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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

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1 Beaverton Physics- General
1 Hawthorne PHYSI- GENERAL

The Physics of Superheroes

by

The Physics of Superheroes Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Physics of Superheroesapplies the reality of physics to the fantasy of comic books. James Kakalios explores the scientific plausibility of the powers and feats of the most famous superheroesaand 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:

a What Supermanas strength can tell us about the Newtonian physics of force, mass, and acceleration

a How Icemanas and Stormas powers illustrate the principles of thermal dynamics

a The physics behind the death of Spider-Manas girlfriend Gwen Stacy

a Why physics professors gone bad are the most dangerous evil geniuses BACKCOVER: Praise for The Physics of Superheroes

aSurprisingly enough, according to Kakalios, comic books get their physics right more often than youad think.a

aThe Boston Globe

aWriting with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Kakalios looks at classic comics with a physicistas eye. . . . Outstanding.a

aThe Orlando Sentinel

aKakalios, a University of Minnesota physicist and unrepentant comics nerd, offers up jovial, largely equation-free deconstructions of Ant-Manas shrinking ability, the centripetal acceleration of Spider-Manas swing, and the strength of his silk web.a

aDiscover

aWildly entertaining, yet scientifically accuratea] Comprises a fairly solid introductory education in physics, sweetened with a history lesson in classic comic book superheroes.a

aMetro

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

aScience magazine

Synopsis:

Packed with more superheroes and superpowers than an Avengers-Justice League crossover, this title takes a lively look at the physics behind the superpowers of comic-book heroes.

Synopsis:

A complete update to the hit book on the real physics at work in comic books, featuring more heroes, more villains, and more science 

Since 2001, James Kakalios has taught "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books," a hugely popular university course that generated coast-to-coast media attention for its unique method of explaining complex physics concepts through comics. With The Physics of Superheroes, named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover, he introduced his colorful approach to an even wider audience. Now Kakalios presents a totally updated, expanded edition that features even more superheroes and findings from the cutting edge of science. With three new chapters and completely revised throughout with a splashy, redesigned package, the book that explains why Spider-Man's webbing failed his girlfriend, the probable cause of Krypton's explosion, and the Newtonian physics at work in Gotham City is electrifying from cover to cover.

About the Author

James Kakalios is a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He has published more than one hundred physics papers and has conducted research on a variety of obscure physical phenomena. He serves as a science consultant on the adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen into a major feature film.

Table of Contents

The Physics of Super Heroes 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

Product Details

ISBN:
9781592405084
Author:
Kakalios, James
Publisher:
Gotham Books
Subject:
Physics
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
Physics -- Study and teaching.
Subject:
Comic books, strips, etc. in education.
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Physics-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20091131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9.01 x 6.09 x 1 in 0.92 lb
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Criticism
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Comics and Graphic Novels
Science and Mathematics » Featured Titles in Tech » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Popular

The Physics of Superheroes Used Trade Paper
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$11.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Gotham Books - English 9781592405084 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Packed with more superheroes and superpowers than an Avengers-Justice League crossover, this title takes a lively look at the physics behind the superpowers of comic-book heroes.
"Synopsis" by ,
A complete update to the hit book on the real physics at work in comic books, featuring more heroes, more villains, and more science 

Since 2001, James Kakalios has taught "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books," a hugely popular university course that generated coast-to-coast media attention for its unique method of explaining complex physics concepts through comics. With The Physics of Superheroes, named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover, he introduced his colorful approach to an even wider audience. Now Kakalios presents a totally updated, expanded edition that features even more superheroes and findings from the cutting edge of science. With three new chapters and completely revised throughout with a splashy, redesigned package, the book that explains why Spider-Man's webbing failed his girlfriend, the probable cause of Krypton's explosion, and the Newtonian physics at work in Gotham City is electrifying from cover to cover.

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