Physics of Superheroes

Physics of Superheroes

Book - 2005
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If superheroes stepped off the comic book page or silver screen and into reality, could they actually work their wonders in a world constrained by the laws of physics? How strong would Superman have to be to “leap tall buildings in a single bound”? Could Storm of the X-Men possibly control the weather? And how many cheeseburgers would the Flash need to eat to be able to run at supersonic speeds?Face front, True Believer, and wonder no more! Because in The Physics of Superheroesacclaimed university professor James Kakalios shows that comic book heroes and villains get their physics right more often than you think.In this scintillating scientific survey of super powers you’ll learn what the physics of forces and motion can reveal about Superman’s strength and the true cause of the destruction of his home planet Krypton, what villains Magneto and Electro can teach us about the nature of electricity—and finally get the definitive answer about whether it was the Green Goblin or Spider-Man’s webbing that killed the Wall Crawler’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy in that fateful plunge from the George Washington Bridge!Along the way, The Physics of Superheroesexplores everything from energy, to thermodynamics, to quantum mechanics, to solid state physics, and Kakalios relates the physics in comic books to such real-world applications as automobile airbags, microwave ovens, and transistors. You’ll also see how comic books have often been ahead of science in explaining recent topics in quantum mechanics (with Kitty Pryde of the X-Men) and string theory (with the Crisis on Infinite Earths).This is the book you need to read if you ever wondered how the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four can see when she turns transparent, if the Atom could travel on an electron through a phone line, or if electromagnetic theory can explain how Professor X reads minds. Fun, provocative, and packed with more superheroes and superpowers than an Avengers-Justice League crossover, The Physics of Superheroeswill make both comic-book fans and physicists exclaim, “Excelsior!” Quotes: “The Physics of Superheroesis clear, rapid, funny, and endlessly informative— as if Stan Lee and George Gamow had teamed up to battle the nefarious forces of ignorance.” —Gerard Jones, author of Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book “Author James Kakalios is a scientific genius who could put Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom to shame. Superman should have him on retainer. I do—because The Physics Of Superheroesis this comic-book writer's newest favorite indispensable resource.” —Mark Waid, writer of Spider-Man, Superman, and the Fantastic Four
Publisher: New York, NY : Gotham Books : 2005
ISBN: 9781592401468
1592401465
Branch Call Number: 530 K123ph
Characteristics: 365p illus

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DavidB
Jan 04, 2011

“At one point in the story, following a brazen daytime bank robbery, Electro is shown escaping from authorities by climbing up the side of a building as easily as Spider-Man. The panel is reproduced on p. 169 in fig 22, where we see one observer exclaim, “Look!! That strangely-garbed man is racing up the side of the building!” A second man on the street picks up the narrative: “He’s holding on to the iron beams in the building by means of electric rays—using them like a magnet!! Incredible!” There are two feelings inspired by this scene. The first is nostalgia for the bygone era when pedestrians would routinely narrate events occurring in front of them, providing exposition for any casual bystander. The other is pleasure at the realization that Electro’s climbing this building is actually a physically plausible use of his powers.”

d
DavidB
Mar 24, 2009

At one point in the story, following a brazen daytime bank robbery, Electro is shown escaping from authorities by climbing up the side of a building as easily as Spider-Man. The panel is reproduced on p. 169 in fig 22, where we see one observer exclaim, “Look!! That strangely-garbed man is racing up the side of the building!” A second man on the street picks up the narrative: “He’s holding on to the iron beams in the building by means of electric rays—using them like a magnet!! Incredible!” There are two feelings inspired by this scene. The first is nostalgia for the bygone era when pedestrians would routinely narrate events occurring in front of them, providing exposition for any casual bystander. The other is pleasure at the realization that Electro’s climbing this building is actually a physically plausible use of his powers.

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multcolib_central Jul 11, 2014

This is the book you need to read if you've ever wondered how superman flies, how the flash breathes while running so fast, and how Professor X can read minds. It's also a great book for sneaking some science into your comic-reading kids life. S/he won't ever notice s/he's learning.

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