The four-decade-long Star Wars juggernaut has inspired untold cultural memes, from annual holidays to political critiques. It seems scientists, too, have found lots of inspiration in the goings on in a galaxy far, far away. To mark the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” STAT took a look at just how the Force has been felt in the scientific literature. We followed the lead of Sciencewatch.com editor Christopher King, who combed 12,000-plus journals and found nearly 1,000 scholarly papers inspired by or analyzing Star Wars characters and themes.
Here, with King’s help, we showcase our favorite biology and medicine papers that pay homage to the series:
6. Von Willebrand factor, Jedi knight of the bloodstream
Bonus quote: “Like members of the Jedi Order in the movie Star Wars who learn to use ‘the Force’ to do good, VWF may be considered the Jedi knight of the bloodstream.”
5. The fall and redemption of people and systems: Potential lessons from the “Star Wars” saga
Bonus quote: “We believe that there are important lessons in Star Wars that can potentially inspire and illuminate the work that psychiatrists do.”
4. Is Anakin Skywalker suffering from borderline personality disorder?
Bonus quote: “Thus, even if developmental issues in a gifted child as he struggled with adolescence and young adulthood could also be discussed, Anakin Skywalker presents both psychodynamic and criteriological features suggesting BPD.”
3. Star Wars in psychotherapy: Video games in the office
Bonus quote: “While playing the video game titled Lego Star Wars II, the patient aimlessly wandered the game levels without accomplishing any of the game-related goals.”
2. Macrophages and inflammatory mediators in chemical toxicity: a battle of forces
Bonus quote: “Just as in Star Wars, where there was a balancing force to counter the machinations of The Dark Side; The Jedi, guardians of peace and justice; so it is that there is a tissue protective role for macrophages.”
1. Orthopteran DCMD neuron: a reevaluation of responses to moving objects
Bonus quote: “In our initial experiments, locusts viewed an edited version of the video of the film Star Wars.”