Journal of Physics: How many kilocalories Darth Vader would need to power his Dark Side

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A new paper published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics entitled ‘How to be a healthy Sith Lord’ has calculated exactly how many calories Darth Vader would have needed to consume to strike his victims with lightening – and the answer is quite surprising.


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The Star Wars series features various characters who can utilize an invisible power known as ‘the Force’ to move objects and even blast lightning bolts from their fingertips. This led a group of undergraduate students at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom to experiment with what this would entail and if a Sith Lord could ever get by on an ordinary, balanced, healthy diet.

The researchers used two plates of a parallel plate capacitor which represented Darth Vader and one of his victims and assumed that the total amount of energy Darth Lord would need to create lightning over a period of ten meters would be the same amount required to charge the capacitor to full charge. They also made the assumption that the only resistance in the model would come from the body of Darth Vader. In addition to that, they also assumed that there would be no object in the near vicinity more capable of conducting the energy released by the lightning bolt that the victim of the Sith Lord.

They found that Darth Vader would have to have consumed a phenomenal 1 trillion kilocalories to generate lightning in this manner. To put that into perspective, it would mean that Vader would have to chomp down on an incredible 1.85 million Big Macs if he wanted to use his lightning powers. This means that if an evil Sith Lord wanted to use this kind of power, in reality, he’d probably have a similar physique to Jabba the Hut.

“We can thus conclude that without drawing power from some other source it is unlikely a Sith Lord could healthily produce lightning, ” the researchers concluded.

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