In my post about going vegan for a month I mentioned that during that time I ran a science outreach event in regional Victoria called "Science of Fiction: Doctor Who" and that I took a bunch of pictures on the way back. I went with Ben Lewis who writes at That Science Guy and he wrote up this post for our institution's (RiAus) blog. Hope you like the photos!
So is time travel possible? Well according to our panel of physicists, it is theoretically possible. Time is not straight, but rather wibbly-wobbly. So theoretically you can create a wormhole with a bridge to another wormhole, the problem being however that wormholes are typically extremely unstable. To help stabilise a wormhole you could explode it with anti-gravity. Does this mean that you can trvael to any time you wanted, as the Doctor does? Well no, you could only travel to the time when the wormhole at the other end was created, much to the chagrin of 7% of our audience who wished they could travel to earlier in the day and change their mind about going to the show.
Teleportation, however, was not as easy as time travel. Our panel suggested that you could scan a body and transmit the data to another place, then rebuild the body. However, it was pointed out that this would entail destroying the original body which raises an ethical quandry, and besides would the rebuilt you really be you? Also, according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation there is around 3000 trillion DVDs worth of data in the body, so transmitting that much data restricts the viability of teleportation.
The panel also talked life on other planets (while there may be life on other planets, with our current levels of technology the chances of finding it are extremely slim, and even then it may not be something we recognise as a living being), and robotics (when the audience found Billie Piper to be as creepy as a humanoid robot).
The event even had its own robot dog K-9. And here is where it started getting strange. Despite having never seen an episode of Doctor Who, James started getting into the spirit of the weekend, to the extent that on our travels we decided to make a record of The Adventures of K-9″.
K-9 was hugely popular at the show, with a number of people coming up afterwards asking for photos with him. So much so, when we left he thought he owned the town.
By Ben Lewis, That Science Guy