Science At The Movies: Star Wars Roundup

Ever since STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opened on December 18, there has been talk about the scientific and technological realities and fictions in the film—from the design of spaceships to the stormtroopers’ armor. Below is a roundup of the ten best STAR WARS-themed science articles in no particular order.

1. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of science’s thought leaders and has a lot of quibbles with the film. On IFL Science: “Neil DeGrasse Tyson Finds Fault in the Science of ‘Star Wars’”

2. Diagnosing personality disorders and making correlations between evil and psychological wellness, National Geographic analyzes the film from a scientific standpoint: “The Real Science Inspired by Star Wars”

3. Wired uses math to make the distinction between lasers and what are called blaster bolts: “I Calculated the Mass of a ‘Star Wars’ Blaster Bolt For You”

4. Popular Science conducts a Q&A with the film’s electronic design and development supervisor and its animatronic designer about the making of a new star robot : “How ‘Star Wars’ Creators Made BB-8 Into a Robot Icon”

5. In The Wall Street Journal two authors break down STAR WARS into its major parts and draw comparisons to modern technology: “Droids and The Force: How the Science in ‘Star Wars’ is Actually Real”

6. The Houston Chronicle talks with a physics professor about gravity, light sabers, and holograms: “A Look at the Scientific Plausibility of ‘Star Wars’”

7. Popular Mechanics hones in on poorly designed crafts in the film: “5 Reasons Star Wars Spaceships Make Absolutely No Sense”

8. Taking a professorial approach, GeekWire compares fact and fiction in the film and doles out grades: “How the ‘Star Wars’ Saga Scores on Science”

9. In a more straightforward manner, KPBS interviews a physicist, designer, and experimental cosmologist: “The Science of Star Wars”

10. In TechInsider the chief engineer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains not only how to emulate the spacecraft in the film, but how to do it better : “NASA Has Figured Out a Better Way to Build the Death Star”

Museum of the Moving Image curator Eric Hynes reviewed the film in the journal Reverse Shot.