22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Scientific Secrets of Dr Who

Bluedot is delighted to welcome Dr Marek Kukula and Simon Guerrier, to unveil the Science of Dr Who.

When Doctor Who began in 1963, it was meant to be educational – two of the companions were school teachers. Even today, the Doctor remains a scientist hero, using evidence, reasoning and investigation to puzzle out strange and sometimes scary truths other people ignore.

This directly inspired Marek, who thought being a space scientist was the next best thing to being a Time Lord. He’s worked at the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, in Baltimore using the Hubble Space Telescope, and is now based at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Simon resisted all efforts by his teachers to teach him any science, but was inspired by Doctor Who to become a writer. Writing Doctor Who books and plays led him to a new love for the subject, and to doing a GCSE in astronomy.

Together, Marek and Simon wrote The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who, and have discovered many other scientists and scientifically minded people inspired by the series. Using clips from the series we’ll show how Doctor Who – even when not trying to be educational – makes us think like real scientists. We’ll ask whether, given how influential it can be, TV drama needs to get its science right.

Dr Marek Kukula is Public Astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich, Royal Museums Greenwich and regularly appears on TV and radio.

Simon Guerrier is a science fiction author and dramatist. He has given talks at the National Portrait Gallery, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and at various literary festivals around the country.

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Friday 2017