Doctor Who: Science Fiction or Science Fact?


For Doctor Who fans worldwide that are still in orbit over last week’s newest bit of trailer greatness, last Saturday’s broadcast of The Science of Doctor Who special on BBC America did nothing to curb any enthusiasm for the upcoming series this Fall. Attempting to answer the burning question, How much of the science fiction in ‘Doctor Who‘ is science fact? were the likes of theoretical physicist Dr. Jim Al Khalili, space scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock and, looking a bit like the first Doctor, William Hartnell, the brilliant physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku. Here a bit of heavy discussion about Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity and how it relates to time travel.

Whether or not the series is science fiction or science fact, experts almost universally say that a series like Doctor Who is good for science, especially if it influences children. “Shows like Doctor Who are not meant to be educational … but very often it will inspire particularly young viewers to get interested in science early on,” notes theoretical physicist Dr. Jim Al Khalili. One certainly can’t argue with the show’s effect on a young fan years ago named Steven Moffat who became showrunner and lead writer for the series back in 2009. He may not have a handle on time travel, but he sure can write.