James Kakalios

Physicist, Person


Who is James Kakalios?

James Kakalios is a physics professor at the University of Minnesota. Known within the scientific community for his work with amorphous semiconductors, granular materials, and 1/f noise, he is known to the general public as the author of the book The Physics of Superheroes, which considers comic book superheroes from the standpoint of fundamental physics.

Kakalios, who earned PhD from the University of Chicago in 1985, began his comic book collection as a graduate student as a way to relieve stress. At Minnesota, he taught a freshman seminar that focused on the physics of superheroes as a way to motivate students to think about physics. This course gained great popularity as an enticing alternative to the typical inclined planes and pulleys of physics.

The seminar was a great success, leading to articles in popular magazines including People, lectures on the subject, and publication of The Physics of Superheroes. In his talks, favorite examples are the death of Gwen Stacy, "can Superman jump over tall buildings and what does this tell us about Krypton?", the high-velocity actions of The Flash, and the shrinking problem of the Atom.

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  • United States of America
  • University of Chicago
Lived in
  • Minnesota

on July 23, 2013


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