If you’re looking forward to The Amazing Spider-Man for the math, I have good news. It’s accurate.
University of Minnesota physics professor Jim Kakalios was the official science consultant on the film and gave the filmmakers the scientific basis for wall crawling and the tensile strength of spiders webbing. His biggest contribution, however, was an equation called the Decay Rate Algorithm.
The film’s prop master, Andy Siegel, needed a mathematical expression that would be distinctive and memorable so that the audience would recognize it at various points throughout the film. To meet this request, Kakalios used a combination of the Gompertz Equation and the Reliability Theory of Aging and Longevity.
Here’s how it works:
Kakalios has long been more than a physics professor. Being a comic books fan for his entire life, he looked for ways to bring his two love together, which led him to create a class at Minnesota called, “Everything I Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books”.
I originally met Kakalios when he had just completed consulting on Watchmen and we went on to capture his role in Science of Watchmen. He is also the author of The Physics of Superheroes and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics.
Elizabeth Giorgi is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She blogs about mixing life as a nerd with her career at beinggeekchic.com. In 2010, she was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen. Follow her on Twitter: @lizgiorgi