Now, this is the kind of science our greatest minds should be focused on… when they’re not doing actual science, that is.
Students from the University of Leicester published numerous research papers from 2009 to 2016 regarding superheroes and their powers. Those papers were used to create a “definitive” guide to which superhero is best equipped in real life, using scientific principles, physics and biology to test whether or not their powers are theoretically viable.
An example of one of their findings, which appear in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics and the Journal of Physics Special Topics, shows that Superman would need to spend three days absorbing the sun’s rays to have enough strength to stop a moving train. Their research also claims that while he could have a higher muscle density than humans, the probability of that muscle density being high enough to stop a moving bullet is close to zero.
That said, the study concludes that Supes is the best-equipped superhero of them all and would be powerful enough to reverse the polarity of Earth’s spin. While DC’s Kyrptonian son is placed on a pedestal by the study, Gotham’s favorite son gets kicked to the curb. Batman was given the title of least capable superhero by the study, and researchers calculated that when using his cape to glide (reaching speeds of 50mph) he would find landing to be fatal, especially since he doesn’t use a parachute.
I disagree, but whatever…
On the Marvel side of things, the team found that Spider-Man would have to be doing incredible mathematics in his head whilst web slinging, otherwise he’d smash into walls. Spider silk can stretch by up to 40 percent, meaning the tiniest miscalculation in length of web required or the angle at which he shoots it could prove to be fatal. Then again, that all depends on which Spider-Man we’re talking about and whether or not his webbing is organic or comes from his shooters. He also travels faster than the cars on the road.
Meanwhile, Wolverine ranks right up there with Superman in terms of being the most capable. His healing factor increases his immunity/resistance to diseases and pathogens (which holds true in the comics) and that’s pretty useful. The Flash, however, has cells that are continually regenerating themselves, meaning he’s likely to suffer from an enhanced mutation rate. If he were real, he’d accumulate 72 years worth of genetic mutations ever year because of his powers.
Then we have Mystique, who wouldn’t be able change her appearance as quickly as the movies and comics allow. Her powers would also be (possibly) a detriment to her health.
Whether or not you agree with their findings is up to you, but the University of Leicester just became one of my favorite institutions… mainly because some of their research involves “a scientific approach to being ‘All About That Bass,'” finding out “how long would it actually take to catch them all?” and the question we’ve all wanted to know: “is it possible to cry a river?‘
Keep it up, kids.