James Kakalios

James Kakalios; Author, Physics Professor, and all-around super guy.

About James Kakalios

James Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1988. His scientific research in experimental condensed matter physics concerns the properties of complex and disordered systems. His class “Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I learned from Reading Comic Books” is a popular freshman seminar.

Extensive media coverage of this class in May 2002, in connection with the release of the first Sony Spider-Man film, resulted in hundreds of e-mails from students, teachers and those long out of college, all supporting the concept of using superheroes to teach physics and enquiring about a book based on the class. In 2005 Kakalios published the popular science general audience book THE PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES (Gotham), which has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish and Korean. The SPECTACULAR SECOND EDITION was published in 2009 and in 2010 he published THE AMAZING STORY OF QUANTUM MECHANICS also by Gotham Press.

In 2007, he served as the science consultant for the Warner Bros. superhero film Watchmen. He appears on the DVD version of the film in a special feature that discusses some of the science behind one of Watchmen’s central characters — Dr. Manhattan. In 2009, Kakalios made a video with the University News Service on “The Science of Watchmen,” which has been viewed over 1.6 million times and in 2009 won a regional Emmy Award in the “Advanced Media: Arts/Entertainment” category.

In 2012, James served as one of the science consultants for the Marvel Entertainment American superhero film The Amazing Spider-Man.

He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago, and has been reading comic books for much longer. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife Therese and his three children.