About This Episode
“Scientists are inspired by fiction and fiction writers are inspired by science.” So says astrophysicist Charles Liu, our geek-in-residence, as we enter the geekiverse in this episode of StarTalk Radio. We’re featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interview with independent filmmaker, all-around superfan, and star of Comic Book Men, Kevin Smith. Neil is joined in studio by the two Chucks, comic co-host Chuck Nice and the aforementioned StarTalk All-Stars host Charles Liu. You’ll hear how Kevin’s primary exposure to science came through pop culture and science fiction. (You’ll also find out just how much math and science Kevin actually knows, and why he claims to have a complete lack of scientific curiosity.) Explore the rise of comic book culture and how it has shaped and influenced the modern zeitgeist and pervaded many aspects of popular culture. Charles explains how real scientific discovery and understanding crosses over into the fictional realm of comic books, and Neil tells us the story of how he used astrophysics in his appearance in the Superman comics to determine the location of Krypton in our universe. We also answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about the vibranium/adamantium alloy that makes up Captain America’s shield and whether Ant Man could shrink enough to turn into a black hole. James Kakalios, physicist and author of both The Physics of Superheroes and The Physics of Superheroes: More Heroes! More Villains! More Science! Spectacular Second Edition, calls in to offer a scientific explanation of why only the worthy can lift Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and Wonder Woman’s wristbands (technically, the Bracelets of Submission) can stop or deflect bullets. All that, plus, Kevin talks about his growing interest in “the science of positivity,” Neil ponders Carl Sagan’s thoughts on superhero culture, and we take a look at the mega geek meccas of San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con (where Neil and StarTalk will be on the main stage again this year Thursday night, 10/4/18).
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Geekiverse, with Kevin Smith.