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The Science of Doctor Who by Paul Parsons

The Science of Doctor Who

by Paul Parsons

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Doctor Who

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Showing 5 of 5
If you like Doctor Who and have ever wondered just how the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff works, or whether any of the alien races and technological achievements portrayed on the show could actually exist, this is the book for you. There are over 20 chapters, each discussing a different scientific concept. I particularly liked the discussions of the Slitheen and Sontarans, among other aliens. The physics chapters seemed interesting, but physics and string theory and multiverses are a bit of a dead zone in my brain, so they did not hold my attention very well. Those with more experience or knowledge of physics will probably find those chapters more enjoyable than I did. I'd recommend this to fans of New Who especially; a lot of references are made to Nine and Ten, so anyone who hasn't seen these episodes might receive mild spoilers. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jun 21, 2014 |
This is a lighthearted but thought provokingly credible attempt to look at the scientific plausibility and feasibility of phenomena seen in Doctor Who, such as faster than light travel, regeneration, Dalek and Cybermen development, the Eye of Harmony, E-Space, sonic screwdrivers, etc. Some of these are reasonable extrapolations of current or near future science, some based on real world theoretical concepts, others flat out impossible. Good fun and one can learn a fair bit as well. 4/5 ( )
  john257hopper | Dec 9, 2013 |
If you are familiar with physics concepts, it's okay to skip the book (the author feels the need to explain that 10^-35 is 1 divided by 1 with 36 zeros following. C'mon!) ( )
  MagicCapslock | Mar 31, 2013 |
The title of this book almost seems like a bit of an oxymoron, given that we're talking about a TV show whose iconic technobabble catchphrase is "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow," in cheerful denial of the fact that neutrons don't have a polarity, and whose technology largely tends to be of the "indistinguishable from magic" kind. But while you could doubtless write a whole book on the bad science of Doctor Who, this one takes an entirely different approach. Instead, it focuses on tying various ideas used by the TV series into real-world scientific concepts (although often very speculative ones) and technologies that are at least being considered as future possibilities by real-world scientists. So we get answers to questions like, "What use would it be to have two hearts?" and "Is time travel theoretically possible?" and "Could you make a screwdriver a little more sonic?" Alien death rays and stun weapons lead to descriptions of cutting-edge military technology, the Cybermen serve as a jumping-off point to talk about cybernetic implants, a chapter on the Daleks features a discussion about genetic engineering, and so on. There's even an odd bit about what happens in your brain when you get scared of the monsters on your TV set and hide behind the sofa.

Unsurprisingly, it's all pretty simplified and superficial. And I don't think it's nearly as good a book as, say, The Physics of Star Trek, perhaps partly because Star Trek at least pretends to take its science seriously, even if it fudges a lot of things and gets a lot wrong, so there's more to sink your teeth into there. But it is fairly pleasant, and it may be a fun read for Who fans who have some curiosity about real-world science but not a lot of knowledge. ( )
1 vote bragan | Jul 24, 2011 |
Basic sketches of pieces of physics, biology, chemistry, planetology, cosmology, etc, all hung on the many hooks provided by the epic BBC science-fiction show _Doctor Who_. All periods of the show are covered -- from 1963 to 2010, and all eleven incarnations of the Doctor so far. It occurs to me that, if it were directed only at evolution deniers and other anti-knowledge types, one might be tempted to approve of the Daleks' mantra of "Seek! Locate! Exterminate!" A fun read.
  fpagan | Nov 23, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Parsonsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clarke, Arthur C.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenberger, Wilma MoritzCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Dominique, who lost her husband in the vortex for three months.
To Gail, with love

[from the 2010 Johns Hopkins University Press edition]
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So what exactly is it you're a Doctor of, Doctor...? The truth is we never actually find out.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Since 1963, the journeys of the Time Lord have shown us alien worlds, strange life forms, futuristic technology and mindbending cosmic phenomena. Viewers cowered terrified of Daleks, were amazed with time travel, and travelled through black holes into other universes and new dimensions. The breadth and imagination of Doctor Who have made the show a monumental science fiction success. Paul Parsons explains the scientific reality. Discover: - Why time travel isn't ruled out by the laws of physics - The real K-9: the robot assistant for space travellers built by NASA - How genetic engineering is being used to breed Dalek-like designer life forms - Why before long we could all be regenerating like a Time Lord - The medical truth about the Doctor's two hearts, and the real creature with five.… (more)

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