The Science of Star Wars

Star Wars – the fight of the light side of the force against the dark side – is a story that has fascinated us for the last 40 years. A crucial part of this story is the unbelievable scientific and technological advances – traveling through hyperspace, lightsabers, holograms, the discovery of habitable planets – that fill the universe. But are these advances really beyond our reach, or have we already surpassed some of them? Are they even scientifically possible? If you want to hear the answers to these questions, join us for a lecture on the science behind Star Wars, and the physical laws that we have to “bend” to make them work.

This talk discusses the physical laws and concepts underlying the scientific advances portrayed in the Star Wars movies. It thus provides a connection between the popular ideas and visions of Star Wars and actual cutting edge science. It reviews the physics of

  • “The Force” in the context of the standard model of high energy physics
  • “Light Sabers” in the context of electromagnetism, light waves and quantum mechanics
  • “Faster than Light Travel” in the context of Einstein’s special theory of relativity
  • “Exoplanets and Intelligent Life” in the context of discovering exoplanets
  • “Death Star” in the context of gravitational energy
  • “Robots and Artificial Intelligence” in the context of creating neural networks and computing power.

Event Details

Wednesday, April 3rd, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (lower level), 400 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60605.

This program is FREE to attend, and seating will be first come, first served (no tickets necessary).

This program is a part of the 2018-2019 One Book, One Chicago season, exploring the theme Imagine The Future and the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. For more information on other events, visit 

Parking and Transportation

The Harold Washington Center is easily accessible by most CTA trains and multiple bus lines. For detailed travel information visit or call the Travel Information Center at 1-888-YOUR-CTA or 1-888-CTA-TTY1 (TTY). For parking options, please visit

Notice: As a guest of Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST), you agree to be photographed, videotaped, or filmed and grant C2ST permission to put the finished footage/photography to any uses that it may deem proper including marketing, advertising (print, radio, and television) and PR-related activities.