Workshop IIIc: Communicating Science to the Public with Superheroes

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When: Nov 5th at 10:30 am

Leaders: James Kakalios, School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Minnesota and Rebecca Thompson, American Physical Society

Liaison: Toni Sauncy

Inspired by the popular science book THE PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES, this Workshop will describe how one can use superhero comic books and motion pictures to illustrate a broad range of physics concepts and principles, and make them accessible to general audiences. For example, was it “the fall” or “the webbing” that killed Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man’s girlfriend in the classic Amazing Spider-Man #121? What is the connection between the Marvel comics’ super villains Electro and Magneto (and which one is associated with electricity, and which one with magnetism?). How do various characters turn invisible, and how do they manage to see when transparent? In addition to having many more scans from comic books and clips from Hollywood blockbusters than the standard physics talk, this workshop will involve hands on demonstrations that illuminate the topics discussed. All this, and the answers to such important real life questions as the chemical composition of Captain America’s shield, and who is faster: Superman or the Flash? will be discussed.