Researchers with the Georgia Institute of Technology have learned that Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet snap, which temporarily killed off a variety of key MCU characters and half of the universe in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, couldn’t have been possible. That seems like a pretty obvious thing, with Thanos being a giant, purple alien that doesn’t exist, but some of the faculty was compelled to get into the science following a debate with students over whether the maneuver could be performed. Researchers ultimately determined that the density and makeup of the Infinity Gauntlet would have prevented Thanos from snapping his fingers at the speed at which he did.
From Georgia Tech:
Using high-speed imaging, automated image processing, and dynamic force sensors, the researchers analyzed a variety of finger snaps. They explored the role of friction by covering fingers with different materials, including metallic thimbles to simulate the effects of trying to snap while wearing a metallic gauntlet, much like Thanos.
For an ordinary snap with bare fingers, the researchers measured maximal rotational velocities of 7,800 degrees per second and rotational accelerations of 1.6 million degrees per second squared. The rotational velocity is less than that measured for the fastest rotational motions observed in humans, which come from the arms of professional baseball players during the act of pitching. However, the snap acceleration is the fastest human angular acceleration yet measured, almost three times faster than the rotational acceleration of a professional baseball pitcher’s arm.
“When I first saw the data, I jumped out of my chair,” said Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor with the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering who studies ultrafast motions in living systems. “The finger snap occurs in only seven milliseconds, more than twenty times faster than the blink of an eye, which takes more than 150 milliseconds.”
“Our results suggest that Thanos could not have snapped because of his metal armored fingers,” said Raghav Acharya, an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech and the first author of the study. “So, it’s probably the Hollywood special effects, rather than actual physics, at play! Sorry for the spoiler.”
The complete research article is available to read in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface’s November 2021 issue.
Source: Georgia Tech