Saturday, July 16, 2011

Iron Man - Is Building Such a Body Suit Possible?

Sometimes, when making an emphatic point to students, a teacher's best intentions do not always accomplish what he thinks they should. As an unashamed Batman devotee, once upon a time I made a passing reference to the greatness of The Dark Knight as a prelude to one of my lessons. Prior to delving into the world of mathematics with this group of high school students I said something akin to, "Just imagine-a mere man who became a tremendous superhero. No one could be as great as Batman." Without missing a beat, one of the students in the middle of the class piped up, "Have you ever heard of Iron Man?" With tongue-in-cheek, I told him I did, but I would only award extra credit for receipt of Batman paraphernalia.

As comic book denizens will know, Iron Man is the invention of Tony Stark, a 30-something genius inventor who inherited Stark Industries from his father at the tender age of 21. Prior to that, at age 15 his penchant for brilliance took him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he would earn two college degrees: one in physics and the other in engineering. On the most recent Forbes Fictional 15, his net worth of $9.4B places him at the number six slot - two spots above the much more conservative true identify of Batman, Bruce Wayne (Whose $7B net worth is still nothing upon which to sneeze.). Incidentally, he is right behind #5 Jed Clampett (The Beverly Hillbillies), but oil inheritance and country living doesn't sell any comic books.