Do you ever wonder what if the Doctor exists and walks among us? That ‘Torchwood’ is real and the television show ‘Doctor Who’ is just an elaborate cover up? If the answer to that is yes, ever wonder who he might be?
Well, in the grand tradition of me not wanting to discern between fact and fiction, let me tell you exactly who I think the Doctor is. Last month I told you who I thought the Eighth Doctor was in real life. Well, this month I’ve chosen someone just as worthy.
Ninth Doctor: David Bohm
Of all the Doctors, I struggled the most with this one. I thought, surely, in nine months I’ll be able to figure out a scientist who wears leather jackets or has an unnatural obsession with bananas. But really, I couldn’t, because whether we like it or not, notable scientists that American culture recognizes seem to be cut of one specific cultural, economic, and ethnic cloth. Therefore, finding someone who would fit the bill of the Northern-accented, working class-ish Doctor was difficult.
And so it was that I chose David Bohm, partly for the similarity in their smile, but more largely because 1) David Bohm was the protege of Albert freaking Einstien, and 2) he’s viewed as being somewhat unorthodox. Two things I can easily relate to the Ninth Doctor.
So, let’s address those suppositions real quick.
Firstly, I’ve always viewed NUWho as being a sort of protege to Classic Who. They aren’t really the same, but the latter is definitely cut from the cloth of the former, which is why I thought David Bohm to be a suitable choice. Secondly, the 9th Doctor was also considered somewhat unorthodox, as he is the first and only Doctor to not have a Received Pronunciation. It’s also an endless topic of debate of whether or not the Ninth Doctor truly followed in the footsteps of ‘Doctor Who’ or not, or whether Rose and her background are true to former conceptions of companions.
In any case, Bohm lead an interesting life. Having communist leanings before the outbreak of WWII, he was not allowed to work on Project Manhattan despite Oppenheimer’s expressed desire. His notes for his doctoral thesis, however, were taken and classified thus making it impossible for him to see his own research. Unfortunately, his thesis was integral to the creation of the atom bomb, and though he had no research to defend for his thesis, he was able to graduate on the grounds that Oppenheimer basically vouched that he had done his research.
His former communist sympathies would get him into trouble, however, and despite working closely with Albert Einstein, Bohm became a victim of McCarthyism, after which he fled to Brazil. He spent half of his adult life living as a pseudo-exile, moving around the world. If that doesn’t remind you of the Doctor, in particular the 9th Doctor, I’m worried we’re watching different shows.
But allow me to end my very short story of the fascinating David Bohm with one of his most Doctor-like traits. Bohm, unlike most scientists, was obsessed with perception and its effects on scientific knowledge (which most sort of dismiss as post-modernist mumbo jumbo). He was also very much interested in perpetuating dialogue in order to create understanding, and is the originator of the “Bohm Dialogue”, a free form conversation style that is designed to bring all parties to a deeper comprehension of societal communication crises.
Does this not sound like the Doctor’s preferred mode of conflict resolution, folks?
Really, all around, David Bohm is an interesting character, and despite how long it took me to think of him to put his name in the Doctor’s hat, I’m really glad I thought of him. Not only is he little known despite his myriad contributions to the furthering of scientific discovery, he was an outside of the box thinker that deserves a lot more recognition than he gets.