It’s always good to visit home, to where it all started. In terms of my adventures in the Netherlands, home, and where it all started back in 2012, is Enschede. While I lived there the seeds for my superhero escapades were sown, and I couldn’t have imagined speaking about my new book “How to Build an Iron Man Suit” for the first time in the Netherlands anywhere else. On Friday February 21st I did just that when I spoke at the fantastic Comicasa comic book store – a must visit for fans of superheroes and more.
Those in attendance were first treated to a “Iron Man 101” course delivered splendidly by Robert van der Weide-Zeelenberg. Robert outlined the history of the character Iron Man including his inauspicious start at Marvel Comics as well as the evolution of the character and some of the suits that have featured in comic book issues over the years.
Then it was my turn to speak about the science and technology behind the development of an Iron Man suit. The audience experienced the wonder of an exoskeleton suit, EEG brainwave-reading technologies, advanced wound healing treatments, and lots more. Specific scenes from the films were very much in the spotlight, which seemed to please the comic book and film-loving audience no end. The end of the talk was marked by an open discussion on the technological tribulations behind developing a real Iron Man-like suit, and whether such a technology would be of benefit to society.
Many thanks to Robert, Peter, and everyone at Comicasa for hosting the talk. My new book “How to Build an Iron Man Suit“, as well as my other books, are available to purchase at Comicasa. And be sure to visit the store to experience the comic book ambience. It’s such a cool place to sit down and read a comic book or ten.
Stay tuned for more Iron Man banter.
Always think super!
In February 2019, I set out on a writing adventure. I had a plan and I hoped that I would be able to stick to it. In my apartment I scribbled some notes, random musings, and a rough timetable on my whiteboard. It was a serious undertaking – to write a book in approximately 6 months from scratch. But I was motivated, intrigued, and suitably placed to write it. The aim was to write a book “How to Build an Iron Man Suit” with the content inspired by the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and real scientific research from around the world.
The process proved to be an incredible adventure. The research part involved reading scientific papers from multiple disciplines and watching the films of the MCU on repeat. I refer to the paper reading process as “academic mining” where I searched through many thousands of papers that could link to the narrative of the book. Some papers were easy to find, some were hard to find. I must admit though that it was a joy to rematch the films once again. Given that the book is based on Tony Stark and his exoskeleton suits, I focused on the films where he had a starring role. For instance, I definitely watched Iron Man (2008) more than 20 times while writing the book. Multiple watches that certainly paid off.
I should emphasise that the book is not about building the Iron Man suit. It is really about building an Iron Person suit – a suit for everyone. I strive to highlight that the technologies within the suit are to be used for good and not for evil. And these technologies need to be developed in an ethical manner, and not in a secretive and secluded manner that mirrors the approach of Tony Stark.The books also acts as my testament to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) thus far. I use scenes from multiple films to motivate the introduction of concepts and technologies – from Iron Man (2008) to The Avengers (2012) and from Captain America: Civil War (2016) to Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).
There were plenty of occasions where I didn’t think I’d make the deadline – a deadline that I had set for myself. You see I decided to venture into the self-publishing world one more time with this new book – just like my previous books Secrets of Superhero Science and Secret Science of Santa Claus. Self-publishing can be a challenging task as you need to both write the book and arrange the appropriate support structures for the rest of the book such as an editor, illustrator, proof-readers, and layout designers.
In the end it all worked out and the book arrived from the printers on October 29th 2019, the day before my 40th birthday. The official publication date for the book is October 30th 2019 – a present to myself to mark the end of my 4th decade on the 3rd rock from the Sun. You can get further details on the book here.
Over the coming weeks I’ll write a little more about the writing process and the joys and tribulations of self-publishing.
Until then – always think super!
It’s Science Week Ireland 2019 and I’m back in Ireland to speak all over the country about science and superheroes.
One event that I’ll be speaking at is the Ballyhoura Science Day. This SFI-funded event will be taking place on Saturday November 16th from 11.00 to 16.00 at the Croom Sports Complex in Croom, Co. Limerick. Admission is free and all are welcome.
There’s going to be lots of science-based stands and exhibitions at the Science Day including Wild Encounters, the Community Food Initiative, and the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre.
I had the chance to chat with Amber Mothersoul – the Project Leader for the Ballyhoura Science Day – about the Science Day, the activities that will be available on the day, and of course superheroes.
For more information on the Ballyhoura Science Day, please go to the website www.visitballyhoura.com. You can also get further information on Twitter @Ballyhoura.
You can follow Barry Fitzgerald on Twitter @BarryWScience, on Instagram @bwscience, and get further information on his talks and books at bwscience.com.