Interference

Something I occasionally try to get across is that the Doctor is genderqueer even by the standards of his own people. The often-reblogged quote from Interference (“You’ve never been a woman, have you?” “I’m not sure I’ve ever even been a man.”)—he’s talking to another Gallifreyan there. He’s not just saying “I may never have been exactly what a human would think of as a man” given the anatomical and cultural differences of their planet, but “I may never have been exactly what you, a fellow Gallifreyan, would think of as a man.” As casual as I.M. Foreman is about her new form, she’s still taken off guard by the extent the Doctor has never really felt secure in his ostensible gender identiy. He’s (I go back and forth on what pronoun to use for the Doctor, which I think is appropriate) an eternal outsider in his culture.

Light Beam with a Curve

To make the beam, the researchers directed a centimeter-wide laser beam onto a watch-sized liquid crystal display screen called a spatial light modulator (SLM). The reflectivity of each pixel on this screen is related to its index of refraction, so the device allows control of the precise phase of light reflected from each spot. The team programmed the SLM pixels to provide the phase relationships needed for an Airy beam.

As with the Bessel beam’s diffraction-free “propagation,” light doesn’t actually propagate along the curved path. The beam is the pattern created by interference of light from the 500,000 carefully-phased pixels of the SLM.

The scrawls on the floor weren’t important, not in themselves. They were just aids to his concentration. Ways to help him think through the equations in his head. Ways to make his neurosystem lock on to the details of the temporal mechanics, and… trigger them. The TARDIS was modelled out of solid mathematics. That was no secret, of course. But whenever he told his companions that, they always assumed he meant just the physical material. They didn’t understand the way these things worked, the subtleties of the Ship’s engineering. The TARDIS was a complex space-time event. Its very existence, its very position in relation to the rest of the continuum, was just an intricate code series. As was his. That was what Rassilon had done to his people, when the Imprimiture had been worked into the biodata of the Time Lord elite. When you had Rassilon’s gift, you were mapped on to the vortex by the numbers, linked to the heart of space-time by an umbilical cord of pure mathematics. Just thinking about the formulae, just holding all the right equations in your head at the same time, was enough to trigger the connection and put you in a different time state. Back at the Academy, trainee Time Lords would play games with that principle. Transmigration of object, they called it. Sometimes you could do it in a second, without thinking about it, but most of the time you had to concentrate for hours, maybe days, visualising the correct codes. Then you’d take an object, focus on it, and displace it. Use your fast line to the vortex to take it out of the continuum. It played merry hell with your biodata, the Cardinals said, but it had never stopped anyone doing it as a party trick. It wasn’t any use at all as an escape route. Everybody knew that. 

- Interference, Book One, by Lawrence Miles