James Kakalios

Gemant Award

For his creativity in engaging broad audiences by passionately communicating cutting-edge science found in comic books and superhero movies through public lectures, books, and mass media presentations.

About the Winner

James Kakalios received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago and is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, 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. After extensive media coverage of this class sparked a flood of interest, Kakalios responded to requests that he write a book based on the class. This led to the publication of “The Physics of Superheroes,” which has since been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. A “Spectacular Second Edition” was published in 2009 and in 2010 he published “The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics.” He has served as the science consultant for the Warner Bros. film "Watchmen," and consulted in 2012 on the Sony film "The Amazing Spider-Man." Besides teaching and writing, Dr. Kakalios is active as a public speaker and science consultant.

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