Physicist Breaks Down The Science Of 10 Iconic Marvel Scenes

  • Published on May 3, 2019
  • To celebrate the release of “Avengers: Endgame,” we had physicist (and lifelong comic book fan) Jim Kakalios take a closer look at the physics of the Marvel universe. Here he reacts to 10 memorable scenes from Marvel movies and rates them based on their accuracy. Find out what exactly quantum mechanics, time dilation, Einstein’s theory of special relativity, and spider silk tell us about the superheroes of the Marvel franchise.
    Which weapon would you rather have in a fight: Thor’s Mjolnir hammer or Captain America’s shield? Hint: The answer has to do with the conservation of energy - and the sonoluminescence of vibranium. Dr. Kakalios breaks down the physics behind this and many other Marvel phenomena, including Shuri’s holographic car in “Black Panther;” Peter Parker’s spider-webbing train save in “Spider-Man 2;” the multiverse theory of “Doctor Strange;” the role of Pym particles and the Higgs boson in “Ant-Man;” artificial gravity in “Guardians of the Galaxy;” and Tony Stark’s cybernetic helmet and gold-titanium exoskeleton in “Iron Man.” He sheds light on why Carol Danvers doesn’t age from “Captain Marvel” to “Avengers: Endgame;” why the Space Stone is so powerful when yielded by Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War;” and what’s with all the talk of quantum entanglement, quantum tunneling, and “quantum mumbo-jumbo” in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”
    Kakalios is the author of three books - “The Physics of Superheroes,” “The Physics of Everyday Things,” and “The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics.” He was a science consultant for Sony’s 2012 film “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Before that, he won an Emmy for his work as a science consultant for the Warner Bros. superhero film “Watchmen.” A physics professor at the University of Minnesota, Kakalios teaches a popular class that uses comic books to illustrate the principles of physics.
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    Physicist Breaks Down The Science Of 10 Iconic Marvel Scenes
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Comments • 5 577

  • Aidan Abbott
    Aidan Abbott 2 hours ago

    this guy sounds like the mole from g force

  • Rushmore High
    Rushmore High 6 hours ago

    neuro link i think what he wants to say

  • Vertutame
    Vertutame 13 hours ago

    Good, He said the same thing as I did, We all can make Iron man suit... if we have the power generator as small as that can generate that huge power... and can last like longer than human's lifespan.

  • Guadalupe Ramon
    Guadalupe Ramon 18 hours ago

    I like his tie

  • Don't smile at me
    Don't smile at me 20 hours ago

    We have jet boots!!!!

  • Jose Ponce
    Jose Ponce 21 hour ago

    just saw the neuralink presentation, man Ellon Musk is really real world Tony Stark.

  • Jairus Roguel
    Jairus Roguel 22 hours ago

    Shuri didn't directly interact with the hologram. She uses the sand thing to create a car seat and steering wheel

  • Samuel Starr
    Samuel Starr Day ago

    7:22 in im ready to rock my fuckin teachers mind.

  • NrX GmnG
    NrX GmnG Day ago

    Why is gamora?

  • Tian Xiang Wang
    Tian Xiang Wang Day ago

    So you stay younger if your really fast.
    Now I know Usain bolt's secret

  • ash mh
    ash mh Day ago

    i love marvel
    I don’t love dc
    Say what you want
    But don’t hate me

  • Wozy Mv
    Wozy Mv Day ago

    The captain marvel thing I would have to disagree because if she was effected by the space time thing she would have reached earth much much later then a day or two after the 90s communications thing. Captain marves energy things probably keeps her from ageing phisicly but she is ageing mentally BUT HEY THAT'S JUST A THERY A AVENGERS THERY

  • MilfHunterXXX
    MilfHunterXXX Day ago

    luv, she’s a kree, luv

  • tehs3raph1m
    tehs3raph1m 2 days ago

    Wouldn't everyone be generating 1g of lift in their legs to stay standing? So you drop the artificial gravity and all that tension lifts you up.....

  • Gatekeeper offmalakir

    woooooooooo i love this professor! AWESOME!!!

  • Suspense
    Suspense 2 days ago

    I guess we can ignore the latency from Wakanda to Korea would be upwards of 400. This would make driving a vehicle remotely nearly impossible at a fast speed and considering what goes on during that scene, this should have got a 1 or 2 out of 10.

  • Frank _1369
    Frank _1369 2 days ago

    But isn't time not real, it was created to keep track.

  • Fox Cunning
    Fox Cunning 3 days ago +1

    But then the Skrull home planet must be in the solar system, because if Captain Marvel travelled for only 6 months (3 each way) near the speed of light, that wouldn't bring her even a tenth of the way through to the closest star.

  • Horny Toads
    Horny Toads 3 days ago

    Ok.. This guy does look like a physicist.. He's a certified nerd! A full on hardcore 40 year old Virgin Nerd. He must have been bullied all thru his highschool years.. Poor chap. By the Looks of it i bet he was in the losers club. You know those kids who never play ball suck at athletics and 🏈 and get straight As. Yup! The kinda guy who has no friends and the only time other kids spoke To him was when he was forced to do their homework and assignments. The kinda kid who never took his shirt off in the gyms locker room cuz the football team wud take turns twistin his nipples juggling his Tities. The only kid who got more veggies then Stuttering Stan! He knew many hit chicks but they all wanted to be his friend.. The kinda kid who made it through hell called highschool all the way thru college..and graduated with distinction only to date then marry that Russian super model!

  • ltzp2
    ltzp2 3 days ago

    is this man the voice actor for every nerd in a cartoon ever

  • E Dior
    E Dior 3 days ago +3

    He is totally a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff

  • MAAN
    MAAN 3 days ago

    U of m students where y’all at 😂??

  • Strega 0
    Strega 0 3 days ago

    Did you have to do Loki's death? >.

  • Am Nifras
    Am Nifras 3 days ago

    Perfect explanation

  • Erik Husby
    Erik Husby 3 days ago +1

    He's my professor from my freshman physics course! You can bet he went out of his way to use superhero examples whenever he could in both lectures and exams.

  • Nathan Vadnais
    Nathan Vadnais 3 days ago

    When he was explaining the way Captain Marvel didn't appear to age, it bothered me because although yes when travelling at a velocity close to the speed of light, less time will go by compared to the still observer. However when accelerating, which includes not only going faster, but also changing direction, the effect will reverse and the still observer will experience less time compared to the traveller who is going fast, and thus experiencing much more time due to centripital force. So she would return to earth experiencing the same amount of time as the people who stayed on earth.

    Captain Marvel would remain young while travelling close to the speed of light away from Earth, but would get the time back when turning around.

    • Lezhi Lo
      Lezhi Lo 3 days ago

      No. Special relativity predicts the so-called twin paradox which you can look up online. The effects do not reverse when the space twin turns around as he returns to Earth. In fact the turning around, or changing inertial frames, accounts for a lot of the extra time passed on Earth wrt the space twin.

  • Nick Antony
    Nick Antony 4 days ago

    Should have included some X-Men scenes; or else chopped the Spider-Man 2 scene and just made an MCU list.

  • efe yıldız
    efe yıldız 4 days ago

    Cool guy

  • Zavid Al Rasyid
    Zavid Al Rasyid 4 days ago

    He sound like
    He will take Sick Day ASAP, for Marvel Movies

  • jrfelixify
    jrfelixify 4 days ago

    This can't be his real nose

  • Damian Lau
    Damian Lau 5 days ago

    7:46 Spider-Man taking a dump public

  • vgonsalez
    vgonsalez 5 days ago

    Wait, no commentary on endgame's time travel theory? W.H.A.T.????? 😱

  • Ironscythe
    Ironscythe 5 days ago

    Equal and opposite reactions: The police in the prison scene are kneeling, holding large weaponry. They are exerting force through their leg muscles in a stance that would IMMEDIATELY propel themselves upwards once the gravity is turned off.

    Also, Spider-Man should be exhibiting constant protein cravings several orders of magnitude higher than the human digestive system can handle in order to produce that much silk. It's pure protein.

    • Lezhi Lo
      Lezhi Lo 3 days ago

      Well, it actually depends. The force in your legs when you are standing are actually normal reactions along your bones and muscles. The forces exerted by your muscles are mostly responsible for keeping you upright so those forces are mainly horizontal. When the gravity is turned off, all the normal forces just goes away. So if the soldiers immediately relax their muscles and the forces they exert instantly become horizontal, then they can stay on the ground.

  • Original Shadows
    Original Shadows 5 days ago

    So this basically just said they have an Iron Man without a battery wow

  • Jarod Farrant
    Jarod Farrant 5 days ago

    6:00 science is @#%$ing awesome!

  • Jarod Farrant
    Jarod Farrant 5 days ago

    Wait we have jet boots?

  • Kalem Babar
    Kalem Babar 5 days ago +1

    The seat and steering wheel in the Shuri scene were actually solid and already there so his whole explanation becomes moot.

  • Pepsia
    Pepsia 5 days ago

    that last one can just be lazy writing

  • Clark Kent
    Clark Kent 5 days ago

    3/10 wtf

  • Alvin Catilus
    Alvin Catilus 5 days ago

    The rating is so ass

  • Piet Paulusma
    Piet Paulusma 6 days ago +2

    If gravity fails a person would only stay put if they were PERFECTLY still. Since everybody always moves a little, especially those soldiers raising heavy guns, they would create all kinds of momentum that can only be directed away from the floor. And thus they would start to float. Its the same as with walking except less pronounced which they seemed to have done perfectly in the guardians prison scene.

  • No Name
    No Name 6 days ago +2

    Giving Iron man a 9/10??? How is he propelled?

    • Lezhi Lo
      Lezhi Lo 3 days ago

      With three nuclear reactors strapped to his chest he could do anything lol. Maybe arc reactor powered jets, ion drives, or whatever else he comes up with.

  • jimvideotv
    jimvideotv 6 days ago

    This did the MCU justice. I liked the critique of the gravity shut off, except for one thing. When the gravity was somehow shut off in the area the area would be effected by all of the other near areas, thus if the center of the combined gravity was up then everything would be pulled up.

  • Evangel Akillian
    Evangel Akillian 6 days ago

    Is this guy Greek?

  • Zila. B
    Zila. B 6 days ago +3

    nah i’ll go back to high school only if he can be my physics teacher lmao

  • Harshal Gharat
    Harshal Gharat 6 days ago +4

    How can antman breath if he gets smaller than oxygen molecules ??

    • Lezhi Lo
      Lezhi Lo 3 days ago

      I think that's what the helmet is for. It probably contains a filter that shrinks incoming air molecules. Alternatively, the suit may have its own air supply, shrunken down for storage and enlarged when needed.

  • Tashi Bhutia
    Tashi Bhutia 6 days ago +1

    This guy knows mcu more than physics. I bet he gives examples of mcu in physics classes too. Cool guy

  • Phlosen
    Phlosen 6 days ago +2

    Beeing in an Elevator, falling to certain death: "Hey guys! Let me show you a magic Trick!"

  • Healthy K. Sparrow
    Healthy K. Sparrow 6 days ago

    If you are squatting down when gravity disappears, you’re pressing on the ground to resist gravity. This means that it is pretty realistic for them to start floating up. If you are standing straight up, most likely will not instantly start floating but might end up putting some pressure on the ground and there is nothing to keep you there.

  • Benjamin Grigsby
    Benjamin Grigsby 6 days ago +1

    Perhaps the car uses nanites, not holograms and soundwaves.

  • Rajat Prakash Music
    Rajat Prakash Music 6 days ago +3

    I need you to review far from home. And the technology used by mysterio

  • Jalen Baker
    Jalen Baker 7 days ago +1

    Who else was scrolling through the comments looking for a comment about stranger things when he mentioned Planck’s Constant..... Just me okay😂

  • Rob G
    Rob G 7 days ago

    He needs to reconsider his opinion about not launching into air if the gravity instantly gets turned off. Doesn't matter if you're walking, running, or standing still. In ALL cases you're flexing your leg muscles (you can't instantly detect 0 g and turn them off). So, everyone would basically look like they jump into the air at the instant the gravity goes away. People are not rigid objects, which is the flaw of his explanation. Same with the elevator analogy: going from 1 g to 0 g instantly, everyone would involuntarily jump because of their muscular activity at that instant. hashtag biomechanics. hashtag d'oh

  • Mark Laroche
    Mark Laroche 7 days ago +2

    I want this dude to rip apart one of my favorite shows...Fringe. He seems pretty fair and I liked this a lot.

  • Zoham Imam
    Zoham Imam 7 days ago +1

    he should have also spoke about the mjolnir & thor entering wakanda

  • Garbodor Makes Me Wet

    3:41 I love him so much.

  • Kitsune1986
    Kitsune1986 7 days ago +3

    This guy reminds me of the guy that plays phill Colson in the movies lol

  • stuart yousefi
    stuart yousefi 7 days ago

    15:00 dude really sand table

  • Hexapoda
    Hexapoda 7 days ago

    To talk about Dr Strange we has to remember the quote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
    " by Arthur C Clarke; this quote do not say that science is magical but that technology we yet can't understand may look like magick. In the clips we can see that only affect Dr Strange and not any other pedestrian or driver, like they do not affect the real world but change how they and other can interact with the world by manipulating time and direction.

    Btw, I hope films never get it right, "I like sound in space", it make space battles so much better.

    Edit: In the clip from the Black Panther you can see that a part of the floor is changing shape to be the seat, pedals and steering wheel, the hologram is only to give the visuals, so she is not actually sitting on the "hologram".

  • Pakrat Miz
    Pakrat Miz 7 days ago +4

    They use magic so that’s fine, but they use magic so 3/10

  • Nyashia Gaines
    Nyashia Gaines 7 days ago

    i don't know why i need to know this but i do

  • Louis Sands
    Louis Sands 7 days ago

    "he is shooting the spider web out of his wrists which is not what a real spider would do" bro, ass spider web shooting is gross :v

  • Unnamed Hoobs
    Unnamed Hoobs 7 days ago +1

    Subscriber for you my friend. Nice video, so informative and fascinating

  • Mush V. Peets
    Mush V. Peets 7 days ago

    13:00 He's the professor, not me, but I always thought that something that's "done" involving these particles would break (or complicate beyond usefulness) the entanglement inherently... otherwise you could use quantum entanglement for FTL communication, which there's a big, formal theorem that specifically states that you can't. Might just be bad phrasing, or (likely enough) I'm still missing something.

  • ulyssees bloomberg
    ulyssees bloomberg 7 days ago

    Thank you your hella cool wish u were my professor

  • Vytian
    Vytian 8 days ago

    I'm a bit behind on seeing this but figured I'd add my thoughts to one of the analyses. In black panther the remote projection of a car and such isn't entirely holographic. Instead, the solid portions such as the seat, pedals, and steering wheel are made up of free-flowing sand-like metal objects, presumably uncountable numbers of nanobots. This explains not only how the important parts of the car are solid, but why she is able to just pass through the holographic car body.

  • sir capitano
    sir capitano 8 days ago

    That man is a true marvel fan. Really cool to see someone thats older and have probobly been a true fan since he was a kid.

  • Kyle White
    Kyle White 8 days ago

    If my science teacher thought me physics using superheroes I’d of got an ‘A’

  • gliff
    gliff 8 days ago +8


  • RNGmrfreshaussie
    RNGmrfreshaussie 8 days ago

    So you’re saying I could become ironman or Spider-Man if I had all the stuff

  • Joca Von Ninamann
    Joca Von Ninamann 8 days ago

    If you're standing on a surface that is supporting your weight the surface provides an opposing force to gravity that is equal in magnitude. So what if (artificial) gravity somehow disappears instantly? Where does the potential energy of elastic tension force from the supporting surface dissipate into? Well at least some of it will generate upward motion so I would say that the professor may be awarded three stars for the analysis.

  • Jahdolf Memes
    Jahdolf Memes 8 days ago

    hes the irl doc ock

  • big not smart
    big not smart 8 days ago

    This man is so wholesome

  • Francis Srečko Fabian

    Pim particles don't exist which means Ant Man's weight doesn't change no matter what his size is. I recall a scene where he jumped into Bath tub and he cracked it. Marvel then forgot about it.

  • John Gonzalez
    John Gonzalez 8 days ago +1

    Spider-man 2, also the strength on his grip, or his ability to stick to anithing

  • impirumcrypt
    impirumcrypt 8 days ago

    Now this man is a True Believer

  • Dippin'Dots
    Dippin'Dots 9 days ago +5

    "When he built his first suit, in a cave, with some scraps."

  • steven armstrong
    steven armstrong 9 days ago

    At 5:30 it is said that Tony Stark has a cybernetic helmet that picks up his thought waves however if you watch the Iron Man (2008) film again watch 1 hour 17 minutes and 47 seconds you will see Iron Man activate different weapons systems with each individual finger via the input sensitive multi-touch gestures that he makes without speaking. and at different points in the movie Tony Stark is observed by the movie goer speaking and sometimes yelling commands at J.A.R.V.I.S. while inside the Iron Man suit. That is proof that it is not integrated into his Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma or Theta waves. He does have a cybernetic helmet and body while inside the suit because it is a cybernetic suit however it does not pick up on his brain waves...more like it reads his vital life signs as well as his suit operating features because his suit and body have one thing in common and that is the power supply which without neither would function since the power supply not only powered the suit but simultaneously was keeping the shrapnel away from and his entering his heart.

  • SoelPockychan
    SoelPockychan 9 days ago +19

    This professor needs a USclip channel to keep teaching us physics through marvel movies 🤩👌

  • Adriana Reyes
    Adriana Reyes 9 days ago +5

    We NEED a video of him talking about the time travel in Endgame

    • Arun Sukumar
      Arun Sukumar 6 days ago

      Ya Cos That Was All A Bunch Of Bullshit...😂

  • Oskenkorva
    Oskenkorva 9 days ago

    how do you rationalize the 8/10 for that spiderman scene?

    /roll 1-10?

  • Lecture Pal
    Lecture Pal 9 days ago

    Cool guy!

  • Chamal Mcv
    Chamal Mcv 9 days ago

    you are very cool physicist

  • Akra Frostcrown
    Akra Frostcrown 9 days ago

    In the first scene (Guardians), wouldn't people normally constantly push off the ground to fight gravity? Maybe not those who are standing with locked knees but surely the rest with shifting weight between their feet and keeping their balance, they push the ground and would actually start floating upwards in case of sudden zero gravity.
    Am I wrong in this?

  • Vypethian
    Vypethian 9 days ago

    If you could increase the size of atoms with the planck's constant, would there be a ,for lack of better words, resolution drop in the body of atoms?

  • Cael Blake
    Cael Blake 9 days ago

    Dr strange doesn’t have any science in it

  • Dax Bradley
    Dax Bradley 9 days ago

    Great, I'm going to look for his book now. It sounds like essential nerd porn. Physics, and Super-heroes? Looking forward to this!

  • Evan Guthrie
    Evan Guthrie 9 days ago

    Who likes Black Panther

  • Marco Baek
    Marco Baek 9 days ago

    cap is worthy.....mjolnir recognized that so it helped the MIB agent back off

  • The Last Uchiha
    The Last Uchiha 9 days ago

    watched this and thought when I regularly bang my gf we have quantum entanglement. Thats why the hippies draw those circles on karma sutra looking stuff.
    *This guy's a tie boss.

    • SkyMusic
      SkyMusic 7 days ago

      The Last Uchiha I don’t get how you could have quantum entanglement with your gf

  • The Nickster
    The Nickster 9 days ago

    They're running out of ideas

  • Marco Corvus
    Marco Corvus 10 days ago

    That's the most satisfying answer i've ever heard !!

  • Manuel Pirino
    Manuel Pirino 10 days ago

    Ah! but Captain Marvel went into deep space and then came back to Earth, after 24 years. So, half the time out, half the time on the way back.

    • Manuel Pirino
      Manuel Pirino 10 days ago

      Meanin, she covered 1/4 light year out. Did she even make it past the Oort cloud.

  • Peter_lee
    Peter_lee 10 days ago


  • Cal Healy
    Cal Healy 11 days ago

    Redstone legend.

  • Itachi
    Itachi 11 days ago

    Note for the Spider-Man 2 one in the past like in this movie trilogy it's natural webbing that comes out of his wrists so it's just as powerful except coming out the hands and not the ahem in later years they change it and instead of organic webbing he makes his famous web shooters

  • Marco Macias
    Marco Macias 11 days ago

    wait if you say that it is titanium for the Iron Man suit then he should be call Titanium Man

  • sth128
    sth128 11 days ago

    Danvers doesn't age because in real life actress Brie Larson shot the Endgame footage prior to Capt. Marvel.
    In universe she's imbued with the powers of the space stone, shoots energy blasts from her fists, and fly in outerspace wearing jeans and leather jacket so she can probably do whatever the funk she wants. Age backwards if she wants.
    There is no physics in the Marvel universe. Just all made up shit.

  • sleepup7931
    sleepup7931 11 days ago

    I can not understand how my supervisor can be full of hot air and not expend any energy.

  • Cheesus Cake
    Cheesus Cake 11 days ago

    That's what science was made for