IRL Scientist on Doctor Who Its So Easy to Get the Science

first_imgStay on target HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster Yep! Seriously annoyed by the lab set up in #DoctorWho – so much so that I couldn’t focus on the episode through the rage! @bbcdoctorwho https://t.co/tHyLrrXpCX— Dr Suze Kundu (@FunSizeSuze) May 28, 2017 Doctor Who does a lot of things well. But understanding the physical or material world through observation and experimentation is not one of them.For more than 50 years, the popular sci-fi show has put the emphasis on fiction rather than science—an oversight that often leaves viewers miffed. Most annoying thing is you could have made story work with realistic mistakes, without the HUGE level of incompetence #Karl4DWScienceFixer— Karl Byrne (@KJCByrne) May 28, 2017Last week’s “The Pyramid at the End of the World” (midway point in Steven Moffat’s three-part story arc) is especially guilty of throwing protocol out the window.The episode hinges on human error—or, even worse, scientist error: Erica broke her reading glasses and Douglas is in a hungover stupor, ensuring neither is in tip-top shape to work in a biochemical research lab today.“You look, and don’t take this the wrong way—you look awful,” Erica tells her Agrofuel Research Operations colleague, who admits to a night of debauchery.“There was drinking. There were breakages,” he says, before drowsily suggesting they move to “stage two” of their work.“Well, it would be rude not to,” Erica says brightly. “You OK mixing it? Broke my reading glasses.”No, Erica, he’s not OK doing anything in this state but drinking gallons of water and having a lie down.Douglas (Tony Gardner) does not follow laboratory protocol (via BBC)Instead, bleary-eyed Douglas goes ahead with the task, unsurprisingly misplacing a decimal point (11.89 becomes 118.9) to accidentally create a super-bacteria, which later (rightfully) turns him into a pile of mush.Co-written by showrunner Moffat and Peter Harness (“Kill the Moon,” “The Zygon Invasion,” “The Zygon Inversion”), the episode raises so many questions.Why are there only two people working with this volatile material? Shouldn’t someone double check the inputs before pressing enter? How did Douglas—who’s stupid enough to get drunk on a weeknight then grab a cupful of obviously toxic material secured only by his hand—land this job in the first place?I studied journalism in college, and even I know that’s not how biochemical research labs operate.“It’s so easy to get the science right,” Dr. Pam Cameron, director of Scottish outreach firm NovoScience, told Geek.Boasting more than two decades of practical science experience, the former biomedical scientist in an email highlighted at least half a dozen blunders in the season’s seventh episode.“Surely a microbe capable of ‘killing off root systems’ would be handled in a containment level three or four lab,” she wrote.The airlock doors (built into an existing lab on location at Swansea University), indicate negative pressure. “Yet those would not open directly into an office,” Cameron explained. “They would open into an [anteroom], where scientists would take off outer hazmat suits or shower completely and re-dress for containment level 4.”And that’s not even the half of it.Is the suit Erica (Rachel Denning) wears really necessary? (via BBC)“What was the point of the ‘space suits’?” she asked, highlighting the lab rats’ all-white ensembles, which contain no independent oxygen supply, and can be removed on a whim. “What’s the point of wearing this?”Frankly, there is none. Except, perhaps, for Moffat and Harness to create the illusion of what they envisage as a working laboratory—complete with an air filtration system that cycles toxins out of the air every 30 minutes.“Very good,” Cameron said, “but this would NOT be vented into the atmosphere.”Running one of the most popular shows on television is a tough task, and it’s nearly impossible to please everyone. But surely Moffat & Co. could have put a few more minutes of thought and preparation into this episode.“Why not create the bacterium as being capable of mind control, forcing one of the scientists to release it? That’s not inconceivable,” Cameron suggested. “A good sci-fi writer could have dreamed that up or [consult] with a scientist to see what was possible.“It would have been so easy to depict this correctly and it would have made for more interesting viewing than the quick rush to the end, narrowly preventing destruction of the Earth,” she wrote.Read our full recap of “The Pyramid at the End of the World,” and watch tonight’s installment, “The Lie of the Land” (9 p.m. Eastern on BBC America), to find out whether this was all just a poor simulation by the Monks, or if the BBC should hire a real scientist to review its Doctor Who scripts.last_img

first_imgStay on target HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster Yep! Seriously annoyed by the lab set up in #DoctorWho – so much so that I couldn’t focus on the episode through the rage! @bbcdoctorwho https://t.co/tHyLrrXpCX— Dr Suze Kundu (@FunSizeSuze) May 28, 2017 Doctor Who does a lot of things well. But understanding the physical or material world through observation and experimentation is not one of them.For more than 50 years, the popular sci-fi show has put the emphasis on fiction rather than science—an oversight that often leaves viewers miffed. Most annoying thing is you could have made story work with realistic mistakes, without the HUGE level of incompetence #Karl4DWScienceFixer— Karl Byrne (@KJCByrne) May 28, 2017Last week’s “The Pyramid at the End of the World” (midway point in Steven Moffat’s three-part story arc) is especially guilty of throwing protocol out the window.The episode hinges on human error—or, even worse, scientist error: Erica broke her reading glasses and Douglas is in a hungover stupor, ensuring neither is in tip-top shape to work in a biochemical research lab today.“You look, and don’t take this the wrong way—you look awful,” Erica tells her Agrofuel Research Operations colleague, who admits to a night of debauchery.“There was drinking. There were breakages,” he says, before drowsily suggesting they move to “stage two” of their work.“Well, it would be rude not to,” Erica says brightly. “You OK mixing it? Broke my reading glasses.”No, Erica, he’s not OK doing anything in this state but drinking gallons of water and having a lie down.Douglas (Tony Gardner) does not follow laboratory protocol (via BBC)Instead, bleary-eyed Douglas goes ahead with the task, unsurprisingly misplacing a decimal point (11.89 becomes 118.9) to accidentally create a super-bacteria, which later (rightfully) turns him into a pile of mush.Co-written by showrunner Moffat and Peter Harness (“Kill the Moon,” “The Zygon Invasion,” “The Zygon Inversion”), the episode raises so many questions.Why are there only two people working with this volatile material? Shouldn’t someone double check the inputs before pressing enter? How did Douglas—who’s stupid enough to get drunk on a weeknight then grab a cupful of obviously toxic material secured only by his hand—land this job in the first place?I studied journalism in college, and even I know that’s not how biochemical research labs operate.“It’s so easy to get the science right,” Dr. Pam Cameron, director of Scottish outreach firm NovoScience, told Geek.Boasting more than two decades of practical science experience, the former biomedical scientist in an email highlighted at least half a dozen blunders in the season’s seventh episode.“Surely a microbe capable of ‘killing off root systems’ would be handled in a containment level three or four lab,” she wrote.The airlock doors (built into an existing lab on location at Swansea University), indicate negative pressure. “Yet those would not open directly into an office,” Cameron explained. “They would open into an [anteroom], where scientists would take off outer hazmat suits or shower completely and re-dress for containment level 4.”And that’s not even the half of it.Is the suit Erica (Rachel Denning) wears really necessary? (via BBC)“What was the point of the ‘space suits’?” she asked, highlighting the lab rats’ all-white ensembles, which contain no independent oxygen supply, and can be removed on a whim. “What’s the point of wearing this?”Frankly, there is none. Except, perhaps, for Moffat and Harness to create the illusion of what they envisage as a working laboratory—complete with an air filtration system that cycles toxins out of the air every 30 minutes.“Very good,” Cameron said, “but this would NOT be vented into the atmosphere.”Running one of the most popular shows on television is a tough task, and it’s nearly impossible to please everyone. But surely Moffat & Co. could have put a few more minutes of thought and preparation into this episode.“Why not create the bacterium as being capable of mind control, forcing one of the scientists to release it? That’s not inconceivable,” Cameron suggested. “A good sci-fi writer could have dreamed that up or [consult] with a scientist to see what was possible.“It would have been so easy to depict this correctly and it would have made for more interesting viewing than the quick rush to the end, narrowly preventing destruction of the Earth,” she wrote.Read our full recap of “The Pyramid at the End of the World,” and watch tonight’s installment, “The Lie of the Land” (9 p.m. Eastern on BBC America), to find out whether this was all just a poor simulation by the Monks, or if the BBC should hire a real scientist to review its Doctor Who scripts.last_img

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