Wired writer Rhet Allain gets into some serious scifi homework I recommend to both science and physics enthusiasts, and star wars fans. Here he offers up a list of objectives in the form of a homework assignment for you to get into a bit of physics (or lack of) through the Star Wars Universe:
I recently did a Reddit AMA on the Science of Star Wars. If you like, you can check some of the very interesting questions (along with my answers). Or even better, I will list some Reddit inspired questions in Star Wars that you can turn in for homework. The usual rule applies, if you wait too long to turn in the homework, I might answer them instead.
-Now for the questions from Reddit. You might want to take a peek at my answers on the AMA, but that won’t be good enough for a full homework answer.
-How hot is a light saber? (from roguepublichealth) I think you have to first figure out what a light saber actually is and why it glows.
-How much material would be needed to build the Death Star (from astanisic) You will obviously need some estimates here. If you want a second question, how long would it take to put this Death Star together. You can answer for both the first (Episode IV) and second (Episode VI) Death Stars – which are different sizes.
-How can you make artificial gravity in a spaceship (other than spinning) (from awhit13). I think this question might be accomplished with a literature review. Surely someone out there has come up with an explanation for how these spaceships could have artificial gravity in them. Oh, and if you just say “interial dampeners”, you will fail.
-What is more deadly, blasters or kinetic weapons (conventional bullets) (from JimmyDeLaRustles). I guess you need to first figure out what a blaster bolt actually is made of. My guess is that it is plasma. Next you need to say how something is deadly – is it the kinetic energy, the total energy, the momentum?
-Why doesn’t an AT-AT fall over when it walks? (from RagingLlamas) You might want to examine the Hoth battle scene from Episode V.
-How far in the past do the Star Wars movies take place? Clearly, there isn’t an exact answer. You can get a range of ages though. Also, how far away is this galaxy – a range is fine too.
-Where is the center of mass for a light saber that is thrown? (from BrooklynKnight) Check out the scene where Vader throws his light saber.
There you go. No cheating.
Oh, a bonus essay question: Compare and contrast the physics of Star Wars vs. the physics of Star Trek.
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