August 1, 2015 7:14 pm

How do super powers stack up to physics? Find out from Neil deGrasse Tyson Sunday night.

Comic book panel from Action Comics #14, January 2013, when Neil deGrasse Tyson helped Superman locate Krypton. Credit: DC Comics. All rights reserved.

Neil and Superman are already friends: Neil helped the Man of Steel locate Krypton in Action Comics #14, January 2013. Credit: DC Comics. All rights reserved.

In this week’s Cosmic Queries episode on StarTalk Radio, host Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice look at super heroes from a different angle: how do super powers stack up against real world physics?

Of course, since this is Cosmic Queries, they can only answer the questions you asked, a surprising number of which were about Superman.

“If Superman followed the laws of physics, how could he fly?”

“If Superman absorbs solar radiation but doesn’t use it, would he become radioactive?”

“If someone had a super power that enabled them to travel the multiverse, wouldn’t they be in danger of ending up someplace where physics worked differently?”

“If we could use more than 10% of our brain, would we get telekinetic powers like Professor X? (Neil’s answer to that one may surprise you, like it did me.)

“Could the Flash’s speed itself be considered a force, like gravity?”

“Whose super powers are the most believable and least believable in terms of real physics?”

Someone even asked, “What’s up with Thor’s Hammer.” (You may already know what’s coming with that one!)

There’s the classic that anyone familiar with “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” has argued about before: “Could Lois Lane have Superman’s baby, and if so, would she be in danger from the baby’s kicks?”

And the question most adolescent boys have giggled over at some point, “If Superman could fly to Uranus, what would he find?” (That answer will not surprise you in the least.)

But it’s the answer to a “stupid” Superman question that may just go down in StarTalk history.

And no, I’m not going to spill the beans on this one.

To hear it for yourself, join us tomorrow night, August 2 at 7:00 PM EDT on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and TuneIn.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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