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Dr Who: the science behind the fiction


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Scientists and comedians are teaming up to give audiences an entertaining insight into the scientific mysteries presented in the television series Doctor Who.

The Science of Doctor Who, created by Adelaide-based science hub RiAus in collaboration with BBC Worldwide, will feature clips from the show, look at topics such as time travel and teleportation, and shine a spotlight on the famous Tardis.

RiAus hopes using a popular television show to explore the science behind the fiction will encourage greater interest in, and interaction with, the field.

“Gone are the days of banging on about science from on high,” RiAus director Dr Paul Willis told InDaily.

“Let’s work out ways that we can engage the audience, that the audience can actually be part of what’s going on.

“The wonderful thing about all science-fiction is that it has a basis in science, and so it can actually be a really useful vehicle to be able to explain some fundamental science that’s going on.”

Guiding audiences through the evening will be award-winning comedian Rob Lloyd, whom Willis says bears an uncanny resemblance to Dr Who actor David Tennant.

Joining him on stage to provide expert scientific knowledge will be astrophysicists and cosmologists from Australian universities.

While RiAus has produced a Doctor Who-themed show in previous years, the collaboration with BBC Worldwide marks a first for the organisation, which celebrates its fifth birthday in 2014.

By teaming up with one of the world’s largest media outlets, it has been able to improve the act by including original footage from the series and expanding the performance.

“It’s a slicker production, it’s a bigger production,” Willis says.

“If you’ve seen it before, come along and see it again because it will bigger and better.”

On arrival for the live event, guests with smartphones will be given details of an app they can download which will allow them to participate with the show – although Willis is reluctant to give away details of what that will entail.

He says the night will be primarily about entertainment and having fun, with the opportunity to learn something along the way an added bonus.

“The main thing we want to do is give people a good time, a night that they’ll remember and an opportunity to actually think about some of the real science behind the science-fiction that makes Doctor Who so popular.”

Ticket for The Science of Doctor Who go on sale tomorrow (February 11), with the national tour touching down in Adelaide on May 31.


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