The Christmas Synopsis - WNAR#90

Welcome to Who New and review, a podcast from the Galactic Network

aka superhero The Ghost

Paul McGann

Wayne Yip


The Science Behind Who
The sonic screwdriver, also called a sonic probe or simply the sonic, was a highly versatile tool used by the Doctor. He modified and ostensibly upgraded it over the years, giving it an increasing number of applications. Early versions were used mainly for the picking of locks and for projecting sound so as to, for example, detonate objects and fry circuitry. But could such a device actually exist?

The idea that sound waves carry energy seems intuitively reasonable – think of the physical feeling we humans experience when we get close to powerful loudspeakers with heavy sub-bass found at concerts and clubs. Sound can be felt physically and not just heard. A fantastic demonstration of this phenomenon can be found in acoustic levitation experiments. While this looks like spooky action at a distance, it’s purely down to the fact that acoustic waves, carry momentum. This means they can apply a force, usually called the acoustic radiation force. If the force is stronger than gravity, objects can be levitated.

This may be of great use for repelling but useless for turning screws. This is where acoustic vortices come to the rescue: these are acoustic waves with wavefronts shaped in a spiral pattern, called a helix. This spiral pattern provides acoustic vortices with rotational, rather than linear, momentum. If this momentum can be transferred to an object – such as a screw.

The first to get close to a real sonic screwdriver was a research team from the University of Dundee who in 2012 created an acoustic vortex with a special medical ultrasound transducer designed for destroying tumours. They used this device to rotate a large disk made from a material which absorbed the rotational momentum of the waves. This was impressive, but it doesn’t replicate many of the sonic screwdriver’s capabilities. We’ve gone a step further by showing that similar devices can be scaled down and used to manipulate microscopic particles.

More exciting is the knowledge that the particles’ motion is also extremely sensitive to their material properties, such as stiffness and density. This could lead to new methods for medical diagnostics. If, for example, healthy cells can be distinguished from unhealthy ones (cancerous cells are thought to be softer then healthy cells), these detections could be possible on a very small scale – perfect for medical diagnostics and for forensics.

It’s likely that acoustic vortices will soon join existing methods as a new tool for the controlled manipulation of tiny and microscopic matter. So sometimes science fact is just as interesting as science fiction

More News

BBC America has released details of their Doctor Who Christmas Special

Tom Baker’s latest Big Finish

Synopsis for The Return of Doctor Mysterio


A to Z


Monster – Mercy Hartigan
Episode The Next Doctor  
Planet of Origin – Earth
Technology No technology until she is cyberised

Mercy Hartigan, also known as Miss Hartigan, was a human agent of the Cybermen. She assisted them in their attempt to conquer Victorian Britain and then, ultimately, the world. However, once converted, Miss Hartigan's superior mind gained control over the Cybermen's technology. She not only killed the Cyber-leader but also assumed leadership over the others. Shortly after this, the Cyberking rose out of the Thames and attacked London with Miss Hartigan as the "brain" of the vessel. The Tenth Doctor then used a device made from Infostamps to break the link between her and the Cybermen. She saw what she had become and, overcome with remorse and horror, destroyed both herself and the Cybermen in a suicidal attack.

A Touch of Class
The way the review will work is as follows, I will begin with a synopsis, the good bits, the bad bitsand the most whovian bit and then any notable things in way of a review followed by my rating using the universal method (yep – out of 5 tardis)

The Synopsis
The whole gang is thrown into detention by Miss Quill. Locked in her classroom, they are terrified when an explosion propels them out of space and time: trapped, claustrophobic and floating in blackness with no way of escape. Although a mysterious asteroid fragment may be their key to freedom, it forces the gang to confess their deepest, darkest secrets to one another. As ugly truths come out, fractures start to appear in the friendship group.

And then they make a chilling discovery. They’re not alone. There’s somebody in there with them.#

The Good Bits
The Good Bits - the premise was a bit red dwarf - but with less comedy. Do we actually want the truth?

The Bad Bits
bad acting and a premise that works better as a joke \ funny set up scene

The Most Whoniversal bit
This episode felt less like a Doctor Who episode than the others

My Musings

Are detentions always like this?

If these were real 17 year olds they would probably have cider and crisps in their bag

Is the rock dangerous

With all the whoby gang present then it would a great time to build the characters - fingers crossed.

Strikes me that the gang are a bit brainless - they should of prepared proper questions

Please don't pick up the stone - surely the alien is the best person to pick up the alien rock.

When was airbag an insult?

Oh Ram - I was beginning to get disinterred until you asked how many knobs the prince has.

At least quill made a great entrance.