Movie Article

What's Up, Doc?

SPOILER ALERT: Untangling ''Spider-Man 2'''s fusion confusion. EW answers some burning questions regarding the Spidey sequel

Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2 | 'MAN' OF THE HOUR Doc Ock (Alred Molina) in ''Spider-Man 2''
'MAN' OF THE HOUR Doc Ock (Alred Molina) in ''Spider-Man 2''

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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 Jun 29, 2004 Published in issue #773 Jul 09, 2004 Order article reprints

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