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Published on January 28th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

Doctor Who Saves Science

The Tenth Doctor and martha witness a supernova!There have been numerous stories over the past few years of Doctor Who being employed to illustrate science fact, as well as occasions when fact has mirrored the fiction of the Whoniverse – and this is possibly our favourite yet!

A British scientist has this week utilized a specially written trip for the Doctor and Martha to explain the events of a catastrophic supernova – hardcore science details of the same event are being published in Nature.

Dr Megan Argo, from Cheshire, is a lifelong Doctor Who fan and professional astronomer.

“I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since I was a child. It was partially to blame for me becoming a scientist.

“I first came across an concept called entropy in a Doctor Who story called Logopolis and remember being fascinated, even though it was some ten years before it was ever mentioned in a physics lesson.”

Dr Argo utilized the telescope at Jodrell Bank near Manchester to make her contribution into the findings, and used the Doctor and Martha as a method of illustrating the phenomena of the exploding star 35 million light-years away from Earth. The supernova is labelled 2007gr.

“I sent it to my collaborators and they liked it too. I’ve never had so much interest in anything I’ve ever written!”

The official paper in Nature is entitled “A mildly relativistic radio jet from the normal Type Ic Supernova 2007gr” by Paragi et al.

(Via ScientificAmerican.com | Read Doctor Who and the Silver Spiral)

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.



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