The Science of Doctor Who

The Science of Doctor Who

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by Paul Parsons
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

SF Site
Do you have to be a Doctor Who fan to read this book? No, but it helps. And if you aren't when you begin, you will probably be one by the end.

— Charlene Brusso

Science News
This exploration of the long-running TV series delivers on its promise to answer the kinds of questions raised by the best of science fiction. The book takes readers on a satisfying romp through labs around the world where the show’s fantastical ideas are explained and, in some cases, shown moving closer to reality.

— Erika Engelhaupt

SFRevu
Anyone who enjoys reading popular science magazines should get a kick out of The Science of Doctor Who.

— Cathy Green

Analog Science Fiction and Fact
It had to happen that someone would write The Science of Doctor Who, and we're all very fortunate that Paul Parsons was the one who did it... If you only read one Science of XYZ book this year, make it this one.

— Don Sakers

Choice

Parsons, a scientist and journalist, is an unabashed fan of Doctor Who and does a good job of making the convoluted plots and characters decipherable, even to non-aficionados, and of explaining the research and science, often cutting edge, that has even a change of making the plots possible... Useful as popular reading and in courses covering the science of science fiction.

SF Site - Charlene Brusso

Do you have to be a Doctor Who fan to read this book? No, but it helps. And if you aren't when you begin, you will probably be one by the end.

Science News - Erika Engelhaupt

This exploration of the long-running TV series delivers on its promise to answer the kinds of questions raised by the best of science fiction. The book takes readers on a satisfying romp through labs around the world where the show’s fantastical ideas are explained and, in some cases, shown moving closer to reality.

SFRevu - Cathy Green

Anyone who enjoys reading popular science magazines should get a kick out of The Science of Doctor Who.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact - Don Sakers

It had to happen that someone would write The Science of Doctor Who, and we're all very fortunate that Paul Parsons was the one who did it... If you only read one Science of XYZ book this year, make it this one.

Library Journal
In the tradition of Lawrence M. Krauss's The Physics of Star Trek, Jeanne Cavelos's The Science of Star Wars, and similar works, Parsons's book takes a semiserious look at how many aspects of the Doctor Who world may or may not be physically, biologically, or technologically possible. An astrophysicist like Cavelos, Parsons has written an engaging work accessible to lay audiences and interesting even to those not fanatical about the long-running BBC series. Organized into four sections with short chapters, the book discusses characteristics of the Doctor, the Tardis, other aliens and mechanical beings, and missions in space and beyond. A wide range of scientific research and news sources are cited, including bit.ly shortened URLs. The book has sketch illustrations and a robust index. Originally published by a UK imprint, it now contains a preface covering discrepancies in airtimes on each continent. VERDICT Accessible and entertaining, this is suitable for public and academic libraries and possibly also high school collections.—Sara Tompson, Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801895609
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
06/03/2010
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
599,362
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Colin Baker

Parsons deftly weaves a fascinating mixture of known fact, possible future development, and scant possibilities from the Who universe into an investigation that will appeal to Who fans and general readers alike. There should be a copy in the glove compartment of every Tardis.

Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor

Stephen Baxter

A voyage to the outer limits of Who universe science. Fans of the show will be amazed how much real-world science lies behind the storylines.

Stephen Baxter, author of Transcendent

Meet the Author

Paul Parsons is a scientist, journalist, and lifelong Doctor Who fan. He is a freelance contributor to various science magazines, including BBC Focus and New Scientist.

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The Science of Doctor Who 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Melissa_O More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for a project for Physical Science Honors, and I'm a little disappointed in it. I found out by reading it, that though it claims to be able to be understood by the average reader, it really isn't. Parts of this book are very, very confusing with concepts that really can only be understood by the abstract thinking of an advanced physicist. (Including the topics of 'Bigger on the Inside,' 'Wormholes to the Past,' and 'Relative Dimensions.') Though it is obviously explained with the general populace in mind- a very basic explanation that goes over topics from the very beginning- there are still concepts that it are impossible to understand. That being said, some topics were explained very well, and I felt that even with my very base knowledge of Physical Science, I could understand what was being explained. Those topics were 'The Fuchsia's So Bright,' 'Mind Control,' and the chapter, 'One Giant Leap for DIY.' Also, I found that chapters that had more of a biology focus instead of a physics focus were easier to understand. Most of what can be explained about living things is less abstract than some of the physics concepts. Overall, I enjoyed reading some of it. Off and on it went from very interesting to very confusing. I would recommend this to readers who have more than an average knowledge of physics and really enjoy Doctor Who.