Doctor Who’s TARDIS Sparks Lawsuit Over Its Origins

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an unearthly child doctor who

Now that everyone has had a little breathing room in between lawsuits over where James Cameron gets his ideas, we’ve got something a little more wibbly wobbly going on in the courtroom. The son of a former Doctor Who writer is suing the BBC over breach of contract, claiming his father invented the TARDIS, and they owe him another dimension’s worth of money over it.

Anthony Coburn is a screenwriter who wrote the first four episodes of the first season of Doctor Who, with William Hartnell as the mysterious Time Lord. His son Stef claims Coburn conceived of the big blue TARDIS after coming upon two of the police boxes on a walk through London. Coburn’s death in 1977 is when the son says the BBC first breached contract, and he is demanding that Coburn’s estate be paid for every use of the TARDIS since then, or that the time machine be removed from the show altogether. This is kind of like asking Scooby and the gang to just take a pick-up truck. No mere mortal is going to take the TARDIS away from the Doctor. But Stef Coburn sure is trying.


Help Turn The Empire State Building TARDIS Blue For Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

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Empire State BuildingI love the Empire State Building. Everything about it is iconic, from the construction to its architecture and symbolism. One of the aspects I love most about it is how its floodlights change colors to commemorate events and seasons. After 9/11, it was red, white, and blue for a long time. In December, it’s green, red, and white. It’s green for St. Patty’s Day. It’s been lit up to commemorate the Knicks, Rangers, and even Queen Elizabeth. Now, a petition has been circulating to turn the Empire State Building blue—and not just any blue, TARDIS blue—on November 23rd in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who, the longest running science fiction show ever.

New York SciFi & Fantasy, an organization whose existence was sadly unknown to me when I lived in the Big Apple, started the petition on change.org in order to persuade the folks in charge of the Empire State Building to show a little love to the Doctor. Come on now, the Empire State Building has celebrated the Lion King and Wrestlemania (seriously?! That’s both ridiculous and awesome), so a little nod to the Doctor and the TARDIS doesn’t seem like a huge stretch.


Physicist Brian Cox Says One-Way, TARDIS-Like Time Machines Are Possible

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brian cox tardisBritish physicist Brian Cox has long been a member of the scientific community who has achieved popularity the world over, due in part to a brief career in music and his frequent championing of scientific programming on television, presenting such miniseries as Wonders of the Solar System and Stargazing Live. That popularity isn’t going to wane now that he’s saying time machines are possible and that we may soon be able to explain how the TARDIS, as seen in Doctor Who, is bigger on the inside than the outside. Okay, so he isn’t saying these things definitively with mounds of proof behind them, but I’m pretty sure we can trust his informed conjectures.

“Can you build a time machine?” Cox asked a crowd while giving a speech at the British Science Festival last week. “The answer is yes.” But we’re not talking about some Bill & Ted-style excellent adventure back to the days of Napoleon, and he says going back into the past is impossible. What he’s talking about is a time machine that could take you into the “future” by traveling near the speed of light, so that the universe around you would be experiencing events much more quickly than you, relatively speaking. Of course, no one has been able to construct such a device just yet, even though related progress has been reached on a molecular level. (I’m guessing watching Primer 12 times a day isn’t going to teach me how to make such a device.)


The TARDIS May Help Explain The Acceleration Of The Universe

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TARDISIs there anything the TARDIS can’t do?

Scientists from the University of Helsinki are using the TARDIS as a model of how our universe might work — namely, that it seems to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. They call this theory “TARDIS spacetime,” which sounds like a pretty awesome spin-off.

So…what exactly is TARDIS spacetime attempting to explain? Why, the mysterious acceleration of the universe, of course!

The universe is expanding, but logic would dictate that its expansion would slow down over time, due to gravity. But through observations of supernova, scientists have learned that the universe is expanding faster than it did before. Scientists have long pondered this mystery, trying to account for it. Even Einstein tried his hand at the problem back when the conventional view of the universe was that it was neither expanding nor contracting. He proposed something called the cosmological constant, which represents the density of energy in space, as an add-on to his theory of general relativity. Einstein later said he regarded the cosmological constant as one of his greatest mistakes. But when the Hubble revealed that the universe is indeed expanding, the cosmological constant unexpectedly attained new relevance.


Explore Inside Doctor Who’s TARDIS With Google Maps

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TARDISOkay, Google, you’ve been having some trouble with the whole privacy thing lately, but this goes a long, long way toward redemption. In fact, it makes me feel downright warm and fuzzy toward the folks at the corporate giant who—at least this time—used their Googlepowers for good by developing a Doctor Who Easter egg. No, not that kind of Easter egg. The wink-wink nudge-nudge kind that computer geeks slip into their programs when they can’t resist adding a personal touch.

If you search for a police telephone box in London on Google Maps, you’ll get a street view where you can see one chillin’ nonchalantly at Earlham Green. But then you see it’s got an average of 4.5 stars and almost 500 reviews, so you already know it must be doing something right, and its description is “traveled the universe, met some interesting beings.” Still, it looks like your average blue phone box—until you get inside, where it is much, much bigger.


Doctor Who Fans Rally To Save A Scenic TARDIS (That Wasn’t Actually In Danger)

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The great thing about Doctor Who’s TARDIS is that it can travel anywhere in space and time. Even Salem, Massachusetts. That’s where Doctor Who fans recently rallied to save their very own local TARDIS from governmental busybodying…even though it turns out they didn’t need to.

Okay, so the Salem TARDIS doesn’t actually travel through time and space. It’s almost certainly not bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. No, it’s just a utility box made to look like the Doctor’s sweet ride. It was painted by Salem artist Amanda Dunham, as part of the city’s “ArtBox program.” The idea behind it is to spruce up the local utility boxes with some colorful creativity. So where did all the drama come from?


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