What happens when science communication meets fandom?

An exploration of Tatooine
By Adrienne M. Roehrich, Chemistry Editor
A few weeks ago, a group of science writers produced a Science Carnival about the Science of Tatooine. Why would a bunch of science writers write about a fictional planet? Matt Shipman answers that question.

The short answer is that in science writing, as with all writing, it’s easier to capture an audience’s attention if you have a good story to tell.

But go check in for the long answer: Why a Bunch of Science Writers Are Writing About a Fictional Planet on Communication Breakdown.

There is a fair amount of talk about the biology on the desert planet made famous in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. What’s in John’s Freezer? receives a transmission from an Imperial Scientist discussing Functional Anatomy of Tatooine Megafauna (Hyperspace Transmission Received) by John Hutchinson. Southern Fried Science focuses in on the Kayt Dragon under the guise of a scientific article in Cascading planetary-wide ecosystem effects of the extirpation of apex predatory Krayt dragons on Tatooine by David Shiffman. It’s Okay to Be Smart features the entry of an interplanetary naturalist looking at the unique biology of the sarlacc in Diary of an Interplanetary Naturalist – The Sarlacc by Joe Hanson. Boing Boing takes a close look at exactly how the all and sundry animals on Tatooine could come to be in The Limits of Animal Life on Tatooine by Maggie Koerth-Baker.

The Limits of Animal Life gets one thinking about things other than the biology on Tatooine. SciLogs Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast talks plants via the knowledge of Momaw Nadon in Tatooine’s tangled bank – plants evolve in a galaxy far, far away by Malcolm Campbell.

Of course, plants and animals need water, the topic of GeekGirlCon’s Science of Tatooine: Water by (yours truly) Adrienne Roehrich. Finally, an entry getting quite a bit of talk is a report based on Earth’s own IPCC on Tatooine’s climate in Tatooine Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by David Ng.

The posts are written from different angles on different topics with the world of Tatooine in the fictional universe of Star Wars. Rumor is, Shipman has another Science Carnival in science fiction planned. I can’t wait to see the new run.

Main image credit: 20th Century Fox


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Adrienne Roehrich

About Adrienne Roehrich

Adrienne, chemistry editor at Double X Science, is the Associate Manager of an NMR Facility at a large public university on the west coast. Her training and research can be classified under chemistry, physics, and biochemistry or biophysics. She also has experience teaching from the kindergarten through university levels since 1996. Adrienne is mother to two “tween”-age children, a daughter and son, both of whom give her great pride and joy and also consternation at times. Adrienne tweets on science, food, feminist topics, and life in general.