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Physics Professor to Talk on Comic Book Super Powers

(Posted October 11, 2007)

James Kakalios, professor of physics at the University of Minnesota

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A group of college physics students and anyone else curious about whether Superman really is strong enough to leap tall buildings in a single bound can find out if such powers are scientifically accurate in a lecture \"The Physics of Superheroes\" at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19, in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus. The lecture, by James Kakalios, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Minnesota, is part of a regional meeting of the Society of Physics Students. Jim Borgardt, associate professor of physics, is adviser for the club. Kakalios is the author of \"The Physics of Superheroes,\" a general-audience book that outlines how the physics of force and motion affect Superman\'s strength, as well as the true cause of the destruction of the Man of Steel\'s home planet, Krypton. Kakalios also relates how the physics in comic books influenced automobile airbags, microwave ovens and transistors. Kakalios, who is also director of undergraduate studies at the university, focuses his research on condensed matter physics, particularly in complex or disordered systems. He wrote his book as the result of teaching a freshman seminar called \"Everything I Know About Physics I Learned by Reading Comic Books.\" He joined the Minnesota faculty in 1988. He earned a bachelor\'s degree in 1979 from the City College of New York, and went on to earn a master\'s degree in physics in 1982 and a doctorate in physics in 1985, both from the University of Chicago.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.