5 Doctor Who ideas based on real science

Gallifreyan

Big news as last week it was announced that Steven Moffat, writer and producer of Doctor Who for several seasons now, will be stepping down to be replaced by Chris Chibnall. If you have not already heard this news, you can read up on it here.

With this news still fresh in the air, I thought it might be a good time to look into some of the science used in the show. Here are 5 ideas used in Doctor Who that are based off of real science.

Limb Regeneration

doctor who hand

In “The Christmas Invasion,” the Christmas Special that aired between the first and second series, the Tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) has his hand chopped off during his duel with the Sycorax. Luckily this was during his regeneration period and was able to use his remaining energy to grow a new hand. While most of us cannot regrow a lost limb, certain lizards and spiders are able to regrow new appendages that are lost or removed.

Don’t Blink

doctor who weeping angel

There are very few creatures from the Doctor Who universe that are more terrifying than the Weeping Angels. These alien killers turn to stone when anyone is looking at them, but turn away, even just blink for a split second, and these being can move great distances. One touch and you are sent back in time while they feed on your life energy. While there haven’t been any reports of actual Weeping Angels in real life, there is an instance where the same concept of observation causing an effect has actually been recorded. The element Uranium shares this unusual concept and does not decay when being observed. This effect is called the “Quantum Zeno Effect.”

QuantumZenoEffect
Image via Cornell

Two Hearts

doctor who hearts
Image from BBC America

The Doctors own species, the inhabitants of Galifrey, share a very similar anatomy as humans, except that they have 2 hearts. While most of us only have one heart in our chest cavities, there have been instances where humans have had 2 hearts and lived. For example, Hannah Clark, a girl from South Wales, had a second heart grafted onto her own for some time to allow her original heart time to grow and be able to function.

TwoHearts
Image via The Guardian

The Sound of Drums

doctor-who-the-master

The Doctor’s arch-nemesis, the Master, is plagued by a constant “drumming” sound within his head which is pointed out to be the source of his insanity. While there have been many studies showing a correlation between the human psych and noise, there has recently been a study that a small percentage of inhabitants from specific parts of the world such as Bristol, England and Tao, New Mexico hearing a mysterious noise they have nicknamed “The Hum.” The research goes on to show that this percent of the population experiences The Hum by being exposed to it at some point in their life.

TheHum
Image via TheHum.info

The Krafayis

Krafayis_muere doctor who

In the episode, Vincent and the Doctor (which is one of my favorite episodes), the creature called the Krafayis is invisible to the naked eye. I won’t go into any more detail about what happens in this episode because I want everyone to watch it, but I will tell you that science has gotten a little bit closer to creating an invisibility cloak…

Physicists in Texas are working on creating a material that allows light waves to be canceled out, rendering the material invisible. While the material is not yet invisible to the naked eye, it is invisible to microwave detectors.

invisibilitymantle
Image via BBC

If you liked this post, check out “The Science of Doctor Who,” a television documentary series by physicist Brian Cox, which further delves into some of the different science from the Doctor Who universe.

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