Man at His Best

Scientists Solve Batman V Superman Debate With Science

Physicists find that Batman would kill himself fighting injustice, while Superman wouldn’t.

BY Jason S Ganesan | Jun 17, 2016 | Culture

Pushing the frontiers of scientific discovery to advance humankind, physicists from the University of Leicester have proved that Superman is better than Batman.

In an ongoing seven-year series of papers published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics and the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, researchers have studied the physics required for superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Wolverine to carry out their heroic deeds.

Clearly not Batfans, they predict a gruesome end for the caped crusader. Seeing as Batman crusader has no actual superpowers, researchers posit that he would go splat if he attempted to glide from buildings like his flying non-rodent brethren. If, for instance, Batman attempted to jump off and glide from a 150 m tall building, he would reach speeds of 80 to 110 km/h—speeds that only a parachute could resist, not a cape, however cool it looks.

Unsurprisingly, they find that the godlike Superman is the “most powerful superhero,” because his 296 g/cm3-dense skin can withstand bullets, and his immense speed can increase his relativistic mass by 13.7 million times when approaching light speed.

The researchers also posited that a Wolverine attack would have a force of 1300 N, which they calculated based on the mass and density of an osmium-enhanced skeleton (the closest IRL metal equivalent to adamantium). The genes shapeshifter Mystique would be able to alter, meanwhile—which include ATP, TYR, MC1R, IRF4 and SLC24A4—make her somewhat similar to an enhanced cuttlefish.  

However, physics professor and author of The Physics of Superheroes James Kakalios told The Guardian that the Leicester researchers did not take into account Batman’s intelligence. It is this intelligence that allows him to game any confrontation to his advantage, even when his foes are superhumanly powerful.  

Kakalios added that Batman is an exemplar of humanity’s greatest attribute—the intelligence which we used to compensate for our relative lack of strength and speed to climb atop the food chain.

It’s a nice sentiment, but having billions in the bank may also help a little.


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