Student calculates which colour lightsaber would be most powerful
Aspiring Jedi Knights will be happy to learn that the red lightsabers used by their enemies, the Sith, are likely the weakest type available on the futuristic arms market, while a purple lightsaber would be the strongest, based on calculations made by a student from our Centre for Interdisciplinary Science.
Luke Willcocks first calculated the power output of Qui-Gon Jinn’s green lightsaber in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace by examining a scene from the film in which the character, played by actor Liam Neeson, attempts to melt a hole in a blast door which blocks his route.
With the strength of a green lightsaber in mind, based on how long it would take to melt through the door, Luke applied his calculations to other colour variants of the iconic weapons of the Star Wars universe.
He concluded that shorter wavelengths would result in a more powerful lightsaber overall, with the lightsabers taking the following amount of time to melt through the door:
· Red – 14.00 seconds
· Yellow – 12.00 seconds
· Green – 11.00 seconds
· Blue – 9.60 seconds
· Purple – 8.20 seconds
Based on these findings, Luke’s calculations suggest that purple lightsabers would be in high demand in the Star Wars universe, being able to burn through a reinforced metal door in almost half the time as a red lightsaber and thus being more powerful.
This leaves the Sith with the weakest type of lightsaber – the red variety - perhaps explaining why they ultimately lose in the films against more powerful weaponry.
Luke presented his findings in a paper for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, a peer-reviewed student journal run by the University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Science. The student-run journal is designed to give students practical experience of writing, editing, publishing and reviewing scientific papers.
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- The student paper ‘Calculating the power output of Qui-Gon Jinn's lightsaber’ is available here
- The student paper ‘Calculating the power change of a lightsaber due to colour’ is available here