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The Physics of Superheroes

July 7th, 2008     by Tiina Johns     Comments

Comics are great for using weird, pseudo-science to explain fantastical characters and plots. The Scarecrow is dosing all of Gotham with a poisonous gas that causes scary, psychedelic trip-outs and makes everyone kill each other? Buh? What? Well, he’s poured it all into the water system and now he’s using a giant microwave which vaporizes the water and make the air poisonous. Oh, okay. That totally makes sense.

Dr. James Kakalios, a Physics professor and comics lover, wrote a book called The Physics of Superheroes. He uses quantum physics, electromagnetic theory and astronomy to explain the whys and wherefores of all your favourite superheroes.

A couple of excerpts from his lectures are now up on YouTube. I love this one, about the Atom, the hero who has the ability to shrink to a minute size.

He also settles a debate about the infamous death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy…

…and points out that, no matter how strong Superman is, he really can’t fly across town carrying two skyscrapers:

Tags: comics are for everybody

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