Physics of Superheroes: Spectacular Second Edition
No, really, this is a serious book. Despite the childish (and somewhat outdated!) title, this book continues to impress me. Inside, you will not only find an incredibly in-depth book on various aspects of physics, but also select panels of comics illustrating various facets of science. The book is laid out in a very "progressive" way- beginning with basic physical concepts and proceeding from there with the groundwork firmly in the reader's mind. There are three sections: Mechanics, Energy- Heat and Light, and Modern Physics. Within each are several specific chapters. Each concept is treated in a complex manner, just as in a high-school textbook. The difference, however, is in the author's incredibly interesting style. Every concept is explained in relation to comics, with author James Kakalios either pointing out flaws and/or discovering how accurately the stories are portrayed.
Even crazy things - like Superman's capabilities - are thoroughly explained away by such related factors as his home planet's possible gravity: after solving Superman's strength ratio, the author finds that Krypton (Superman's home planet) must be 15 times denser. How? Neutron-star matter, Kakalios states. This increased density, of course, must be what caused Krypton to fall apart in the first place. And all this from Superman's jumping capabilities! Literally dozens of concepts and hundreds more individual facets are covered in this book, riddled with the author's witty interjections. I would go so far as to say this is both on-par with high-school level physics, and a great book to read in anyone's spare time. Please note that the author very occasionally points out matter relating to evolution, but these instances are few and far between. 424 pgs, pb. - Stephen