Batman ends?

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

For many batman is a childhood hero. But just as the new movie approaches its premier, four final-year master students publish their findings why batman should rather hang his cape up.
It’s not what batman does in general, it’s just that his cape just does not support him enough and will get him killed if he keeps jumping off high buildings.Marshall, D., Hands, T., Griffiths, I., & Douglas, G. (2011). A2_9 Trajectory of a falling Batman.?Physics Special Topics, 10(1). Retrieved July 9, 2012, from

So what did they actually do?
They had a look at the physics behind skydiving. This is basically a set of formulae balancing lift and drag of the skydiver. In analogy to wingsuits this seems like a valid set of equations to use. Now they just compare and do some algebra.
Set of equations
But another important thing is missing here! Yes, the area of batmans cape. Fortunately the movie ?Batman Begins? gives a close up shot of the extended cape so an estimate can be made.
Batman area from Batman Begins
Now they did some nice modeling and the results are as you see below:
Displacement of Batman Velocity Profile of Batman
We can just compare the displacement to the velocity. While the vertical displacement approaches zero, the velocity profile stays almost constant at 80km/h. Hitting the ground at a speed of 80kn/h would place batman at serious risk to his health. Even in a car with security belts, airbags, aluminum car body to come to a sudden halt from 80km/h can result in serious injuries or worse.World Health Organization 2004 – Road safety, speed. Taken from the World report on road traffic injury prevention. To download the report, or for more
information on road safety,

Please batman, use a parachute!

See the Wired article:
The actual paper:

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... is a geophysicist by heart. He works at the intersection of machine learning and geoscience. He is the founder of The Way of the Geophysicist and a deep learning enthusiast. Writing mostly about computational geoscience and interesting bits and pieces relevant to post-grad life.

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One Comment

  1. Hi Jesper

    I am not too sure how I missed this when you posted.
    It cannot get any better than having Batman and Geophysics in the same blog post. And modeling too?
    It was fun to read, thanks for writing this review.

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