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Excelsior!

Good News: The Amazing Spider-Man is Scientifically Accurate


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

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  • Anonymous

    Gompertz, Gompertz, Gompertz.

    I feel like Dave Barry.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MYC65UZW7OMSYCL4YRFH4XKKKQ Brian

    Gompertz! Put that mailman down right now!

  • http://twitter.com/Totz_the_Plaid Totz_the_Plaid

    Okay. While that is legitimately impressive and something I can approve of whole-heartedly… everything I’ve seen makes the TRULY important part (that is to say the story itself) look utterly terrible.

    I’ll save myself the $20 and just watch the TV documentary about the science of the movie. Bound to be far better and at least I’ll learn something that way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.lindberg3 Eric Lindberg

    Scientifically accurate, eh? Except for the part about a radioactive spider giving someone mutated super-powers instead of, oh, radiation poisoning. I do appreciate that they’re making the effort though.