Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming installment of the Batman film series is called The Dark Knight Rises, but a group of four physics students at the University of Leicester has concluded that a more appropriate title might be “The Dark Knight Crashes.”
In a recent paper published in the university’s Journal of Physics Special Topics, helpfully titled “Trajectory of a Falling Batman,” the students demonstrated that the Caped Crusader could in fact glide from the top of a tall building. But his roughly 15-foot-wide cape, pictured at left in the paper, wouldn’t be big enough to stop him from flying headlong into a losing battle with the pavement.
“He would likely end up getting a bit splattered,” one of the students, David Marshall, told the BBC. Mr. Marshall said if Batman could extend the cape’s wingspan beyond his arms, the gliding strategy would probably work.
For anyone who might try to disprove their findings by flinging themselves off a skyscraper, the students wrapped up their paper with the following disclaimer: “Clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel, unless a method to rapidly slow down is used such as a parachute.”