Bam! Science Inspired by Superheroes

By Eric Roston - 2013-12-17T14:48:54Z

Photograph by Everett Collection

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Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso of Truth

Big-screen success has eluded Wonder Woman, much to the dismay of fans who feel she deserves better. This month brought news that she’ll appear in the Superman sequel expected in 2015.

Wonder woman’s “golden lasso of truth” is her most famous piece of superhero killer gear. In fact, her character was created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston, 20 years after he published his first research into "systolic blood pressure symptoms of deception" -- or lie detection.

Real-world analogues to Wonder Woman's lasso, or Spider-Man's web, might emerge from research into high-performance threads. Materials scientists at Northwestern University are looking to biochemistry to create carbon nanotubes -- long an object of scientific and popular fascination -- that "take advantage of a toughening mechanism seen in spider silk and collagen."

Left: Wonder Woman, 1976-79.