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The science of Spidey: fact or fiction

The science of Spidey: fact or fiction -- EW asks an expert to weigh in on the use of fusion, Doc Ock's experiment, and gravitational pull in ''Spider-Man 2''

Before he goes bad, ”Spiderman 2”’s Doc Ock creates an energy source using fusion. We drop the science on the evildoer’s doings.

Is Ock’s device a scientific possibility or comic-book fantasy?
Actually, Ock’s experiment is ”not too far from being reality,” says the American Physical Society’s James Riordon. Fusion – when nuclei combine in a power-generating reaction (like the sun!) – is ”one of the most promising areas of energy research.”

Ock’s fusion has a gravitational pull powerful enough to rip the jewelry off bystanders. Ever lose a watch in the lab?
Well, no. ”They are among the most powerful magnetic fields generated in a laboratory setting,” Riordon says, ”but they don’t affect anything outside [the reaction].”

And Spidey’s idea to defuse the device by dumping it into the river?
Overkill. ”It takes a lot of effort to make this thing run at all,” Riordon says. ”You could stop it just by bumping it a little.”

Originally posted July 9 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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