Cover image for 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
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
Cavelos, Jeanne.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xv, 255 pages ; 25 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library QB500 .C38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clarence Library QB500 .C38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library QB500 .C38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library QB500 .C38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library QB500 .C38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Could the science fiction of Star Wars be the actual science of tomorrow?-How close are we to creating robots that look and act like R2-D2 and C-3PO?-Can we access a "force" with our minds to move objects and communicate telepathically with each other?-How might spaceships like the Millennium Falcon make the exhilarating jump into hyperspace?What kind of environment could spawn a Wookiee?-Could a single blast from the Death Star destroy an entire planet?-Could light sabers possibly be built, and if so, how would they work?-Do Star Wars aliens look like "real" aliens might?-What would living on a desert planet like Tatooine be like?-Why does Darth Vader require an artificial respirator?Discover the answers to these and many other fascinating questions as a noted scientist and Star Wars enthusiast explores The Science of Star Wars.

Author Notes

Before becoming an author, Jeanne Cavelos was an astrophysicist and mathematician, who taught astronomy at Michigan State University and Cornell University and worked in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center. She decided to go into publishing and earned a MFA in creative writing. As senior editor of Bantam Doubleday Dell, she was the head of the science fiction/fantasy publishing program and created the Abyss imprint of psychological horror, for which she won the World Fantasy Award. In 1994, she decided to become a full-time author. She has written The Science of Star Wars, The Science of the X-Files, and The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy set in the Babylon 5 universe as well as short fiction, essays, and reviews. She also runs the full-service freelance company Jeanne Cavelos Editorial Services, which provides editing, ghostwriting, consulting, and critiquing services. She is the director of Odyssey, an annual summer workshop for fantasy, science fiction, and horror writers, and teaches writing and literature at Saint Anselm College.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA-Cavelos, an astrophysicist, mathematician, writer, and teacher, examines the science behind George Lucas's popular series of movies, comparing his fictional universe with the universe as we currently understand it. She points out that in the two decades since the debut of Star Wars: A New Hope, science has come much closer to making Lucas's vision a reality. Rapid interstellar travel is theoretically possible. Extraterrestrial life is apparently more abundant than previously thought. Robots seem to need emotions to learn and interact effectively with humans. There may even be-dare we say it?-a Force. The writing is clear and geared toward readers with "no particular science background" although some is necessary. The author lightens the jargon with humor, and her examples for scientific principals and phenomena are apt. For example, Schrodinger's paradox is illustrated not by a cat in a box, but by Princess Leia in a cell. This book will appeal to the many fans of the films.-Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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