WIRRAL students were invited to learn science fact or fiction at a physics day dedicated to Star Wars.

Pupils from Mosslands High School and Prenton High School explored the science behind speeder bikes, proton torpedoes, hologram messages and droids at The Physics of Star Wars event hosted by the Cockroft Institute at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday, November 20.

With the new Star Wars film set to hit the big screens on December 19, professors at the University of Liverpool decided it would be a great opportunity to show how discovery science can shape the future.

Head of physics at the University of Liverpool, Professor Carsten Welsch said: “Most people would recognise a lightsaber from Star Wars, so with the imminent release of The Rise of Skywalker, we thought there would be no better way to share our work in accelerator science than setting it against iconic scenes from the films to highlight its future potential.

“For example, in the very first movie, Luke Skywalker uses proton torpedoes to destroy the Death Star – the giant space station that destroys planets.

"Proton beams are more powerful than lasers and can be directed to release their power accurately on target.

Wirral Globe:

Professor Carsten Welsch (centre) communicated the work of accelerator science using Star Wars

“Now, 40 years on, science fact has caught up with science fiction. Within our Optimisation of Medical Accelerators (OMA) project we have been exploring ways to better control proton beams to improve cancer treatment.

"This is an advanced treatment technology available in the UK at the Christie Hospital since 2018, ensuring destruction of a tumour hidden deep inside the body.

"Our research targets the development monitors that can sense the beam used for cancer treatment without touching it – not by using the Force, but by measuring precisely the beam halo surrounding the beam and correlating this information to the dose delivered to the patient.

“For the students to experience for themselves the problems of controlling a beam you can’t see to hit an invisible target, we have created a Star Wars themed proton mini golf challenge.

"They experience first-hand that targeting becomes much easier if an advanced detector helps them guide the 'beam', i.e. the mini golf ball.”

Across the globe there is a shortage of highly trained scientists and engineers although in the North West there is world-class expertise in this field of science.

It is hoped by hosting an event such as this that the Cockcroft Institute can inspire the next wave of scientists and engineers.

Prof Welsch added: “As the voice-over of Luke Skywalker says in the latest film trailer, ‘We’ve passed on all we know’, and that’s exactly what we’re hoping our Physics of Star Wars event will do: help inspire the next generation of scientists and researchers to dream about what they might be explaining to others in 40 years’ time!”