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Community lectureship explores 'Materials Science of Superheroes'

Published: 21 April 2011

James Kakalios, author of the popular science book “The Physics of Superheroes,” will be the featured speaker for the 2011 College of Science and Mathematics Community Lectureship scheduled for May 3 at 7 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

While materials scientists don’t typically consult comic books when selecting research topics, innovations first introduced in superhero adventures as fiction can sometimes find their way off the comic book page and into reality. 

In his presentation, “Materials Science of Superheroes,” Kakalios will describe the real physics behind Spider-Man’s webbing and ask questions such as: What type of metal is used in Wonder Woman’s bracelets that enables her to deflect bullets? What is the chemical composition of Captain America’s shield? And who is faster: Superman or the Flash?

Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Physics and Astronomy. He earned his doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago in 1985. “The Physics of Superheroes,” was published in 2005 and has been translated into many languages. “The Spectacular Second Edition,” was published in November 2009 and “The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics” followed in October 2010. In 2007, Kakalios served as the science consultant for the Warner Bros. superhero film, “Watchmen.” His research interests include nanocrystalline and amorphous semiconductors, pattern formation in sandpiles and fluctuation phenomena in neurological systems

For more information, contact Keri Drinka at 1-6131 or


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Last Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2013