Ant-Man’s Superhero Bone Structure

Ant-Man and the Wasp has been released into theaters.  Of their various super powers, mathematics underscores a huge one for Ant-Man, his bone structure!  When you see the superhero towering over the boat in the scene below, taken from <a href=”https://marvel.com/antman” target=”new”>https://marvel.com/antman</a>.

A large Ant-Man peering down on deck of a ship.

We should cheer as if he’s the man of steel, really more than steel!  To see why, we become cubists, of a kind.  In particular, consider the following cube.

A cube

Suppose you double its size, meaning its length, width and height all double.  Then the cube becomes:

A cube

Suppose you decided to paint the cube and it took one bottle.  Then, it would take four to paint the enlarged cube.  However, what if we fill the original cube with one cup of water. The larger cube would take eight cups.

What does this mean for Ant-Man?  From my quick estimate, Ant-Man is approximately 10 times bigger as he peers down at the deck of the ship.  Therefore, he weights 1,000 times as much.

The problem? Ant-Man’s bones scale relative to the rate at which the cross-section of his bones scales, which is only 100.  Ant-Man should be crushed under his own weight.  He isn’t and, as such, mathematics gives us another superhero power to cheer as we watch the movie!


Adapted from course notes entitled “A Tour of Mathematics – Exploring the Borders” by Dr. Tim Pennings

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