Superheros and the science of fantasy

In a kick off event to the Amer­ican Phys­ical Society meeting taking place in Boston this week, the Col­lege of Sci­ence invited James Kakalios of the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota to make phys­ical sense of some very improb­able super­hero phe­nomena. I was bummed to miss it, but my col­league Greg St. Martin went. Here’s the piece he wrote for the News@Northeastern.

Appar­ently he dis­cussed the real reason for Gwen Stacy’s death in Spi­derman and how the Fan­tastic Four’s cos­tumes enable their superpowers.…I guess that wasn’t just fan­tasy after all?

I prob­ably have to check out one of Kakalios’ books to make myself feel better about missing it. I wonder if he talks about Bat­tlestar Galac­tica in there at all.…Starbuck cer­tainly bor­ders on the super­hero iden­tity, if you ask me, and I still have a lot of ques­tions there.

UPDATE! Watch the lec­ture (click once to pause; double click to play):

 

Photo: Mark Anderson, “Superman Card Game by Whitman (1978) — Superman” December 14, 2009 via Flickr, Cre­ative Com­mons Attribution