scientific concepts. In addition to explaining why time travel is possible and just how that blue police box works, Parsons

• discusses who the Time Lords are and how we may one day be able to regenerate just like them
• ponders the ways that the doctor's two hearts might work and introduces us to a terrestrial animal with five
• details the alien populations and cosmology of the Whovian Universe and relates them to what we currently know about our universe
• compares the robotics of the show with startlingly similar real-world applications

This slender, equation-free discussion is penned by a Ph.D. cosmologist and is ideal beach reading for anyone who loves science and watches the show—no matter which planet the beach is on.

Publisher: Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010
ISBN: 9780801895609
Branch Call Number: 500 PAR
Characteristics: 307 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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JCLJoshN May 23, 2013

A fun and informative overview of physics, biology, astronomy, engineering and more, all filtered through my favorite TV show, Doctor Who. Not very in-depth, but the author admits that it's meant to be more entertaining than educational. Still, I did learn quite a bit about quantum physics, nanotechnology, cybernetics, and astrophysics.


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