The Science of Doctor Who
 

No. 75 of 317 in the Miscellaneous factual books series
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By:Paul Parsons
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Editions:  UK (1st hardback) | UK (paperback) | US (2nd hardback)
Note:Book examining the scientific reality behind the science-fiction concepts presented in Doctor Who. Not to be confused with the 2021 book The Science of Doctor Who.

Cover image for The Science of Doctor Who
Edition: UK (1st hardback)
Released:  March 2006
Publisher:  Icon Books
ISBN:1-84046-737-1
Format: hardback
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Cover blurb:
‘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

‘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

Who fans old and new will delight in this treasure trove of ideas presented by a writer who is clearly a fan as well as being a scientist.’
John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat and Science: A History

‘Paul Parsons is an amazing new talent. His achievement in using the science fiction of Doctor Who to illuminate science fact is awesome.’
Heather Couper, astronomer, writer and broadcaster

‘Entertaining, erudite and exhilarating. Captures the spirit and appeal of the perennial TV series.’
Duncan Steel, space researcher, author and broadcaster

Doctor Who began in 1963. His journeys have shown us alien worlds, strange lifeforms, futuristic technology and mindbending cosmic phenomena.

The breadth and imagination of the Doctor’s adventures have made the show one of science fiction’s truly monumental success stories. BBC Focus Editor Paul Parsons explains the scientific reality behind the fiction.

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 lifeforms
  • 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

With style and exuberance, The Science of Doctor Who brings the very latest scientific thinking down to Earth.

About the Author:
Paul Parsons is the editor of monthly science and technology magazine BBC Focus, and has contributed popular science articles to publications ranging from the Daily Telegraph to FHM. He holds a DPhil in cosmology and is a lifelong worshipper of Doctor Who.

Arthur C. Clarke is the visionary grandmaster of 20th and 21st century Science Fiction. In a writing career than spans seven decades he has both prophesied key, world changing technologies and written Science Fiction that has become a benchmark for the genre.

Cover image for The Science of Doctor Who
Edition: UK (paperback)
Released:  April 2007
Publisher:  Icon Books
ISBN:978-1-84046-791-8
Format: paperback
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Cover blurb:
Who fans old and new will delight in this treasure trove of ideas presented by a writer who is clearly a fan as well as being a scientist.’
JOHN GRIBBIN

‘I enjoyed (this book) immensely. It is as instructive as it is entertaining. I suggest that you buy a copy.’
SIR PATRICK MOORE, Times Higher Education Supplement

Have you ever wondered if a sonic screwdriver could really work? How Cybermen make little Cybermen? Or where the toilets are on the Tardis?

Doctor Who arrived on TV screens in 1963. Since then, across light-years and through millennia, the journeys of the Time Lord have shown us alien worlds, strange life-forms, futuristic technology and mind-bending cosmic phenomena. Viewers cowered terrified of Daleks, were amazed with the wonders of time travel, and sped through black holes into other universes and new dimensions.

The breadth and imagination of the Doctor’s adventures have made the show one of science fiction’s truly monumental success stories. BBC Focus editor Paul Parsons explains the scientific reality behind the fiction.

Cover image for The Science of Doctor Who
Edition: US (2nd hardback)
Released:  May 2010
Publisher:  Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN:978-0-8018-9560-9
Format: hardback
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Cover blurb:
“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, SF Site

“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

“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

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.

This edition has been thoroughly revised and re-edited, and also contains a new chapter discussing elements on the latest TV series, starring Matt Smith.


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