From web-spinning adventures to gravity-defying rescues and explosive action, the stories of larger-than-life comic book characters have thrilled and inspired us for years. But have you ever wondered how fast Superman must have flown to save Lois Lane as she plummeted off a skyscraper? How much force did Spiderman use to stop the train from derailing into disaster? Well, you'll no longer have to wonder about Wolverine or be suspicious of Superman. Never fear! Professor Kakalios is here to save the day! Pow!
Not only is Jim Kakalios a physics professor at the University of Minnesota teaching classes such as "Everything I know about Physics I Learned By Reading Comic Books," he is also a tried and true superhero consultant so-to-speak. He has served as a scientific consultant on Warner Brothers' 2009 film Watchmen as well as the upcoming summer flick The Amazing Spider-Man. Through the National Academy of Science's Science and Entertainment Exchange program, Kakalios consulted behind two of the superhero's most important traits: webbing and wall crawling.
His most important contribution to the film is the "Decay Rate Algorithm," a mathematical expression relating to cell regeneration and human mortality. The equation needed to be so memorable that audience members would be able to recognize it during several scenes throughout the movie.
The algorithm provides a mathematical explanation for how defective cells multiply against the weekend immune system of an aging body and become fatal: combining the real science found in the Gompertz Equation and the Reliability Theory of Aging and Longevity.
Aside from transforming fictional situations into realistic scenarios, he also wrote the book The Physics of Superheroes as well as The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics. "At the end of the day, I'm not looking for a movie to be 100 percent scientifically accurate. But if they can do something right, it's like catching a little inside joke... And who knows? Maybe the audience will learn a little something about science," says Kakalios on his website. See his work come to life on screen in The Amazing Spider-Man in theaters July 3rd.
Check out "Everything I know About Physics I Learned By Reading Comic Books" along with other freshman seminars offered here.
This past school year, the Office of Information Technology and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program crafted the Mobile App Challenge. The contest asked undergrads to create innovative mobile apps that would enhance their lives. From bus tracking to foreign-language vocabulary, many generated exciting and creative ideas for apps. "Wander," the winning app, provides an itinerary of fun, spontaneous things to do in the Twin Cities area for any traveler or local citizen in search of a fun way to fill their day.
Just one year after her graduation, University of Minnesota alumna and former Office of Admissions intern Daisy Giles is putting her U of M education to work with her very own show at Homewood Studios, a gallery designed for local artists to display their contributions to the vitality, self-image, and coherence of community.
Daisy's exhibition opened June 1 and will run until June 27. It will display paintings and prints for sale, including a dozen that never-before-seen pieces that she created specifically for this exhibition.
Daisy graduated in 2011 with a dual degree from the U of M: a B.F.A in art and a B.A. in African American and African Studies. "I didn't think I would end up doing art professionally when I first started," said Daisy. However, art is something that she has always been attracted too. "My mother was artistic, my family is full of hobby painters --it just runs in my blood."
Daisy's experience at the U of M allowed her to explore several visual arts media that she would not have discovered on her own. "I was able to take printing classes, photography, and dimensional painting," she says. Daisy also took an art seminar at the U of M that brought students to different museums and galleries and also had professionals come into the classroom to critique student work. "I never would have had the opportunity to learn so much outside of a university setting."
A family friend told Homewood Studios about Daisy's work, and she then received a request to do a portrait show. To prepare, Daisy grabbed friends and acquaintances and began painting. "I like doing portraits," Daisy says, "they give you a personal connection with the person you're working with, and each portrait has a different feel."
Daisy's story is definitely an inspiration to me as a current student. I hope to grow through my experiences at the University of Minnesota, like Daisy has, and pursue a career that I love once I graduate. After speaking with Daisy, I've realized that no aspiration is too small, no goal too far, and no dream too big.
Learn more about Daisy's art at http://www.facebook.com/daisygilesartist.
The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences offers 14 majors and 22 minors. CFANS' nationally recognized programs, hands-on learning, small-college feel, and broad array of internship and research opportunities provide students with the education and experience they need for successful carees in private businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations, or for graduate study. Three business-related CFANS majors are highlighted below. To learn about more U of M major options, visit http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/fresh_acadprog.html.
Major: Recreation Resource Management
Description: The Recreation Resource Management curriculum prepares students to plan and manage natural and non-urban recreational land and water, as well as manager the people and organizations that depend on these resources. The curriculum emphasizes natural and managed non-urban areas; natural resources-oriented recreation programs in public and private sectors; social science aspects of natural resources use; and skills in communication, planning, and management.
Examples of Careers: Environmental Educator, Environmentalist, Eco-Travel Consultant, Naturalist, Recreation Facility Manager, Wilderness/Adventure Guide, Natural Heritage Recreation Officer, or Park Ranger
Major: Applied Economics
Description: Applied economics is the social science that uses tools to analyze real-world problems. It allows us as individuals and as a society to think about making choices wisely in the areas of jobs, wages, taxes, pollution, poverty, economic growth, and more. Areas of study include management and finance, marketing, food retailing, trade and development, resources and the environment, and more.Examples of Careers: Assistant Policy Analyst, Business Analyst, Commodity Merchandiser, Financial Advisor, Marketing Specialist, Revenue Tax Specialist, and employers such as Retail Food Companies, Government Agencies, Research Centers and Universities, and Non Profit Agencies.
Major: Bioproducts Marketing and Management
Description: Bioproducts are materials, chemicals and energy derived from renewable bio-resources including forestry, agriculture and other biomass. The molecular building blocks and components of biomass can be harnessed to heat our homes, run our cars, light our buildings, and provide industrial and consumer products. This major provides students with knowledge in the sustainable utilization of bio-resources while protecting the environment. Students choose from two areas of specialization:
- Marketing and Management
- Residential Building Science and Technology