If you’re a Star Wars fan, or even just a casual watcher of the films, you’ve probably wondered if you’ll ever be able to have a working lightsaber or if maybe one day you can have your own droid. After you’ve returned to real life after allowing yourself to become immersed in the far away galaxies of the Star Wars universe, you can delve into the science that relates to the force you love with The Physics of Star Wars. Patrick Johnson, PhD, examines the technology, weaponry, and the force and the science behind all of these topics in a way that even those of us who struggled to pass a high school physics course can understand.
The Physics of Star Wars breaks down the entire Star Wars universe and examines how each element relates to scientific principles and theories from the real world. Johnson provides detailed examples of what we currently have or have attempted to create within the fields of science and engineering that are similar to what has been created in a galaxy far, far away. His explanations are easy to follow and outside of his explanations he provides fun little related factoids that connect with the material he’s discussing within each section. Now for those of you with a stronger background in the sciences there are some elements that delve into more detailed processes, but Johnson’s writing overall does cater to physics novices. I appreciated his use of examples, which allowed you to picture the formula or principle he was discussing. This allowed me to engage with the material and really take it in, as opposed to my eyes glazing over in an attempt to solve for x.
Johnson breaks down his book into 9 main sections and each of these sections is further broken down to provide detailed analyses of 45 elements from the movie franchise. My favorite sections were the three that focused on The Force, Robotics, and Other Tech. These happen to be the final three sections in the book, but this was entirely unintentional on my part. I also really enjoyed his examination of lightsabers in the section on Handheld Weaponry. While sadly it looks like I won’t be able to get a lightsaber of my own any time soon, I really appreciated the time he took to discuss the differences between light and plasma based beams and how they would each work in the real world. In his section on The Force the part that most intrigued me was Johnson’s examination of Jedi Mind Tricks. He details how it could theoretically be possible for someone to influence another person’s perception both through the concept of mentalism as well as through the idea of controlling neuron reactions. I enjoyed the entire section on Robotics and will admit that the robots in any science fiction work are typically my favorite characters. It was interesting to learn just how difficult it is to create a bipedal walking robot. I had never considered just how much balance it takes to walk or how hard that movement would be to replicate within a robot. Within the area involving Other Tech I most appreciated the topics devoted to body modification and robotic limbs. I have always been interested in the idea of augmenting our own bodies as we become more technologically advanced as a society and it was interesting to learn how science is working to do this in the real world.
The Physics of Star Wars is an interesting read that will definitely teach you a few things. Johnson easily relates scientific information in a way that will allow any reader to be able to connect with his material. This is a must read for Star Wars enthusiasts and fans and can be found online or in stores now.
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