The U.S. federal government funded a study that determined the Marvel supervillain “Thanos” would not have been able to snap his fingers in the movie Avengers: Infinity War, a new report from Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., revealed last week.
The study, spearheaded by researchers at Georgia Tech, focused on the speed at which humans can snap their fingers, ultimately reporting a finger snap “produces the highest rotational accelerations observed in humans, even faster than the arm of a professional baseball pitcher.”
For the past few years, I’ve been fascinated with how we can snap our fingers,” Saad Bhamla, one of the researchers involved in the study, said in a press release. “It’s really an extraordinary physics puzzle right at our fingertips that hasn’t been investigated closely.”
Prior to conducting the study, Bhamla and his fellow researchers developed a “framework” to explain “ultrafast motions” in living beings. Seeing Thanos snap his fingers while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Infinity War inspired the researchers to apply their framework to the massively popular cinematic franchise.
Despite deriving inspiration from Thanos, the study focused more broadly on the human finger snap, raising questions about why humans snap their fingers in the first place and whether other primates have the ability to do so.