… the Creator of XKCD, Explains Complexity Through Absurdity”, per the NYTimes:
While giving a physics talk for high school students five years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Randall Munroe could tell that his audience was, in his words, “not totally with me.”
He was trying to explain potential energy and power — not complex concepts, but abstruse.
So, in the middle of his three-hour presentation, Mr. Munroe, who is best known as the creator of the Web comic xkcd, switched gears to “Star Wars.”
“I thought about the scene in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ when Yoda lifts the X-wing out of the swamp,” he said in an interview. “It occurred to me as I was lecturing.”
Instead of abstract definitions (an object lifted upward gains potential energy because it will accelerate if dropped; power is the rate of change in energy), Mr. Munroe asked a question: How much Force power can Yoda output?…
Mr. Munroe has now collected that work, including a version of his Yoda calculations and new material, into a book, “What If?” which has been on the nonfiction best-seller list since it was published in September…