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White House Hosts Google Hangout on Superheroes

White House hosts Google+ Hangout

At 12 p.m. EDT, the White House will host a Google+ Hangout on “The Stuff Superheroes are Made Of,” the latest in their “We the Geeks” series that focuses on the future of science, technology and innovation. Experts who are working to develop impenetrable liquid armor, self-healing, touch-sensitive synthetic skin and, wait for it, invisibility cloaks will all be on hand to discuss their research.

The Hangout is lead by White House innovation adviser Tom Kalil and includes:

  • James Kakalios, Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, and author of “The Physics of Superheroes”,
  • Nathan Landy, graduate student at Duke University who’s working on an invisibility cloak,
  • Zhenan Bao, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, focusing on self-healing and touch-sensitive synthetic skin,
  • Norman Wagner, Alvin B. and Julia O. Stiles Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Delaware, researching liquid armor,
  • and Nate Ball, co-founder of Atlas Devices and inventor of Batman-like Ascender and host of PBS’s Design Squad Nation.

How realistic are these inventions outside of the realm of a comic book or “Harry Potter”? More likely than you might think. In October 2012, Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Jim Kakalios, physics professor at the University of Minnesota and a science consultant for film, about the science and physics behind superheroes:

And science reporter Rebecca Jacobson rounded up some of Kakolios’s best examples of superheroes — like Batman, The Flash and The Invisible Woman — whose superhuman powers rely on science.

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