The CW’s new drama The Flash has been widely praised for its rejection of doom and gloom in favor of a cheerier depiction of superheroes. However, a group of physics students is questioning whether Barry Allen is a hero at all.
In a brief paper titled “The Flash: Hero or Villain?,” four students from the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy scrutinize a scene from the pilot episode in which the Scarlet Speedster races to save a bicyclist from being struck by a taxi. While in the television series the man was left confused but otherwise unharmed, in reality his encounter with the Fastest Man Alive would leave him in worse shape than if he’d been struck by the car.
In short, The Flash wasn’t actually “saving” him at all.
But Barry is a hero in training, learning as he goes. To that end, the physics students have some advice for The Flash: Slow down. “The Flash’s efforts will be serving the greater good if he lowers the speed at which he makes contact,” they write. “Alternatively, increasing the area over which he makes contact with the cyclist would also lower the pressure and likelihood of injury.”
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