Magnets Are Cool: 3 Magnetic Moments from Doctor Who
If you’re unfamiliar with the ultra-popular BBC scifi show, Doctor Who, the series follows the unnamed Doctor travelling through space and time in his blue box (TARDIS) and saving the universe time and time again. Like many science fiction series, Doctor Who employs a lot of imaginative, if not inconceivable, technology. There’s the TARDIS itself, which any Whovian will tell you is bigger on the inside; the Doctor’s trusty sonic screwdriver that’s capable of unlocking almost any door; and psychic paper that shows the reader exactly what they want to see.
Yes, the tech in Doctor Who is what you’d expect from a show about time travel and aliens. This piqued our interest. Surely there had to be some instances of magnetism in its historic 50 years on air! We’ve searched space and time to bring you our favorite magnets from Doctor Who:
Imagine a magnet so powerful it could attract anything contained in space and time. This is the general principal behind the nefarious Vortex Magnetron in 1972’s “Day of the Daleks.” The Daleks are an alien race and sworn enemy of the Doctor. They are pure evil and do not understand compassion or emotion.
In an effort to vanquish all of their foes at once, the Daleks bring the Doctor and his companions to a fixed point in the future, thinking they finally have them in their clutches. A battle ensues between the forces of good and evil. Eventually the Doctor winds up back in the present day where he sets off a bomb attracted by the Vortex Magnetron, blowing up the Daleks for good (or so he thinks).
Hand of Omega
One of the most powerful objects in the entire universe, the Hand of Omega was first introduced in 1988’s “Remembrance of the Daleks.” Legend has it that the Hand of Omega was constructed by the first Time Lord eons ago to create a supernova. This supernova would power the Time Lords’ technology and experiments. Conversely, the Hand of Omega also has the ability to eradicate magnetic fields, essentially turning planets and stars into black holes
Deciding it is too powerful, the Doctor hides the Hand on Earth. However, it is discovered by the villain Davros--the leader of the Daleks-- who plans to use it to turn the Daleks’ home planet into a power source for time travel. The Doctor uses the Hand’s ability to destroy magnetic fields, wiping out his enemy’s homeworld for good (or so he thinks).
Doctor Who is well known for its Christmas Specials. 2007’s “Voyage of the Damned” finds the Doctor aboard an actual space Titanic and it looks like history is on course to repeat itself. The ship is run by a team of robotic angels called the “Heavenly Hosts.” True to their name, the Hosts are supposed to ensure the happiness and safety of the Titanic’s passengers.
However, the episode’s antagonist, Bannakaffalatta, turns out to be a cyborg and uses an electromagnetic pulse to overwrite the Hosts’ hospitable programming and attack all passengers. After some clever reprogramming, the Doctor is able to return the Heavenly Hosts to normal and the Titanic resumes its voyage through the stars.
Doctor Who has endured for over fifty years because it continues to adapt and change with the times. The same can be said for the technology it employs. While these inventions and devices are far fetched, they allow even the most mathematically-minded person time to dream. Did we miss your favorite Doctor Who magnetic tech? Tell us about it!
Image by aussiegall