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The Science of Thor’s Lightning-Summoning Powers

What we call “thunder” is the sound of air rapidly expanding when exposed to plasma six times hotter than the Sun’s surface, known as lightning. And the Asgardian we call Thor is the god of it. He’s not the god of hammers or super strength or long blonde hair that I’m totally not trying to copy; Thor’s lightning summoning abilities are what defines him. My nerdy quest to explain Thor’s powers with science has covered his flight, his immovable hammer, and a battle with the Juggernaut, but never this crucial attack. So, how does Thor become a lightning rod?

In my latest Because Science, I’m finally taking a look at how Thor makes lightning his weapon. Specifically, I want to know if there is a plausible means of attracting lightning that fits with the sciencey explanations for Thor flies and for what makes his hammer impossible to pick up. My theory: Thor’s hammer Mjölnir can emit (virtual) graviton particles–theoretical particles that may transmit gravity. By doing so, the hammer could effective change its mass and make itself either too heavy to lift or just heavy enough to drag Thor through the air and “fly.”

But does this theory allow Thor to generate and redirect lightning? Watch my latest episode above to find out!


Check out my last video on what Groot is really made of, subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show, buy a Because Science shirt, mug, or collectible pin (you know why), and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode or on Instagram where I’m now posting extra mini-episodes!

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