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The Physics of Superheroes,9781592402427

The Physics of Superheroes

by
Edition:
Reprint
ISBN13:

9781592402427

ISBN10:
1592402429
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
9/21/2006
Publisher(s):
Penguin Group USA
List Price: $15.00

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What version or edition is this?
This is the Reprint edition with a publication date of 9/21/2006.
What is included with this book?
  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any CDs, lab manuals, study guides, etc.

Summary

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 superheroes—and 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: • What Superman’s strength can tell us about the Newtonian physics of force, mass, and acceleration • How Iceman’s and Storm’s powers illustrate the principles of thermal dynamics • The physics behind the death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy • Why physics professors gone bad are the most dangerous evil geniuses! BACKCOVER: Praise for The Physics of Superheroes Surprisingly enough, according to Kakalios, comic books get their physics right more often than you’d think.” —The Boston Globe Writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Kakalios looks at classic comics with a physicist’s eye. . . . Outstanding.” —The Orlando Sentinel Kakalios, a University of Minnesota physicist and unrepentant comics nerd, offers up jovial, largely equation-free deconstructions of Ant-Man’s shrinking ability, the centripetal acceleration of Spider-Man’s swing, and the strength of his silk web.” —Discover Wildly entertaining, yet scientifically accurate… Comprises a fairly solid introductory education in physics, sweetened with a history lesson in classic comic book superheroes.” —Metro Offers a droll but sincere look at what Superman and Spider-Man can teach about physics. . . . Entertaining. . . . His explanations are lucid and smooth.” —Sciencemagazine

Author Biography

James Kakalios is a physics professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has been teaching since 1988.

Table of Contents

FOREWORD xiii
PREFACE xv
INTRODUCTION: SECRET ORIGINS: HOW SCIENCE SAVED SUPERHERO COMIC BOOKS 1(20)
SECTION 1 MECHANICS
1. UP, UP, AND AWAY
FORCES AND MOTION
21(12)
2. DECONSTRUCTING KRYPTON
NEWTON'S LAW OF GRAVITY
33(9)
3. THE DAY GWEN STACY DIED
IMPULSE AND MOMENTUM
42(11)
4. CAN HE SWING FROM A THREAD?
CENTRIPETAL ACCELERATION
53(4)
5. FLASH FACTS
FRICTION, DRAG, AND SOUND
57(12)
6. LIKE A FLASH OF LIGHTNING
SPECIAL RELATIVITY
69(6)
7. IF THIS BE MY DENSITY
PROPERTIES OF MATTER
75(9)
8. CAN ANT-MAN PUNCH HIS WAY OUT OF A PAPER BAG?
TORQUE AND ROTATION
84(8)
9. IS ANT-MAN DEAF, DUMB, AND BLIND
SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION
92(8)
10. DOES SIZE MATTER?
THE CUBE-SQUARE LAW
100(11)
SECTION 2 ENERGY-HEAT AND LIGHT
11. THE CENTRAL CITY DIET PLAN
CONSERVATION OF ENERGY
111
12. THE CASE OF THE MISSING WORK
THE THREE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS
129(17)
13. MUTANT METEOROLOGY
CONDUCTION AND CONVECTION
146(12)
14. HOW THE MONSTROUS MENACE OF THE MYSTERIOUS MELTER MAKES DINNER PREPARATION A BREEZE
PHASE TRANSITIONS
158(8)
15. ELECTRO'S CLINGING WAYS
ELECTROSTATICS
166(10)
16. SUPERMAN SCHOOLS SPIDER-MAN
ELECTRICAL CURRENTS
176(8)
17. HOW ELECTRO BECOMES MAGNETO WHEN HE RUNS
AMPERE'S LAW
184(7)
18. HOW MAGNETO BECOMES ELECTRO WHEN HE RUNS
MAGNETISM AND FARADAY'S LAW
191(11)
19. ELECTRO AND MAGNETO DO THE WAVE
ELECTROMAGNETISM AND LIGHT
202(13)
SECTION 3 MODERN PHYSICS
20. JOURNEY INTO THE MICROVERSE
ATOMIC PHYSICS
215(14)
21. NOT A DREAM! NOT A HOAX! NOT AN IMAGINARY TALE!
QUANTUM MECHANICS
229(20)
22. THROUGH A WALL LIGHTLY
TUNNELING PHENOMENA
249(8)
23. SOCK IT TO SHELLHEAD
SOLID-STATE PHYSICS
257(24)
SECTION 4 WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
24. ME AM BIZARRO!
SUPERHERO BLOOPERS
281(19)
AFTERWORD: LO, THERE SHALL BE AN ENDING! 300(5)
ASK DR. K! 305(6)
RECOMMENDED READING 311(6)
KEY EQUATIONS 317(6)
NOTES 323(22)
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 345(4)
INDEX 349


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