The Science of Superheroes

Posted by barb on Jul 4, 2004 in Books |

by Lois H. Gresh and Robert Weinberg

This is a fun main-stream science book. The authors use comic book characters as a jumping-off point to discuss a variety of science topics. The subjects ranged from the possibility of life on other planets (inspired by Superman) to mutants and Darwin’s theory of evolution (from X-men) to the possibility of using a black hole as an endless energy supply (from the Green Lantern). There was a fun discussion about how strength scales with size, the thrust of which was that a 50 foot ant would not have the strength, proportionately, that a 1 inch human would. (The discussion was inspired by Ant Man, but reminded me of Bug Park, a fun book by James P. Hogan from a few years ago.)

It’s not necessary to be a comic book fanatic to enjoy this book. I don’t follow any comics, but the authors give enough description of each character they deal with that I felt very comfortable that I knew enough. The science itself is well-written and understandable (though I did skip much of the black hole discussion, since I’m more than familiar with that subject).

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