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Here’s Why Lightsabers Don’t Vaporize Their User’s Hands

If there were any universe where you’d think hand protection would be the number one priority, it would be the Star Wars universe. More hands have been lost in those movies than Bothans have died obtaining plans for planet-killing weapons probably. So it stands to reason that having the main weapon of your heroes be an ultra-hot beam of plasma is a bad idea. Apparently it’s no big deal, but why?

In my latest Because Science, I’m taking the utility of the lightsaber for granted while trying to figure out why having something that should be thousands or even millions of degrees doesn’t straight up vaporize all hands within a few meters. I think it has everything to do with why the plasma of a lightsaber is a blade in the first place — the same containment system that turns the super-heated gas into a plasma may save your hands. The difference between temperature and heat is what keeps you from being Skywalkered.

This episode was the 100th episode of Because Science! I want to personally thank everyone who has tweeted or emailed or been supportive in any way. And to those of you who watch with your kids or in classrooms, thank you for making everything worthwhile. Here’s to 100 more!


Check out my last video on whether or not a scheme from Futurama could stop global warming, subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show, buy a Because Science shirt (you know why), and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode!

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