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Why Spider-Man Should Just Take the Subway by FiveThirtyEight

Stashed in: Science!, Math!, Heroes!, Spider-Man!, Nate Silver

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Walt Hickey talks about the math behind Spider-Man:

When it comes to superhero movies, physics typically goes out the window. Think about some of the most successful movies of the past couple of years. Superman is basically a god who invalidates physics on a daily basis. Thor is, in fact, a god. Batman and Ironman are using technology so sophisticated, by Clarke’s Third Law, it may as well be magic.

But Spider-Man is something else. He’s a physics expert. His entire shtick — swinging from building to building — is one extremely complex differential equation that he’s, for all intents and purposes, intuitively solving in real time. You don’t need to be an engineer to understand what Spider-Man’s doing, you just need to have an intuitive sense of how pendulums work. That makes Peter Parker the quintessential mathematical superhero.

This sort of credibility has led to a ton of mathematical research analyzing Spider-Man that’s worth checking out.

The blog post includes 3 university lectures on the physics of Spidey.

And he's right. Spidey should just take the subway.

I have often thought it must be exhausting to do all that calculus in your head in real time, WHILE FIGHTING CRIME and of course saving the occasional damsel.

Perhaps he has done it so much it is second nature to him?

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