Iron Man's Suit - Realistic, or Wishful Thinking? : Blog Of The Nation How realistic are the physics of Iron Man's suit?
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Iron Man's Suit - Realistic, or Wishful Thinking?

Iron Man's Suit - Realistic, or Wishful Thinking?

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/90190783/90190960" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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My infatuation with Robert Downey, Jr., has been a steady, borderline obsession since I was about 13 — first with Soapdish and Home for the Holidays, then with Chaplin and Only You, and rounded out with Ally McBeal (Season 4!) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. So you can imagine my delight when I heard that this summer has been dubbed "The Summer of Downey." He stars in three action-packed pics*, the first of which hit theaters this past weekend. Downey plays inventor and superhero Tony Stark in Hollywood's rendition of Marvel comic Iron Man.

It's easy to love superheros — they're always decked out with the coolest, gravity-defying gadgetry. And Tony Stark is no exception — he's got a mean suit, replete with jet boots, repulsor rays, and a cybernetic helmet. But how realistic are superhero suits, and can they ever be manufactured in real life? Physicist and author James Kakalios breaks it down in a piece for Wired, and he joins us today to give us the inside scoop.

If you've seen Iron Man already, give us your review. And what questions do you have about the physics of superhero gear?

* Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, and The Incredible Hulk