The Science of Star Wars cover
The Science of Star Wars

The Science of Star Wars; by Jeanne Cavelos;
St. Martin's Press.; NYC;
Hardcover edition: April, 1999; 272 pp.; hardback; $22.95 U.S. $34.99 Can.
ISBN 0-312-20958-4

Trade paperback edition (with additional "Afterword" on midi-chlorians):
May, 2000; 288 pp; $14.95 US, $22.99 Can.
ISBN 0-312-26387-2

Kindle edition (with additional "Afterword" on midi-chlorians):
April, 2010; 284 pp; $7.99 US.
ISBN 0-312-20958-4

Nook edition (with additional "Afterword" on midi-chlorians):
April, 2010; 224 pp.; $7.99 US
ISBN 9781429971768

EPUB edition (with additional "Afterword" on midi-chlorians):
April, 2010; $7.99 US
ISBN 9781429971768

This book was not authorized, prepared, approved, licensed, or endorsed
by any entity involved in creating or producing any of the Star Wars ® films.

Cover Copy:

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

How possible is this galaxy "far, far away"?

In this entertaining and accessible work, former NASA scientist and Star Wars fan Jeanne Cavelos explores the fascinating scientific possibilities raised by the Star Wars films and books. From A New Hope to The Phantom Menace, Cavelos examines the compelling issues underlying America's most popular science fiction series. Enlisting the aid of leading experts from today's cutting-edge scientific disciplines, Cavelos writes in a conversational, easy-to-read style that will appeal to both young science enthusiasts and the most wizened scholars.

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 space ships like the Millennium Falcon make the exhilarating jump to hyperspace?
  • Why do Jawas have glowing eyes?
  • 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 astrophysicist and Star Wars enthusiast explores The Science of Star Wars.

Jeanne Cavelos is a writer, editor, scientist, and teacher. --but first and foremost, a Star Wars fan. She first saw Star Wars at age 17, and the opening shot, in which a huge star destroyer flew endlessly out of the screen, sent her heart racing. The Star Wars films fueled Jeanne's interest in space exploration and the possibility of alien life.

Jeanne began her professional life as an astrophysicist and mathematician, teaching astronomy at Michigan State University and Cornell University and working in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center. She is also the author of The Science of The X-Files.


"The author examines five major areas--planetary environments, aliens, droids, space ships and weapons, and the Force--in sufficient detail to satisfy even knowledgeable fans.
. . . Cavelos's engaging style makes this book a treat, with no science background necessary."

    --Publishers Weekly

"While every inch a scientist, Cavelos's affection for and knowledge of Star Wars bleeds through on every page.
. . . You won't be able to put The Science of Star Wars down once you've begun it."

    --Captain Comics, Sunday Telegraph

"Likely to have lasting appeal.
. . . This is an unusually rich, diverse and reasonable analysis of the scientific questions raised by the Star Wars series. A physics textbook it isn't; it's as easy to read as it is to munch buttered popcorn on a hot summer afternoon.
. . . Sigh, if only Jeanne Cavelos had been my teacher."

    --San Francisco Examiner

"This book is for all of us who wonder why jumping into hyperspace isn't like dusting crops on Tatooine. . . Appealing and accessible. The scientific research presented is the mainstream of current thinking in astrophysics, cosmology, robotics, genetics, and biological adaptation."

    --Christian Science Monitor

"An intriguing examination of the scientific possibilities raised by the films of George Lucas.
. . . The book 'reverse engineers' the more spectacular elements of the saga. It takes the fantastic elements of the movies--like faster-than-light travel--and examines the current state of science to see if they're possible. . . Using the vocabulary of the films and a dash of humor, Cavelos manages to make some of the most mind-boggling notions of contemporary science understandable, interesting, and even entertaining."


"If you enjoy science, Star Wars, or both, then this is a fun read."

    --SF Site

"Learning physics has never been so easy or so much fun."

    --The Milford Cabinet

"If you've ever wondered if it's physically possible to make a light saber, if a single blast from a Death Star could destroy an entire planet, or what type of environment would spawn a Wookiee, then The Science of Star Wars is the book for you.
. . . The book examines the scientific plausibility of the Star Wars films. . . in a comprehensive but still-understandable conversational style."


"Surprisingly accessible. . . intelligent.
. . . It has left me with a greater understanding of the remarkable scientific advances that can seem as magical as Star Wars itself."


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Except where noted, Content © 1999 - 2019 Jeanne Cavelos
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Updated Mar 15, 2014
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