That’s a damn good question and answers it below:

You won’t learn much physics watching a sci-fli movie or TV show, but reading an old comic book or taking Jim Kakalios’ “Physics of Superheroes” seminar at the University of Minnesota might inspire you to figure out if the Flash would consume all of Earth’s oxygen if he ran at nearly the speed of light.

Jim Kakalios”Comic books often get their physics right,” at least once you accept an initial impossible premise, like the idea that a man can fly like a bat or faster than a speeding bullet, Kakalios said here Friday at a “science of superheroes” session at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The trick is to convey the science without dumbing it down while also not turning off your audience, he said. Straight explanations of physics generally will cow a lay person into not asking questions. “He thinks he doesn’t understand [physics] because he is not smart enough,” Kakalios said. But if teachers and scientists talk about Spiderman or Superman, lay people tend to ask questions and might actually remember some principles of quantum mechanics or Newton’s Second Law.

Read more about what Kakalios had to say, here.

Interesting seminar and I totally agree. Whatever it takes to help kids learn is fine by me. And why not make it fun for them as well as a learning experience? What do you think?