• 1 day PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 2 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 2 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 2 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 2 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 2 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 2 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 2 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 2 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 2 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 2 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 2 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 3 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 3 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 3 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 3 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 3 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 3 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 3 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 3 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 4 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 4 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 4 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 5 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 5 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 5 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 5 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 5 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 5 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 5 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 5 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 5 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 6 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 6 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 6 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 6 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 6 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
The End Of The Oil Majors?

The End Of The Oil Majors?

There appears to be a…

Superman: Defender of Justice But Physics Lawbreaker

Superman: Defender of Justice But Physics Lawbreaker

Not that you really need to know this, but Superman is a lawbreaker. The Man of Steel may have great powers, but they have nothing to do with the source attributed to them by his creator, DC Comics.

Physics students from the University of Leicester told a forum at the recent Comic Con 2014 gathering in San Diego that Clark Kent, even in his scarlet outside underpants and flowing cape, can’t get all his superpowers – including enormous strength and the ability to fly – from electromagnetic radiation provided by the Sun.

To do that, they say, he would need 6,560 times more energy than the Sun could provide.

Their research, published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics, explains that they measured how much solar energy absorbed by solar cells actually can be converted into the cells’ energy output. To do that they divided the total amount of energy generated by the total energy received from the Sun in a given time span.

For example, using this equation, scientists know that the most efficient solar cells available today achieve an efficiency of 44.7 percent. The University of Leicester students applied this equation to Superman’s ability to fly.

They estimated the surface area of his body that’s accessible to sunlight, and concluded that he absorbs 1,096 joules per second from the Sun. Then they calculated how much energy Superman needs to fly for eight hours at an altitude of 30 kilometers (about 18.6 miles) and overcome atmospheric drag.

Their conclusion? He’d need 207 billion joules of solar energy -- far, far more than he could get from exposure to sunlight.

Related Article: Two Persistent Energy Myths With Attendant Conspiracy Theories

Physics’ law of conservation of energy dictates that energy can’t be created or destroyed, only converted from one form of energy to another. So clearly the Sun can’t give Superman all his super powers.

But, perhaps in deference to the Man of Steel, the students kept an open mind. Maybe, they suggested, he stores solar energy for future use when he’s not exerting his extraordinary abilities.

Alas, the young researchers concluded, that’s not possible, even with a solar cell efficiency of 100 percent. They also determined that even Superman’s stored energy would soon be depleted, especially given that their calculations focus only on his ability to fly, not his great strength.

In fact one of the students, Jason Watson, 21, of Oxfordshire, explains that a solar panel capable of absorbing and converting the amount of solar energy to meet Superman’s needs would require a solar panel the size of a soccer field.

Yet Watson evidently isn’t giving up. Perhaps, he says, the Sun provides energy besides electromagnetic radiation. Perhaps Superman can derive his powers from the neutrino particles generated by our star. But he’s quick to add that “we don’t know how he would do this.”

Hope springs eternal.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News