Ok, someone needs to tell these geniuses to not take hollywood so seriously.
Astrophysics taking off on Superman
With the release of the “Superman Returns” movie this week, you can bet there will be plenty of discussion (at least half-serious) about the limits and scope of the Man of Steel’s super powers. Rather than engage in uninformed speculation, we went to the experts — physics scholars at Cal and Stanford.
Unfortunately, a lot of them are baffled, too.
“The flying always bothered me,” admits Richard Muller, a professor of astrophysics at Cal and a Superman fan. “I think what he really does is leap and guide himself along the air currents. Or, if you can’t really rule out flying, maybe he has a mechanism for somehow forcing air backward — what if the pores on his skin eject microscopic amounts of excess moisture, like sweat?”
There are other problems. If, for example, Superman were to take Lois Lane in his arms and blast off “faster than a speeding bullet,” Muller says, “she’d be crushed.”
Also, if he is able to fly at near the speed of light there is a problem. Superman, flying off to parts unknown, doesn’t age. But those of us left behind do.
“There would be a huge change,” Chen says. “If he was gone two hours (flying at the speed of light), by the time he returned the world would be over.”
And his date with Lois Lane would be ruined.