Geek Alert: Science Channel Builds a Light-Saber!

Discovery operates something called the Science Channel, and most of the time I just ignore it. There are a lot of channels out there like that. If I paid them all attention, I’d never get to sleep.

Still, Science Channel (or SC for short) has a new program premiering Dec. 1 that tries — as many of these things do — to make science accessible to science-fiction geeks and the dumb kids in school (that is, the ones forced to become journalists). It’s still pretty technical, but “Sci-Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible,” does its best to translate gee-whiz movie elements into science, or rather, explore the possible science behind these gizmos and gadgets.

 Hosted by Dr. Michio Kaku (center), the author of “Physics of the Impossible,” the premiere looks at the science behind creating a “Stargate”-like portal as well as the feasibility of actually concocting a light-saber like the ones they use in the “Star Wars” films.

“Light just can’t be solidified into a blade,” Kaku explains near the outset of the second segment, sounding like a real killjoy, before he gets out the goggles and starts trying to form super-hot plasma into a three-foot blade. He finally enlists a guy at MIT who specializes in carbon nano-tubes — which sounds like something Mork would have had — before presenting his finding to a bunch of fans with their own toy light-sabers.

Just another reminder, George Lucas, of what you have wrought.

Actually, my guess is that the Pentagon can already build a light-saber, but that they won’t be issuing them to troops until the $3-billion price tag comes down. See, this is what happens to you when you watch crap like “Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura,” coming soon to TruTV.

Anything that gets kids to study, I suppose. But in this case, science doesn’t seem cool so much as like an endeavor with way too much time on its hands.

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  1. Mark John says:

    Nice article thanks for the share.

  2. Fatigue says:

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  3. joe564338 says:

    Freakin Copyright got the video off youtube… Damnit

  4. deadpenguin says:

    hey bees can fly and science disagrees with that 2

  5. deadpenguin says:

    WHat if u could intensify the light alter it in a a way to change the waves to make it solid i dont know much just a thought

  6. Naes Tees says:

    Sean Meaney posted:
    “Solid Light? Sure you can – A divide by Zero equals /A.
    Pi thus equals Circumference (C) divided by Diameter (D) so when C is divided by a zero Diameter we get Pi equals /C (a circumference unrelated to the circumference of a particle of zero radius except at superposition). Pi is thus not a fixed value but a superfluid of possibility. Light might therefor be solid at a value of pi other than our own.
    214 IQ…gets you all sort of problem solving capacities.”
    This, my friends, is a prime example of BS.
    1. “A” divided by 0, as some others have pointed out, is undefined, NOT “/A” ( What does /A even mean? )
    2. “Pi thus” You only use “thus” when your upcoming statement is corroborated by previously mentioned evidence. Pi is not the circumference of a circle divided by the radius BECAUSE of your earlier fallacious statement, Pi is the circumference of a circle divided by the radius ALL THE TIME, because that is in its definition.
    3. When D = 0, C = 0 and both describe the only one-dimesional object – a point. Deriving pi by 0/0 is sheer madness.
    4. WRONG! Pi is a mathematical constant; a numerical constant, because it is DEFINED as the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter. Therefore, it is not a superfluid, which is a term used to describe a completely non-viscous liquid (e.g liquid hydrogen, liquid helium)
    5. The last line is a non-sequitur.
    If this is what someone with 214 IQ is capable of, then I fear for the future of the human race.

  7. dan says:

    I just saw michio kaku divide by 0 on “Seeing Black Holes”.
    He wrote “1/r=1/0=inf” on a black board. Is this guy really a physicist?
    1/0 is always undefined.
    Now if he wrote lim r->0 of 1/r = inf then he would be correct.
    Oh yeah and 35189 IQ here.

  8. Kash says:

    1) I dont really know what that first guys deal was in bragging about your iq. If you have to even mention it or bring it up to show how smart you are, you probably arent.
    2) Anything that we can imagine is possible, and just because we have not found a way yet, does not mean that it doesnt exist. I’m glad that there are all these forums to share thought but we should be using our minds collectively for betterment of the world.
    3) If you divide by zero, then the value is undefined (which some people mistakenly label as infinity, only because in certain situations such as partical exceleration, it would mean infinity). Undefined just means its not defined, but to make it into a real number, it could be translated to either 1 or -1.
    4) I know that most everyone says a light saber is not possible, and im not claiming to have the whole solution, but I do know that it could work.
    a) It could not be light, or plasma, it would have to be laser technology. Plus, to control it, you would inside the handle probably have about thousands of filament lasers, half coiled clockwise, and the other counter-clockwise, and intertwine all the coils, this way it will seal the photonic discharge when the light saber is turned on to letting the minimum number of photons from leaking out. Plus, if you did have filament lasers and the connector is placed where the light would come from, it would probably be able to keep the saber width to a consistent 2 1/2 or 3 inches depending on the hole on the handle.
    The biggest problem to date is the successful power source and the handle creation. But other than that, when you do turn on the laser, or even when you swing it, the air is immediately ionized and then deionized as soon as the saber leaves it, thats what makes the light saber sounds. But a few other concerns could be when you spin it in a figure 8, how would that work. Because, the light saber is not just a solid, its a semi solid and will bend onto something at times…
    Just a few thoughts, Where theres a will, theres gotta be a way…

  9. Craig says:

    Reading all of this has made my day. Much of this discussion is pointless blabbering.
    I would like to point out however, that IQ tests are not meaningless. They were originally created by Psychologist to gauge the intellegence of each individual so that they could figure out the mysteries of intellegence. Such as whether or not they come from nature or environment, what intellegence really means, and what it has to do with each individuals personalities.
    So the way that most people use IQ test today (most of which are not really offical IQ tests) is wrong. It was not a way for people to brag about how smart they are and it does not actually tell how smart a person is. That can never truely be measured.
    “Intelligence is the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with his environment.” -David Wechsler (he was one of the guys that made the IQ tests)
    btw lightsabers are awesome and have more purpose than fighting; i.e. smaller versions could be used for quick welding in space or even cutting.

  10. pokefreak94 says:

    986 IQ here. By the way, Chuck Norris CAN divide by zero

  11. Rennas89 says:

    So I am just a college Freshman and I have built a lightsaber or as close to one as you can get within a budget of under $1000 USD. But one fact does remain light as we all know is made up of particles and waves. You can’t get solid light unless that light is a by product of another process, why you would want that light is a mystery to me as it means your wasting engery. The particles only move with the waves so unless you bend the wave which requires alot of gravity you can’t do it. My IQ is pointless to say, as it has no ground to mean anything but a number.
    By the way Mr supposed 215 IQ the IQ scale only goes to 200. And we really stop ranking before that. So next time use a real number.

  12. Mok says:

    @John Forster,
    it’s called a “magnetic bottle”, the charged plasma, is held inside, never actually touching the magnetic lines of flux. the plasma, is a high heat charged material, not plasma like shaving cream or that which you extract from blood. but that which is like the surface of the sun.
    one would not need the force to use it, just a lot of power in a really small package. the magnetic bottle would be strong enough to repel most energy weapons as well as other sabers, and the plasma would cut through just about anything. the length would only be limited to the size of the adjustable magnetic bottle. the handle would have to be magnetically shielded to focus the bottle in the proper direction and not allow the plasma to flow backwards. though i am not sure about the coloring, haven’t studied enough about the frequency of plasma.
    as for why? why not? we waste most of our intellect on things less important and useful. i know i would want one. and you are correct about the tesla coil.

  13. Dr. Violent says:

    A) Meaney up there is a troll. He has basically just threw out the “Pi = 3.0” havoc device into a pool of geeks. Easy pickin’ esp. with the IQ brandishing. The equivalent of wang size to a jock.
    B) Zero (0) is a concept that cannot be verified in reality -as we know it- The more you look into it, zero is just a reflection of infinity. (not enough room to explain it in detail. Just mull it over and you’ll probably find it.) Both of which are crutches that Hu-mons use to make it easier to understand the universe. They can always be used to create thought-paradoxes.
    C) Light could be bent if we had some way of changing universal constants. (i.e. Gravity can be used to bend light, some sort of localized hyper-gravity field could be used to bend light around itself. BUT if we had a method for controlling gravity, that in itself would be an infinitely more devastating weapon than a glorified mega-sword)

  14. karona says:

    The simple fact of the matter is this. We as a species know squat about physics. We can take guesses but truly thats all. Give your imagination some credit, the fact that we cant figure it out now does not mean we wont ever. Remember folks ….at one time the greatests minds of earth thought the world was flat.

  15. Matt says:

    Anyone with an IQ as high as some of you people claim would probably be smart enough to know IQ scores are meaningless. You can’t put a number on a person’s intelligence like you can with height. Shut it and go back to your Battlestar Galactica.

  16. Dman says:
    Just a head’s up when you go lying about your IQ.

  17. Dman says:

    Have IQ values suddenly become important? Also Have the tests changed so completely that 200+ numbers are possible?

  18. jae says:

    who cares if light can be a solid or not? even if it can be, how do you make said beam of light a specific length?

  19. Brian Lowry says:

    I for one am shocked that so many people with self-proclaimed high IQs have this much time on their hands, but it certainly makes for good reading. Be sure and look for my next post: “Einstein: Genius, or Overrated?”

  20. Sterius says:

    i am glad to know that we’ve got the human race’s top minds on the issue. the onus is now on you high IQ’s to make sure we have lightsabres before i die of old age. ready? GO!

  21. Atropos says:

    @Sean Meany:
    I suppose my 233 IQ would let me say that you’re being irrational. Stringing together a whole bunch of terms and phrases that you think no one else will understand is cowardly, and when that person that can understand them comes around, you look like an even bigger idiot. Congratulations.

  22. ThePete says:

    I think they mean *YOU* can’t make light solid, not that light can’t be made solid since everyone knows light is both a wave and a particle. So there. :P
    And by “everyone” I mean folks who remember that one day in high school science where that was mentioned.

  23. Heavy says:

    153 IQ here, anyone know if those apples are still around? I’m hungry.

  24. drixie says:

    Doesn’t divide by zero give you infinite?
    Also light can transform into matter(otherwise there would be no nukes which is the inverse)
    So hypothetically into a blade

  25. Amaru says:

    Ah, excuse me. Sorry to interupt. Where’s the bathreoom?

  26. anon says:

    No, the two apples don’t exist because they can’t be given to zero people… zero people does not mean no people.

  27. Mat says:

    There are 0 people to share 2 apples. Two apples remain. Division by zero is possible!

  28. CapnWalrus says:

    I don’t know guys, I feel like in the bizarre sort of math this guys doing, you can. Sure, you can’t divide the NUMBER 0, but I’m not sure that’s what he’s talking about. Then again, what do I know, I’m just a freshman.

  29. John Forster says:

    135 IQ here, suck at mathematics, and even I know you can’t divide by 0.
    The favorite explanation of a lightsaber is it’s a beam of plasma contained by a magnetic field… which I never really understood. Why does such a spectacular movie prop need such a mundane (and ultimately unfeasible) explanation?
    Even IF a lightsaber existed, the force doesn’t. So anybody with anything more powerful than a BB-gun would have a huge advantage. You’d essentially just have a really expensive and dangerous disco light.
    I say build a Tesla coil. It’s so much cooler, and you can still get laid if you own one.

  30. thetube says:

    Uhhh… you DO know you can’t divide by zero, right?
    ’cause if you allow it, a good chunk of basic math falls apart, and you can prove (among other things) that all numbers are equal. Which is why it’s forbidden.
    So, Mr. 214, methinx you better give your problem solving capacities another go.

  31. Sean Meaney says:

    Solid Light? Sure you can – A divide by Zero equals /A.
    Pi thus equals Circumference (C) divided by Diameter (D) so when C is divided by a zero Diameter we get Pi equals /C (a circumference unrelated to the circumference of a particle of zero radius except at superposition). Pi is thus not a fixed value but a superfluid of possibility. Light might therefor be solid at a value of pi other than our own.
    214 IQ…gets you all sort of problem solving capacities.

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