MINNEAPOLIS - Jim Kakalios isn't your average physics professor, he's an expert in the physics of superheroes!
It's that expertise that got him a ticket to Hollywood as a consultant for "The Amazing Spiderman," opening in theaters July 3.
His first task was creating an equation called the Decay Rate Algorithm. It's referenced several times on screen and involves the increasing likelihood of death with age. Specifically, Kakalios used a real scientific equation, but he said he "bedazzled it using some mathematical glitter."
He also consulted on the strength of Spiderman's webbing and helped producers on the technique of Spidey's wall crawling, inspired by Gecko lizards.
"Gecko lizards basically use a version of static cling," he said. "On their hands are these little pads, and on those pads are million of little hairs, little fibers. They are very small so that means they can get very close to the wall and fluctuating electric charges in the fibers, induce an opposite fluctuating electric charge in the wall and opposites attract."
Kakalios also assisted in the 2009 movie Watchmen. He first caught Hollywood's attention with his book, "The Physics of Superheroes."
He also teaches a class on that very subject at the university. He said he plans on seeing the movie next week to check out his work.
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