Monday, August 27, 2018

Dr. Stephen Hawking has some questions while aboard the Millennium Falcon 


Stephen Hawking demonstrating what gravity looks like when there isn't any. Image via Le Devoir

I'm sure we all remember Dr. Stephen Hawking's various appearances before a live audience or on programs such as the Simpsons, but do you remember his Star Wars cameo?



Hans Solo:
Welcome aboard Doc!

Stephen Hawking:
Thank you, Mr. Solo or should I call you Captain, or Han or…

Hans Solo:
This is the fastest ship in the galaxy you know, made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.

Stephen Hawking:
Oh? How fast was that?

Hans Solo:
Fast enough for you, old man!

Stephen Hawking:
But a parsec is a unit of distance, not time…

Hans Solo:
Exactly!

Stephen Hawking:
Well, that's confusing? Tell me, can you explain to me how gravity is achieved on this vessel?

Hans Solo:
Empire cruisers! Hang on, this might get rough!

Empire cruisers open fire on the Falcon, which sustains a direct hit.

Stephen Hawking:
But wait? If "blasters" (whatever they are), are striking this craft why aren't we pushed away from the point of impact? Come to think of it, why aren't the Empire's cruisers also pushed away in the opposite direction. That is to say the conservation of…

Hans Solo:
The shields can't take much more of this!

Stephen Hawking:
Yes - about the “shields”…

Hans Solo:
Punch it, Chewie!


Stephen Hawking:
Wait? Are we moving at the speed of light?

Hans Solo:
Hyperdrive, baby! We'll be home soon enough.

Stephen Hawking:
How is this possible? Look, back at the cantina, how were so many species able to breathe the same atmosphere? How can so many life-supporting planets be so close to each other? And planets of such different sizes that apparently have the same climate planet-wide not to mention they seem to have roughly the same gravity?

Hans Solo:
You ask a lotta questions, Doc!

Stephen Hawking:
How are there heavier-than-air craft that can defy gravity without wings or without the necessary thrust to create lift yet can enter and exit the atmosphere easily? And how, in a place without schools do so many people know how to build and maintain bi-pedal androids with significant artificial intelligence? Or why would shooting the keypad of a locked door open it? That would be like unlocking a front door by shooting the door bell.

Hans Solo:
Look, Doc, I don’t have time for this.

Stephen Hawking:
Does this entire galaxy run on suspension of disbelief?

Cue theme music, then use every conceivable screen wipe effect at once.

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