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The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books Hardcover – April 15, 1999
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Jeanne Cavelos says, "Star Wars fueled my interest in space exploration and the possibility of alien life," leading her to a career in astrophysics. While these movies have inspired her, she admits that may not have been their intention.
In creating the part science fiction/part fantasy/part myth that is Star Wars, George Lucas did not seek to create a futuristic universe that agreed perfectly with our current understanding of science.... How realistic, how possible, is this galaxy far, far away?
The answer when A New Hope first came out was "not at all." But a strange thing has happened in the years since Star Wars first came out. Science is beginning to catch up with George Lucas.
Cavelos looks at Lucas's planets, aliens, droids, technology, and Force with both rationality and affection. The droids R2-D2 and C-3P0, among others, become more interesting and almost credible after her consideration.
The element of Star Wars that is most true to science is the sense of wonder it calls forth, which has very little to do with how close it is to a possible future. Or, as Steve Grand, director of the Cyberlife Institute, said to Cavelos: "I never try to let scientific implausibility get in the way of a good story!" --Mary Ellen Curtin
From Publishers Weekly
The opening in May of the new Star Wars film has hardcore fans in a frenzy. Timed to release with The Phantom Menace, this book follows in the tradition of The Physics of Star Trek and Caveloss own The Science of the X-Files. The author examines five major areasplanetary environments, aliens, droids, space ships and weapons, and the Forcein sufficient detail to satisfy even knowledgeable fans. Take Lukes desert home world, Tatooine. When Star Wars first came out, scientists doubted the existence of planets in other solar systems, but since 1995 several have been found. Could a planet form around a binary star? Yes, but due to gravitational forces only if the stars were very far apart or very close, so as Luke gazes out at his two suns setting, he sees an accurate portrayal of a binary system. Most of the Star Wars aliens fare equally well. The Wookies keen sense of smell, for example, would give them an alternative means of communication so that they might need to vocalize only with grunts and howls. Can the force be with you? Physicist David Bohm posited a quantum potential force that would interpenetrate and bind together everything in the universe, but only Yoda knows if we can direct it with our minds. Caveloss engaging style makes this book a treat, with no science background necessary. (May) FYI: The Science of the X-Files has been nominated for a 1998 Bram Stoker Award in the Nonfiction category.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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