By Michael Greshko, National Geographic
"As Star Wars: The Force Awakens—the latest installment in the Star Warssaga—prepares to take us back to a galaxy far, far away, few could be more excited than the hordes of scientists and engineers whom the film series inspired.
“What would students prefer: formulas, or the soundtrack of the Imperial March?” says Guy Walker, a civil engineering professor at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University.
Walker applied real-world techniques to the notoriously explosion-proneDeath Star, as an example for his civil engineering students of analyzing flaws in big engineering projects. After obtaining its plans from an officialtechnical manual, he and his colleagues gave themselves the equivalent of four days—the amount of time the Rebel Alliance had with the plans—to test two different flaw-finding techniques."