Watch: Why Every Explanation of Superheroes' "Phasing" Powers Is Wrong

Sunday, 19 June 2016 - 3:53PM
Physics
Sunday, 19 June 2016 - 3:53PM
Watch: Why Every Explanation of Superheroes' "Phasing" Powers Is Wrong
Superheroes peppered in every comic book universe have the power to "phase" through objects, from Marvel's Vision and Kitty Pryde to DC's Flash and Doctor Manhattan. But according to the latest Because Science with Nerdist's Kyle Hill, everything you knew about phasing through objects is wrong. In the below video, Hill claims that every single explanation for this superpower is wildly inaccurate (except one):



The Flash, Vision, and Kitty Pryde all provide variations on the same explanation for their phasing powers: they rearrange their atoms to pass through objects, essentially shoving their particles through the space in the object's particles. But as Hill states in the video, "That's not how phasing works! That's not how any of that works!" In reality, any rearrangement of atoms wouldn't allow you to pass through other objects, at least not without essentially disintegrating.

There is actually one way to make phasing work, at least theoretically. If there were a "quantum superhero," the spooky nature of quantum particles could allow for a hero to "phase" through an object when the wave function of all of his or her particles collapsed--or in other words, when there was a probability that all of his or her atoms were on the other side of the object. Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen, for example, has complete control over all of his atoms, including their quantum state, which means his explanation is the only one that even approaches plausible.
Science
Science of Sci-Fi
Physics

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