KSTATI Festival of Science: SUSU Holds Superhero Trial


On April 18th the opening of the “KSTATI. Coordinate System” Science Festival was held at the South Ural State University conference hall. It began with the popular science show, Superhero Trial, where Master Yoda, Wolverine, and Thor ended up on the defendant’s bench.

The researchers acted as lawyers and attorneys and rated the phenomenon of the famous comic characters from a scientific point of view. Members of the jury were chosen from audience members. If you got straight As in literature in school or you have seen all parts of Star Wars, then you would have fit in in the jury.

KSTATI is a Federal Festival of Science held by a network of atomic energy informational centers since 2015 in different Russian and international cities with support from the Rosatom state company. Festivals were held in Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Murmansk, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Voronezh, and Minsk. This year, SUSU became one of the largest venues for the festival.

The goal of the KSTATI Festival is to initiate a dialogue between researchers and city residents, bring science outside of R&D institutions and laboratories, introduce people to the issues researchers work on, and explain the meaning of scientific discoveries for everyday life.

The court session ended with a conclusion about whether or not superheroes are as undefeatable as we usually think they are.

Science versus Wolverine

One of the most popular comic book characters is, of course, Wolverine. His superpowers of instant regeneration, adamantine skeleton, and his claws make him practically undefeatable. But a few researches think that Wolverine has his weak side. Valery Royzen, junior researcher of the Laboratory of Computer Design of Materials MFTI, put forth proof that the main weakness of Wolverine, from the scientific point of view, is his chance of cancer.

“Wolverine’s regeneration happens at a colossally fast pace. This high pace of regeneration suggests a very high speed of cell division. Constant damage and fast regeneration leads to the development of cancer. Everyone has cancer cells, but taking into account the accelerated processes in Wolverine’s body, he would turn into one big cancerous cell in a few seconds.”

Arguments to Wolverine's defense were put forth by candidate of biological sciences Evgeniya Blinova. She believes that all processes in Wolverine’s body happen faster than in a typical person, and this fast regenerative superpower is possible thanks to the speed of stem cell division and his complete healing without some kind of side effects.

Having analyzed the arguments for and against, the jury declared Wolverine innocent of crimes against nature. Hearings were also held for Thor and Master Yoda, who the peaceful Chelyabinsk jury also found innocent.

From the moment of the founding of the KSTATI Festival, more than 200 events have been held, whose audience included more than 40 thousand people. Every festival participant has a chance to bring knowledge to the masses and participate in the popularization of science.


Photo by Oleg Igoshin
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