The Tardis, Dalek and "The Brain of Morbius" at this year's World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio. Someone is wearing the wrong Sci Fi costume, but more about that in the next post.
November 23 is the 50th anniversary of the very first DR WHO episode! Sadly it was overshadowed by the tragic events in Dallas on November 22. We are happy to say that the Doctor has reached his 50th birthday!
The first episode was "An Unearthly Child" with William Hartnell as the Doctor. It begins with the Doctor's granddaughter Susan having trouble fitting in an English school. To a young Time Lady, the science taught in the school seems primitive! In 1963 scientists still disagreed whether the universe expanded or was forever in a "steady state". Discovery of the cosmic microwave background in 1965 convinced most that the universe evolved from a smaller, hotter state. Today the universities are teaching young minds about "inflation" and other "dark" energies. Today's science will someday seem very silly.
TARDIS stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. DR WHO has inspired many people to think of Space as a place of adventure full of fascinating and frightening creatures. Unlike most Sci Fi spaceships, the TARDIS can fade away and "teleport" itself through Space and Time without passing through the region between. It has also made us wonder whether Time and Space can be manipulated to teleport us to other worlds.
After 3 years William Hartnell was replaced by Patrick Troughton. The producers came up with the innovative idea of having the Doctor "regenerate" into a new body. In a half-century we have now seen over a dozen actors (but no actresses) step into the role. The outgoing Matt Smith is the youngest Doctor yet. The Time Lords seem to have circumvented another effect of time, the ravages of age.
From the April 1, 2010 issue of NEW SCIENTIST:Time Lords discovered in California
"Time Lords walk among us. Two per cent of readers may be surprised to discover that they are members of an elite group with the power to perceive the geography of time.
"Sci-fi fans – Anglophile ones, at least – know that the coolest aliens in the universe are Time Lords: time-travelling humanoids with the ability to understand and perceive events throughout time and space. Now it seems that people with a newly described condition have a similar, albeit lesser ability: they experience time as a spatial construct.
"Synaesthesia is the condition in which the senses are mixed, so that a sound or a number has a colour, for example. In one version, the sense of touch evokes emotions.
To those variants we can now add time-space synaesthesia.
"In general, 'these individuals perceive months of the year in circular shapes, usually just as an image inside their mind's eye,' says David Brang of the department of psychology at the University of California, San Diego."
The Brang et al. paper is in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.
You may be fortunate if born among the "2 percent". Many people, no matter how educated, will never figure out that Space and Time are one phenomenon. The Universe has a characteristic radius, our distance from the "Big Bang". In Planck units, R = t. In units of meters and seconds, this would become R = ct. The Universe can't expand at the same rate c forever, so c must be further related to time. After doing some math, we get: GM=tc^3. In Planck units, these two expressions combine as M = R = t.
Mathematics allows us to reduce the Universe to equations that even student Time Lords can understand. If physics professors can't grasp that GM=tc^3, they dismiss it as wrong. People should be valued for their differences, and more of us should try to be Time Lords. The Time Lords long ago figured out that GM=tc^3, leading to their mastery of Space and Time. Others may go to their graves muttering that the speed of light is constant, just as Earth is flat. Time Lords learned to regenerate their bodies, removing the ravages of time. All things change with time, even the speed of light.