Physics Explains if Superman Could Punch Someone Into Space


Thu, Jul 4th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Wired magazine, Rhett Allain pulls out the scientific calculator and tries to figure out if Superman could punch someone into space.

How Fast Would the Person Have to Go?

I am talking about after the punch from Superman. Let’s just look at a person moving up at some initial speed v0. If this were a problem in an introductory physics course, I would hope you would think of the work-energy principle.

Let’s say that Superman is punching a clone of himself (called Superman-b) — just as an example. If I take Superman-b and the Earth as my system, then after the punch from Superman there is no external work done on the system. There will be two types of change in energy — kinetic and gravitational potential.



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