The Physics of Superheroes

The Physics of Superheroes

Format
Paperback
Price
$15.00
 
Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781592402427
  • 384 Pages
  • Gotham
  • Adult

Overview

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!

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction: Secret Origins: How Science Saved Superhero Comic Books

Section 1-Mechanics

1. Up, Up, and Away-Forces and Motion
2. Deconstructing Krypton-Newton’s Law of Gravity
3. The Day Gwen Stacy Died-Impulse and Momentum
4. Flash Facts-Friction, Drag, and Sound
5. If This Be My Density-Properties of Matter
6. So He Talks to Fishes, Want to Make Something of It?-Fluid Mechanics
7. Can He Swing From a Thread?-Centripetal Acceleration
8. Can Ant-Man Punch His Way Out of a Paper Bag?-Torque and Rotation
9. The Human Top Goes Out for a Spin-Angular Momentum
10. Is Ant-Man Deaf, Dumb, and Blind?-Simple Harmonic Motion
11.Like a Flash of Lightning-Special Relativity

Section 2-Energy-Heat and Light

12. The Central City Diet Plan-Conservation of Energy
13. The Case of the Missing Work-The Three Laws of Thermodynamics
14. Mutant Meteorology-Conduction and Convection
15. How the Monstrous Menace of the Mysterious Melter Makes Dinner Preparation a Breeze-Phase Transitions
16. Electro’s Clinging Ways-Electrostatics
17. Superman Schools Spider-Man-Electrical Currents
18. How Electro Becomes Magneto When He Runs-Ampere’s Law
19. How Magneto Becomes Electro When He Runs-Magnetism and Faraday’s Law
20. Electro and Magneto Do the Wave-Electromagnetism and Light

Section 3-Modern Physics

21. Journey Into the Microverse-Atomic Physics
22. Not a Dream! Not a Hoax! Not an Imaginary Tale!-Quantum Mechanics
23. Through a Wall Lightly-Tunneling Phenomena
24. Sock It to Shellhead-Solid-State Physics
25. The Costumes are Super, Too-Materials Science

Section 4-What Have We Learned?

26. Me Am Bizarro!-Superhero Bloopers
Afterword-Lo, There Shall Be an Ending!
Recommended Reading
Key Equations
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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