Grading The Science Behind Star Wars

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens will hit theaters this week. According to Variety, the seventh film in the science-fiction franchise has sold more than $100 million worth of pre-sale tickets. I’m a fan of Star Wars but not a fan of crowds, so I will wait until the fanfare dies down.

To tide me over, my husband and I watched the very first movie (episode IV). I was seven when that film came out and I remember my parents taking my brother and me to the theater while we were on vacation in Cincinnati. Since then, every wrapping paper roll I encounter has turned into a light saber. My makeshift weapon certainly couldn’t slice through flesh and bone like butter – it is made of cardboard not plasma. Today I learned even more about the differences between my fake saber and the ones of movie legend via the latest Reactions video from the American Chemical Society. The video also examines the Death Star’s laser and puts to rest any outstanding questions. See for yourself.


Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor and wannabe Jedi Knight. She can be found wielding her wrapping-paper saber on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio. You can email her at