• Question: Are light sabers real?

    Asked by Darth Vader to Jonathan, Kellie, Kevin, Melissa, Stephanie on 26 Apr 2016.
    • Photo: Jonathan Jackson

      Jonathan Jackson answered on 26 Apr 2016:

      This is a little outside of my area of expertise, but I’ll try to answer at least part of the question. Sadly, I don’t think light sabers, the way we’ve seen them on the movie screen, are real. Lots of science and thinking and hard work went into to making light sabers look real, which should not be forgotten.

      But don’t be discouraged! We have learned to do incredibly exciting things with light and lasers in recent years. We can “slow down” the speed of light (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-30944584 or https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23925-light-completely-stopped-for-a-record-breaking-minute/), or use laser weapons (video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLwqWBtmUEc). We are still learning what we can do with light, how we can play with optics, and many of those ideas came from the science fiction stories that we love. And hey, Christian, maybe someday you’ll be a scientist who studies light and tries to bring the concept of a light saber closer to reality. It has to be someone – why not you?

      Someday, probably not soon, we may have handheld weapons that use light or lasers. But for now, we’ll just have to leave it to computer scientists and animators to bring it from their imaginations to the big screen.

    • Photo: Stephanie Moon

      Stephanie Moon answered on 26 Apr 2016:

      Wouldn’t that be cool?! Not that I’ve heard of. I use lasers in a microscope to look at fluorescent proteins in live cells though! Basically you run a beam of light into a cell, and then another wavelength (or color) of light is given off by the cell, and that’s the color that you end up seeing.

    • Photo: Kevin Baker

      Kevin Baker answered on 26 Apr 2016:

      I wish we had a physicist here to answer this! Here is a website (physics.org) that addresses some of the issues with a light saber.


    • Photo: Melissa Wilson Sayres

      Melissa Wilson Sayres answered on 26 Apr 2016:

      Lasers are absolute real, and can cause real damage to your eyes, but no, light sabers in the way we see them in popular culture aren’t real. Yet. More here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-close-are-we-to-building-a-real-lightsaber-a6781331.html

    • Photo: Kellie Jaremko

      Kellie Jaremko answered on 27 Apr 2016:

      Sadly the ones we see in Star Wars movies are not real but as the other scientists said lasers are real and used in science.