# Using physics to determine the weight of Yoda

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1. Sep 3, 2015

### fzero

This article in Wired http://www.wired.com/2015/08/used-physics-calculate-much-yoda-weighs/ describes a calculation of Yoda's weight from a still from The Empire Strikes Back. The author, Rhett Allain, is an Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. I didn't go through the details of the calculation, but it does fall in line with an obvious guess about how the shot was staged.

2. Sep 3, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

What? an estimate of what the fictitious yoda of the movie would weigh? You do realize that he probably was mostly movie effects, and no telling what materials the physical part of him was made.

3. Sep 4, 2015

### fzero

The calculation in the article is a bit more interesting than that. The scene is one in which Skywalker is doing a one-hand stand, supporting Yoda on his feet. By estimating the center of mass of the Luke-Yoda system and requiring that it be in equilibrium about the pivot point, Yoda's mass is determined from some assumptions about Luke's height and weight. The mass turns out to be negative, which I take as a fairly indirect confirmation that Mark Hamill's legs were supported by a rope or cable.

4. Sep 4, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

Obviously what is shown on film is purely for the visual effect and not intended to have any relationship to reality. The people that create these effects for film couldn't care less how realistic they are. Trust me, I know people that do the effects for these films and they give zero thought to reality. They do not care.

Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
5. Sep 4, 2015

### fzero

I am saying that the actor's orientation in the scene is not natural and some physics can be used to show that he had to be supported to maintain his pose. Presumably the shot was green-screened and Yoda could have even been added in post-production, but it makes sense that the actor was posed in a particular way for the shot. The result is consistent with that. There wasn't any particular reason to tilt the camera or rotate the frame in post for this scene.

6. Sep 4, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

You would be surprised to find out how much of what you see is not real. Easier to add it with a computer later than require any specific actions or abilities from an actor.

7. Sep 4, 2015

### fzero

In 1979?

8. Sep 23, 2015

### maka89

Assuming that newton's third law holds for THE force, I would say that Yoda's mass >> mass of an x-wing. Maybe even apporaching infinity.