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The Science of Doctor Who

de Paul Parsons

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Séries: Doctor Who

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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 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.… (mais)
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Exibindo 4 de 4
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 |
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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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Paul Parsonsautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Clarke, Arthur C.Prefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rosenberger, Wilma MoritzDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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[from the 2010 Johns Hopkins University Press edition]
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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 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.

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500 — Natural sciences and mathematics General Science General Science

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