Doctor Who arrived with the Space Age, when the Doctor first began exploring the universe in a time-traveling spaceship. Over half a century since, the Doctor has gone global. Millions of people across this planet enjoy Doctor Who in worldwide simulcast and cinema extravaganzas. Doctor Who has infused our minds and our language and made it much richer.
What a fantastic world we inhabit through the Doctor. The program boils over withballsy women, bisexual companions, scientific passion, and a billion weird and wonderful alien worlds beyond our own. The show represents almost sixty years' worth of magical science-fiction storytelling. And Doctor Who is, despite being about a thousands-of-years-old alien with two hearts and a spacetime taxi made of wood, still one of our very best role models of what it is to be human in the twenty-first century.
In The Science of Doctor Who, we take a peek under the hood of the TARDIS and explore the science behind questions such as:
- What does Doctor Who tell us about space travel?
- Could the TARDIS really be bigger on the inside?
- In what ways does the Doctor view the end of our world?
- Is the Doctor right about alternate timelines and parallel worlds?
- Will intelligent machines ever rule the earth?
- Is the earth becoming more like Doctor Who's matrix?
- Is the Doctor a superhero?
- How do daleks defecate?
So welcome to The Science of Doctor Who, where the Doctor steps smoothly in and out of different realities, faces earthly and unearthly threats with innovation and unpredictability, and successfully uses science in the pay of pacifist resistance!
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About the Author
Mark Brake developed the world’s first science and science fiction degree in 1999. He also launched the world’s first astrobiology degree in 2005. He’s communicated science through film, television, print, and radio on five continents, including for NASA, Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum, the BBC, the Royal Institution, and Sky Movies. He was one of the founding members of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute Science Communication Group. He has written more than a dozen books, including Alien Life Imagined for Cambridge University Press in 2012. Mark also tours Europe with Science of Doctor Who, Science of Star Wars, and Science of Superheroes road shows.
Table of Contents
Part I Space 1
What Does Doctor Who Tell Us about Space Travel? 7
What Spaceships Are "Fit" to Sail the Whoniverse? 12
Could the TARDIS Really Be Bigger on the Inside? 18
What Has Doctor Who Done with Darwin's Natural Selection? 21
Which Doctor Who Aliens Should Never Have Made the Science Cut? 27
How Does Doctor Who Use the Science of Exoplanets? 33
Questions for the Doctor: What's It Like Waking Up on a Space Station? 38
Are There Baby Universes Too? 42
Is Doctor Who Right: Will There Be Space Vacations? 45
What If Doctor Who Stories Fell like Cinema Rain? 50
Part II Time 57
Questions for the Doctor: How Do You Travel through Time? 63
What Are the Definitive Time Machines of Doctor Who? 67
Anyone Heard of the Blinovitch Limitation Time Effect? 73
Questions for the Doctor: What Are Your Best Stories of Traveling in Time? 78
In What Ways Does Doctor Who View the End of Our World? 85
Sure, Time Passes; But How Does It Do So on The TARDIS? 89
Could the Doctor Wormhole through Our Universe? 93
What's the History of Doctor Who in Ten Objects? 98
Is There a Problem with the Doctor Traveling Faster Than Light? 103
Is the Doctor Right about Alternate Timelines and Parallel Worlds? 106
In What Way Do Humans Regenerate like Time Lords? 112
What Would Really Happen If You Lived as Long as the Face of Boe? 115
Part III Machine 121
Questions for the Doctor: What Kind of Machine Is the TARDIS? 128
What Are Doctor Who's Most Memorable Vehicles? 132
Will Intelligent Machines Ever Rule the Earth? 137
Is the Earth Becoming More like Doctor Who's Matrix? 141
Are Daleks and Cybermen Cyborgs? 146
What Are Doctor Who's Most Memorable Robots? 150
Do Androids Dream of Doctor Who? 156
What's the Most Deadly Doctor Who Superweapon? 162
What Are Doctor Who's Best Inventions? 167
What Are the Peaks of the Doctor Who Soundscape? 172
Part IV Monster 179
Is He a "Mad" Doctor? 185
Questions for the Doctor: Will Humans Evolve into Daleks? 194
Is the Doctor a Superhero? 198
How Do Daleks Defecate? 202
How Does Doctor Who Foresee a Future of Villainy? 206
Has the Silence Visited the Human Past? 210
What's the Doctor Who Meme-Plex? 215
Do Sontarans Have Clone Girlfriends? 220
Has the Doctor Ever Been Dolittle? 225
Are Humans Becoming Cybermen? 229
Do Whoniverse Earthlings Carry Cybermen Organ Donor Cards? 234