Superhero Science Meets Real-World Engineering in Return of Popular Undergraduate Course

DAVIS, Calif.; March 28, 2017–Have you ever wondered if cosmic radiation can actually produce the superpowers of characters like Mister Fantastic or the Invisible Woman? Or if there is a real-world equivalent to the adamantium in Wolverine’s claws? With the return of the popular engineering course that’s open to all students, Materials Marvels: The Science of Superheroes, you just might find an answer to these questions.

Materials Marvels explores how creativity in engineering can address real-world societal and technological problems. In this project-based class, students will learn the fundamentals of materials engineering through the fantastic world of superheroes. By exploring specific features of superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Spider Man, and the Fantastic Four, students will learn science and engineering in a fun and accessible way.

Professor Castro’s introductory engineering course, Materials Marvels, is back by popular demand this spring. The class is open to all undergraduate students – not just engineering majors. CC image courtesy of Peter Miller on Flickr.

Although they may seem unconventional, the technologies and characteristics of superheroes are a surprisingly useful backdrop for exploring materials science and engineering. Materials science explores the structure, properties, and behavior of existing materials and how materials might be used in new and novel ways. Materials science, then, is not unlike Tony Stark seeking to develop and improve upon his armored Iron Man suit.  

The course is taught by Ricardo Castro, an associate professor in the College of Engineering Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Castro has taught the course since it first launched in winter 2015. The class is open to all undergraduate students.

Complete Course Information:

CRN: 71119
Day/Time: Mondays, 12:10 – 2 PM
Course Title: EMS 002, Materials Marvels