The Physics of Superheroes

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9781592402427: The Physics of Superheroes

James Kakalios explores the scientific plausibility of the powers and feats of the most famous superheroes — and discovers that in many cases the comic writers got their science surprisingly right. Along the way he provides an engaging and witty commentary while introducing the lay reader to both classic and cutting-edge concepts in physics, including:

  • What Superman’s strength can tell us about the Newtonian physics of force, mass, and acceleration
  • How Iceman’s and Storm’s powers illustrate the principles of thermal dynamics
  • The physics behind the death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy
  • Why physics professors gone bad are the most dangerous evil geniuses!

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From the Back Cover:

Praise for The Physics of Superheroes

"Surprisingly enough, according to Kakalios, comic books get their physics right more often than you’d think."
The Boston Globe

"Writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Kakalios looks at classic comics with a physicist’s eye. . . . Outstanding."
—The Orlando Sentinel

"Kakalios, a University of Minnesota physicist and unrepentant comics nerd, offers up jovial, largely equation-free deconstructions of Ant-Man’s shrinking ability, the centripetal acceleration of Spider-Man’s swing, and the strength of his silk web."
—Discover

"Wildly entertaining, yet scientifically accurate... Comprises a fairly solid introductory education in physics, sweetened with a history lesson in classic comic book superheroes."
Metro

"Offers a droll but sincere look at what Superman and Spider-Man can teach about physics. . . . Entertaining. . . . His explanations are lucid and smooth."
Science magazine

About the Author:

James Kakalios is a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1988, and where his class "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books" is a popular freshman seminar. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago, and has been reading comic books for much longer.

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