The imaginary worlds of superheroes often rely on real-world science. Can you pick fact from fiction in our superhero science quiz?

#1. Ant-Man and The Wasp are named after insects. What is the scientific name for the order of insects that contains both ants and wasps?

Hymenoptera is the order of insects that includes ants, wasps, bees and sawflies.

#2. Barry Allen – The Flash – is said to be able to run at Mach 3.3. If that was possible, how fast would that be in kilometres per hour (km/h)?

It varies with altitude and temperature, but Mach 1 is the speed of sound in air. That’s approximately 1,235 km/h (i.e. 343 metres per second). Mach 3.3 is 3.3 times the speed of sound in air, which is 4,075 km/h.

#3. The superhero Black Widow is named after a spider. Which of these facts is true of black widow spiders?

Black widows have 8 legs and weave webs. They are venomous, but most bites are not fatal. However, despite their name, these spiders are not always black! They can also be brownish or even reddish in colour. They also have red markings on their abdomens.

#4. Dr Bruce Banner was accidentally exposed to gamma rays, and becomes The Hulk under emotional stress. In reality, which of these types of electromagnetic radiation have a shorter wavelength than gamma rays?

Gamma rays have the shortest wavelength of all types of electromagnetic radiation.

#5. True or false? She-Ra was raised on the far away planet of Etheria. While Etheria is a fictional planet, there is a real-life chemical element called etheria.

False. While there are no elements called etheria, there are oysters of the genus Etheria that can be found in Africa and Madagascar!

Was I right?


Congratulations! You are a real science whiz!

Oh dear! Better brush up before the next quiz!

If you’re after more fun science for kids, subscribe to Double Helix magazine!


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