Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios

Not every teen boy is a nerd, and not every fan of superhero comics is so obsessed or even interested as to find our whether or not certain caped crusaders and otherwise super-abled people could plausibly do what they do. But there are lots of us out there who do care.

This book is a bit of a science lesson dressed in tights. Could Superman really leap tall buildings in a single bound? (No, he masses too much for the amount of energy that would be required to give him the required lift.) Could Iron Man really have a power plant implanted in his chest without killing him? (No, it would get too hot.) Could the Atom really shrinking to atomic sizes and beyond? (No, there is an absolute minimum distance in the universe, so the atom couldn't be smaller than that.) James Kakalios is a physics professor from the University of Minnesota who felt that physics could be taught in a more interesting way then the old stodgy examples of beams of light and little bits of stuff no can ever see. Using characters from the Silver Age, he illustrates major concepts such as the speed of light, atomic theory, and spacetime.

Is is science and some of the concepts are pretty heavy at some points, so this isn't for everyone, but the connections to popular culture are obvious. There is certainly a teen audience for this, particularly if there are lots of nerdy kids around.
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