The Science of Regeneration in Doctor Who #SciFiSaturday
Someone who is not British once said that the most interesting thing about James Bond is the way the changes in the spy’s character reflect the way Britain sees itself during any given decade. It may be true for the way Britain imagines its relationship to the concurrent realpolitik, but if you want to know what Britain thinks of hope, humor, compassion, and intelligence, then you have to look to another uniquely British creation: the Doctor.
The character began as a grumpy aristocratic pedant in 1963 and then transformed into an intergalactic hobo in 1966, a dandy scientist swashbuckler in 1970, an anarchic alien bohemian in 1974, an emotionally vulnerable cricketer in 1982, an insecure, defensive genius in 1984, an avuncular cosmic machiavellian in 1987, a dashing romantic lead in 1996, a working-class war veteran in 2005, a brilliant hottie with two big beating hearts in 2006, a mad, fairy tale grampa in 2010, an alienated, world-weary Scot in 2014, and a community-seeking, socially awkward engineer in 2018. Who knows what Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor will be like in 2023?
And how does the longest running science fiction show of all time continue to reinvent itself? Regeneration. Here’s more from the Science Museum UK:
“This illustrates a fundamental principle about regeneration, which is that of pattern formation,” comments Sir Jim. “The great British developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert used to emphasise in lectures that cells on the amputated stump know their position along the axis of the limb, and know to regenerate in the right direction. Otherwise, when you cut off a newt’s limb, if regeneration went in the wrong direction, it might well regenerate a whole new newt, holding hands, as it were, with the old one.”
The recipe to build a body is held in the form of DNA in cells and scientists are beginning to uncover the genetic ingredients of regeneration. As one example, a study published recently by the Sánchez Alvarado Lab at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City studied how genes were used, or ‘expressed’, at the single-cell level, across all of the different cell types of a regenerating animal.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.