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The Science of Doctor Who

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  365 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Have you ever wondered how Daleks climb stairs? How Cybermen make little Cybermen? Or where the Tardis' toilets are? With style and exuberance, 'The Science Of Doctor Who' brings the very latest thinking down to Earth. ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Icon Books Company (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Ed Dexter
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Llet's face it, if you're a Whovian you probably have at least a passing interest in science fact and fiction.

I'm not the biggest Who fan in the world, having only seen the Baker years and keeping up since the relaunch in 2005. Luckily, having seen all the episodes referenced throughout the book is not a requirement!
I had a good time reading this book. While in parts it does get a little "into" the real world scientific principles (especially where time travel and things astronomical are concern
...more
Sara
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. I've read a couple of the pop culture science books. I know they can be hit or miss. Sometimes they are just science books with little pop culture references thrown in at the end of every other paragraph. Sometimes it's blended rather well with the non-science, but the science is campy and elementary.
But this book was well done. It was written in a style that was fun for Doctor Who fans, but the science was not lost, and I did not feel like I was being taught in a 3rd gra
...more
Megan
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm a newcomer to both physics and Doctor Who, but I really liked this book. I didn't really understand many of the concepts Parsons' presents, but I did like learning about how close (or far) the series is from real science. He talks about the need for companions, why the TARDIS can be bigger on the inside, the likelihood of finding worlds like those on the show as well as some of the doctor's gadgets, like psychic paper.

This is kind of like the missing dvd extra to the series. It's a behind t
...more
Becca
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it
I think the author was trying way too hard to tie things in to modern science. Yes, there are often small similarities, but he might have done better had he focused on the science internal to Doctor Who. Instead, the book comes off as a shallow book on modern science with some Doctor Who references, more at the beginning than at the end. Oh, and some of the research is already out of date.
Cathy Green
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Johns Hopkins University Press published the updated American edition of Paul Parsons's popular science book, The Science Of Doctor Who. Parsons has written a fun (mostly) easy to understand book that covers a great deal of ground in matching up real world science to the gadgets, aliens and monsters of Doctor Who in a variety of areas including biology, physics and robotics. He has also updated book to include everything up through the episode "The End of Time" and the introduction of the Eleven ...more
David
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a really good book most of the facts can go over your head though. ...more
Sam Byford
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
A dry read, got bored after half the book. Might return to it some day.
Ana
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has some upsetting lapses in logic and has not aged nicely when it comes to companions as sexual commodities and the Doctor's gender, but it was generally a fun read. ...more
Jeff LeMaster
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What used to be science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact as the gulf between them rapidly diminishes.

Nineteenth century visionary Jules Verne imagined mankind traveling to the moon, to the depths of the ocean, to the center of the earth, and to the beginning and end of time. One by one, humanity has begun to conquer these seemingly insurmountable feats. The prospect of time travel, however, seems the most daunting of all.

Since 1963, children and adults in Great Britain and around the wor
...more
The Carrion Librarian
The balance between hard science and common interest content was excellent for the most part. The sections dealing with biology and cloning act as an excellent complement to high school biology. The astronomy sections also did a good job of keeping complex topics understandable (though the section of how exactly the TARDIS could work was a little advanced even with my first year university physics). Of particular interest to me was the bits covering cybernetic implants; Some of the real life exa ...more
Drew Pearce
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop-sci
Doctor Who is known for it's inconsistencies, unrealistic borderline on the absurd pseudoscience and technobabble. Given this, it may seem like a strange series to write a book about the science behind it, however it does seem to work. Due to the fact Doctor Who is so extensive as a series we do get some discussion on the usual Science-Fiction topics: Time-Travel, A.I./Robotics, Extraterrestrial Worlds and their lifeforms, Space Travel etc. It does however also cover some of the more unique aspe ...more
Cally
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, well written, and not too long, bumbling or spouting, but I had the distinct impression that most of this book went in one eye and out the other.

Sadly, I'm just not that into physics, and an awful lot of this book went into describing how to make something fit into something else that was much smaller than itself, and how time travel could work. I was interested, but I couldn't honestly now tell you the answer.

Happily, there was an (all too brief) section all about biology, where Paul Pars
...more
Regina Cattus
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Whovians
This easily-accessible book has all the hallmarks of a book written by someone who knows what he's talking about (or at least has had a very good discussion with someone else who does). It is, of course, super-nerdy, but it isn't patronising in the slightest, which is a refreshing change. This is a non-fiction book about fiction, and although it's almost exclusively theoretical, you can't really expect any more from it, given that Doctor Who, and all those characters and worlds, is a work of fic ...more
Shawn
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, science
This book was obviously the product of someone who enjoys Dr. Who and who spent a good amount of time interviewing people who knew the physics and other topics which he discussed. Most of the chapters seemed to be fairly accurate as far as the science (at least up to the time the book was written) and it certainly made me want to go and finish watching all the classic Doctor Who that I can find (which I did whenever I took a break from the book). All-in-all well done, though I would love to see ...more
Travis Lewis
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most science related books that aren't textbooks, this book was more informative than educational. In a similar fashion to Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible, it discussed several technologies in the Who universe and the possibility of them being created by humans, as well as giving examples of real world science and technology that are related. The book also covered some topics not related to technology, but rather the nature of our universe.

Throughout the book there are bits of info
...more
Ken Rideout
Nov 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
I skimmed the book after checking it out from the library. I checked it out because I love Doctor Who and I love Science but...

I couldn't read it after there were some subtle mis-statements early on. For examples, saying that Einstein developed his Special Relativity in response to experiments showing that the speed of light is invariant is not quite right. Also, to imply that Mercury is the only planet whose orbit precesses is also incorrect. I suppose I should have known that the premise of th
...more
Gillian
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty fascinating, if only for the discussion of humanity's technological future. While I've only recently begun watching the new series of Doctor Who, aliens and conspiracy theories have always been fascinating. While Parsons tends to wax quantum-theoretical (a bit trying for my mere high school physics education), the language is understandable enough and the concepts fairly easy to grasp (if trying to grasp the concept of the Universe and what may have existed before or what ma ...more
David
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very good overall. It had the feeling that it was written by someone who wanted to see if the science shown in Doctor Who COULD work, rather than trying to tear it down and criticize the show. That was much appreciated, as was the manner in which the real-world science was presented in a manner accessible to pretty much anyone. The only problem is that it was published in 2006 and not only has the show moved on to a new Doctor and several more seasons, but a lot of the real-world science and pre ...more
Harry
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rwr
This book was a very entertaining read. It introduced me to concepts in science that I never would have thought possible. It showed me how brilliant the writers of one of my favorite television shows really are. They made sure that there was some sort of scientific backing to almost all of their content. A fascinating read, it was a great book, and really made me think. It also provoked many intriguing conversations with friends. I'd definitely recommend this book to Whovians, anyone who may be ...more
Akhila
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
The book admittedly, I didn't finish but I am a Whovian and I liked this book. Definitely don't read if you're just interested in science or even science-fiction because you've got to have watched Doctor Who to really understand the references. It's not a hard hitting critique of Doctor Who's scientific plots it's lightly humorous and looks at the science fiction idea and if what could be reality in the future or even what's already reality. Well written, a good read if you're a Whovian and love ...more
Abigailann (Abigail)
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it

I love Dr Who, and I loved this book as well. It explained the scientific phenomena from across many of the different series (and Drs' adventures) in a understandable and interesting way. It's probably more easily understood if you're famliar with the aliens, planets and technologies of the programme; but those who have only watched one or two episodes will still get something from this book. The text can be approached successfully from either a TV or scientific interest.
You might also like:
...more
Amy Nicole
This was an interesting read. The author covered many scientific topics, a lot focusing on astronomy and physics but also getting into some fun biology and quantum theory. Most of the examples were very briefly covered, so the "science talk" didn't get too deep (which is either good or bad depending on who you are and how interested you are in each independent topic). Yet everything flowed well and seemed to be well researched. ...more
Cathy
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dr. Who fans
I'm not really into reading science books...too many terms I don't understand etc. This book though took a scientific look at the possibilities of Dr Who's devices and experiences. Everything from can the Tardis really be bigger on the inside than the outside, to storing our memories directly to computer. ...more
Miriam
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, science
Of all of the "Science of ..." books that I've read lately, this was my favorite. It was probably helped by the fact that it is the most current book and had some interesting new research to discuss. Parsons did a nice job of explaining the science and it covered a wide area of both science and Dr Who trivia. ...more
Kallen Kentner
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
For a Whovian, 50 years of Doctor Who may just not be enough. If you think bowties are cool, have a bumper sticker that says, “My other car is a Tardis” and think your screwdrivers could be a little more sonic, then this is the book for you.

Read the full review on GeekyLibrary
...more
Anne
Dec 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm a super whovian and was excited to read the book. And it was a fun read that reminded me that I'm not as smart as I like to think that I am. Lol some of the science was over my head. But, and don't judge my nerdiness, I forgot how much fun it could be to have to look up and learn new things in order to understand a book you are reading. ...more
Lorrie
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a gift from my husband who knows I am an avid Doctor Who fan and is one himself. I LOVED it. There were a lot of interesting science aspects in the chapter complete with great diagrams. I also liked that it looked into the science of some of the villains in Doctor who such as the Daleks and the Cybermen. It was a very enjoyable read!
Betul
If your quite a big fan of dr who, new or old ones, its a very good read.
If you like random facts about science and technology in modern times then this is a good read.

Its not too new cos it was published in 2006 but its very interesting :)

Read if you want a new factual book :)
Tanya
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Even though this one took me forever to finish, it's so cool! He takes ideas, concepts, and things mentioned throughout the run of Doctor Who, explores the "what ifs," and discusses the things we already have that are kinda sorta similar...but don't quite work the way the show illustrates. :) ...more
Kai Wilson
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2013
This book gave me a lot of insight into the Doctor Who Universe. It also had many scientific explanations. The book even talked about real scientific experiments, but sometimes they were over my head.
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