Physics: Superman Supermemas The game of science

Physics: Superman Supermemas  The game of science

The latest version of Porci’s chest, lifted last week, it’s a fraudulent test. Portia only tells her suitor that her portrait is in one of two chests, so unlike previous tests, nothing is known about the truth or falsity of the sign; the portrait can therefore be in either of the two chests (in Raymond Smullyan’s wonderful book What is the name of this book? there is a chapter on this type of logic puzzle in which this cheat test is discussed in detail).

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As for the ultimate paradox Travel around the world in eighty days, the explanation is so simple that it’s hard to realize what happened (the clever Phileas Fogg doesn’t really understand it until the last moment, when he left the bet). Fogg and Passepartout travel east, that is, in the direction of the Earth’s rotation, so for them the sun rises a little earlier each day than they would if they did not move (to put it poetically, they go to meet aurora borealis). So by completing the world tour in 79 days, they saw 80 sunrises and thinks that 80 days have passed.

The wrong – not to mention – misleading interpretation of this phenomenon led the authors Superman to think that if a slow turn around the Earth one day allows it to “go back,” and many very fast turns (faster than the speed of light to read relativity in the process) could make his superman travel to the past. This supermez appears not only in some comics, but also in the famous 1978 film version, in which Superman goes back in time using the “Verne method” to save the life of his beloved Lois Lane.

It may be the most scandalous of atrocities committed by superhero screenwriters, but it is far from the only one. Only in the chapter on the obvious violation of the laws of physics do we find some really embarrassing. For example:

A typical scene, common in both comics and movies, where Superman rescues a girl who falls from a great height and takes her into his steel arms (why is it crazy?).

Superman often arrives at high speed and lands quietly on the ground (what would the landing actually look like and why?).

Superman’s super power allows him to lift huge weights, such as an entire building, with just one hand. Even if you’re strong enough to do that, why is it incompatible with the laws of physics?

For the dean of superheroes, stopping a mountain car by truck or train is obviously a small act (for example, rescuing a child from overtaking, when it would be much easier to push the child away). . Why is this little work so far below the capabilities of a steel man impossible?

I urge my clever readers to uncover more scientific tricks in Superman’s exploits. And on this occasion I recommend reading sci-fi, an excellent book by Jordi José and Manuel Moreno, in which he assesses the absurdities with which sci-fi films and series often contaminate the minds of young people. And not so young.

Carlo Frabetti is a writer and mathematician, a member of the New York Academy of s. He has published more than 50 popular science works for adults, children and young people, such as “Damn Physics”, “Damn Mathematics” or “Great Game”. He was the screenwriter of “La bola de cristal”.

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