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ERIC Number: EJ1201239
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Bringing a Superhero Down to Earth
DiLisi, Greg
Physics Teacher, v57 n1 p6-8 Jan 2019
The author, Greg DeLisi, a professor at John Carroll University, is always looking for ways to bring current events into his introductory physics classroom or laboratory. He is especially interested in finding examples where basic principles of physics can be used to cast skepticism on assertions made by celebrities, politicians, or professional athletes. One such example fell into his lap while watching television with his 13-year-old daughter. A commercial aired that showcased both the 2018 Lexus® LS 500 sedan and Marvel Studios' blockbuster superhero movie, "Black Panther." In the commercial, a remote-controlled 2018 Lexus LS 500 sedan screeches its way through city streets to pick up the superhero. At just the right instant, the Black Panther stands, drops from the bridge, free falls through the car's fully opened sunroof, and comes to rest comfortably in the driver's seat of the car. DiLisi's daughter protested that what happened was totally impossible. This led DiLisi to wonder if his college students would likewise find the commercial "impossible" to believe. This was an excellent opportunity to incorporate current events into his classroom. Could his students use basic principles of physics, covered in the introductory classical mechanics course, to cast doubt on the events portrayed in the commercial? This article discusses the problem posed to the students. The problem combines simple applications of kinematics, uniformly acceleration motion, and the work-energy principle.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A