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I've heard humans now have the technology to change weather patterns like dispersing chemicals into cloud formations to make it rain.

Would electricity from lightning kill Cybermen or would it do nothing to Cybermen?

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    To the close-voter: this isn't necessarily opinion-based. There may well be instances in Doctor Who canon of Cybermen being struck by lightning, or some other high-powered electrical discharge, in which case we would have our answer. – F1Krazy Feb 27 at 11:36
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    “humans now have the technology to change weather patterns like dispersing chemicals into cloud formations to make it rain” — kind of, maybe. – Paul D. Waite Feb 27 at 12:36
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    Cloud seeding has been a thing for nearly a century; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_seeding#History_of_cloud_seeding – Valorum Feb 27 at 22:11
  • @F1Krazy - There are and we do – Valorum Feb 27 at 22:11
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    Yes, or no, depending on who's writing it. If they want to say these particular Cyberman have been upgraded with electricity-absorbers and are therefore lightning-immune, they can. – user3153372 Feb 28 at 10:07
22

Yes, it was very effective.

In the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip The Cybermen: The Dark Flame, lightning, directed by sentient planetary defences, proves to be a most efficaceous weapon against a small group of Cyberman, killing several of their number instantly.

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    +1 for an actual example of it working! – Ruadhan2300 Feb 28 at 11:16
  • @Ruadhan2300 - Yes, I thought it was rather better than "here's a thing involving electricity, therefore lightning would probably do X" – Valorum Feb 28 at 15:10
16

No

In the recent Season 12 Episode 8: The Haunting of Villa Diodati, the lone Cyberman uses the lightning to charge himself up, without dying or being disabled.


EMP or Electricity? Kind of...

During the time of the second Doctor (the tenth in the series as a whole), Season 2 Episode 6: The Age of Steel, Mickey and Ricky electrocute one of the Cyberman who is disabled temporarily.

In the same episode, an EMP is also used to temporarily disable the Cybermen.

However both these weaknesses were new. Cybermen from the classic Doctor Who series did not have these weaknesses.

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  • Good answer, just to add, Cybermen have also been shown (at least in more recent iterations) to constantly upgrade and adapt to new threats. Lightning seems like it could be reasonably easily insulted against if not outright turned into an advantage (as per the example of the Cyberman using it to recharge). Not to mention the question of how we would even harness the lightning against them. – delinear Feb 27 at 15:10
  • @delinear - To your latter point, Cybermen are sort of walking/talking lightning rods. If you could sufficiently polarize the atmosphere above a London street or graveyard full of Cybermen, nature would balance the potential difference by supplying the lightning. – user62584 Feb 27 at 17:14
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    Referring to David Tennant’s Doctor as the second is really confusing. Even in the rebooted series, they consistently started from 9 and had Tennant as the 10th. – KRyan Feb 28 at 3:02
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    @Jeeped Realistically, the complete shell of metal would form a Faraday cage, and external currents applied across the Cyberman’s body would not affect anything within, provided its internal circuitry was even mildly insulated from the shell. Basically unless the shell itself was used to conduct signals (astoundingly unlikely), or its shell has far higher resistance than you’d expect of a typical metal, lightning shouldn’t really affect a Cyberman much at all, for much the same reason that lightning strikes don’t usually affect airplanes in any way. – KRyan Feb 28 at 3:05
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    @KRyan - But the 'shell' is not one piece; more a combination of several interlocking pieces with joints and accompanying servos manipulating the segments. A Faraday Cage only works because it is uniformly providing an alternate conduit of least resistance for an electrical charge. Not so for a Cyberman's exoskeleton. – user62584 Feb 28 at 3:59
14

Yes.

There is at least one instance (in the TV Episode The Age of Steel) where a Cyberman is electrocuted and, following that, disabled. So it stands to reason that lightning would work as well.

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    If I remember it correctly, Micky electrocuted the Cyberman; I don't think lightning was involved in it. – Shreedhar Feb 27 at 13:23
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    True. But most things that are vulnerable to electricity, especially high voltage, are also susceptible to lightning. – Kakturus Feb 28 at 9:26
7

In The Tomb of the Cybermen, a human who has partially been turned into a cyberman electrocutes himself and a cyberman:

Toberman sacrifices himself to close the doors, completing the circuit, and electrocuting both him and the Controller.

(I think that this is a misunderstanding of electrocution, as electrocution comes from open circuits that are completed by a person's body, not complete circuits. The situation is that there are two door on the outside of the tomb, and the doors are acting as terminals. As soon as Toberman closes the doors, sealing in the the cybermen, the doors connect and complete the circuit, electrocuting Toberman. If anything, Toberman should have been electrocuted until he closed the door; before that, he was the path of least resistance for the electricity, but after he completed the circuit, the path through his body had significantly more resistance than just going through the doors.)

Also:

the group is attacked by a swarm of Cybermats, which the Doctor incapacitates with electrical currents

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  • @JanHudec I'm going off not just the wikipedia article but also my memory of the episode. I've edited to clarify. – Acccumulation Feb 29 at 21:40

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