Taking a break from saving the world from diseases and natural disasters, a team of scientists has used the power of arithmetic to resolve the greatest battle the multiverse has ever seen, by finally determining which superhero is the greatest of all.
Based on a number of research papers published by students from the University of Leicester between 2009 and 2016, the team managed to create a definitive guide to which hero is the best equipped, using scientific principles to test whether their powers are theoretically viable.
For instance, among the many findings presented in the series of papers – which appear in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics and the Journal of Physics Special Topics – is that Superman can muster enough strength to stop a moving train, providing he spends just over three days absorbing the Sun’s energy.
The researchers also claim that, while Superman could potentially have a higher muscle density than regular people, it is highly unlikely that any extra-terrestrial could ever have a high enough density to actually stop a moving bullet, thereby challenging his “Man of Steel” reputation.
In spite of this, the authors conclude that Superman is indeed the best-equipped superhero of all, and is even powerful enough to reverse the polarity of Earth’s spin. At the other end of the spectrum, Batman is named and shamed as the least capable superhero. For instance, the researchers calculate that while using his cape to glide, the Dark Knight should reach a speed of 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour), which, considering he doesn’t use a parachute, would most likely prove fatal when he smashes into the ground.
With seven viable superpowers and just one weakness, Superman is the best-equipped superhero. Mohan Harihar/University of Leicester
Other alarming findings that will no doubt keep worried civilians up at night concern Spiderman, who the researchers claim is at risk of miscalculating the length of web required to swing from buildings. Because spider silk can stretch by up to 40 percent, the Spandex-wearing crime fighter could well go the way of many a house spider and end up getting squished if he gets his math wrong by even a tiny fraction.
Heroes identified as among the most capable include Wolverine, whose powers of regeneration should increase his immunity to diseases and pathogens. However, The Flash, whose cells are continually regenerating themselves, is likely to suffer from an enhanced mutation rate, accumulating 72 years’ worth of genetic mutations each year.