Science TED-Ed

What if superpowers were real? A series of TED-Ed lessons explores the science of flight, super speed, invisibility and more

Posted by: TED Guest Author


By Logan Smalley

Everyone fantasizes about what it would be like to lift a building, run faster than a speeding bullet, or temporarily turn on their invisibility. However, not everyone takes the time to consider the scientific ramifications of utilzing such spectacular gifts.

For instance, did you know that being invisible would render you blind? The transparent retina in your eye would be unable to reflect light, therefore providing no information for your brain to interpret as “sight.” More gruesomely, if you could fly above the clouds at any respectable speed, your face would experience extreme heat due to friction. Sure, you could slow down, but then you might get a little chilly at such high altitudes (assuming you could breathe.) You could fly below the clouds, but you’d need to be quite nimble to avoid the millions of bugs that would inevitably obstruct your path! The list goes on….

In the new six-part series “If super powers were real,” Texan educator Joy Lin explores the scientific and logical fallacies inherent to six highly desired superpowers — super speed, super strength, invisibility, body mass, immortality and flight. The dynamic voice performing each lesson is esteemed voice-over actor James Arnold Taylor. Taylor is also the voice behind Fred Flintstone, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Leonardo and countless other extraordinary, animated characters.

A quick introduction to the series:

A look at the conundrum of immortality:

What if we could manipulate body mass:

A deeper look at the downsides of invisibility:

What would really happen with super strength:

And what if you could move at super speed:

This post originally appeared on the TED-Ed Blog. Read more about the program »

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