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AOE professor says lightsabers are not lasers

December 18, 2015

A professor at Virginia Tech say lightsabers portrayed in the movies are not lasers.

Todd Lowe, an assistant professors in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering says the two would rely on different technology.

Lasers produce a beam of light that doesn't always have an end destination, while light sabers are sword-like and from what Star Wars movies show, are solid.

"I think it's a misconception. A lot of folks think that lightsabers are lasers when in fact if you look at the lore of Star Wars that's not the case. It turns out that it's a plasma beam and plasma beams follow their own rules," said Todd Lowe, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.

The discussion about lightsabers came up in the department during research for the Navy about jet flows.

Unfortunately for Star Wars fans, Lowe says real lightsabers don't exist. 

The Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech offers a unique blend of two disciplines that takes advantage of commonality in the analysis and design of aerospace and ocean vehicles. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in both disciplines. The Department has extensive facilities including world class wind-tunnels, water tunnels, structural test equipment, high-performance computer systems, and state-of-the-art spacecraft simulators.