As you all know, most of the Match-Ups here at Pop Modern are pretty high-minded fare, the kinds of pressing questions that plague men’s minds and keep us all up at night. We tackle the hard questions, the “Kirk vs. Picard”s and the “Justice League vs. Avengers”s of the world. Of course, not every question is infused with such gravitas. Sometimes a question pops into our minds, demanding to be answered. That’s why this week we’re exceeding the speed of light to take a trip through time, pulling two scientific greats into our wormhole of banality to ask…Who would win a weightlifiting competition, Einstein or Newton?
Allen: It’s the Thriller From Wurttemberg versus the Pride of Lincolnshire! Newton’s mastery of concrete physics gives him a distinct edge in this battle of intellectual titans. By measuring the circumference of the barbell and multiplying it by the area of his muscle mass…I dunno, he could probably make the weights float or something. In his home back in merry England, manual labor was a necessity for survival. Strong muscle mass, heavy repetitions, and that classic British cynicism all contribute to Newton’s fantastic workout plan. Unfortunately, my only real glimpses into Mr. Einstein’s life are a picture of him with his tongue out, and the fictionalized version of him in Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects. Newton would actually fit quite well in that world, but he’d probably be killed at birth or switched with an evil clone within two issues of his introduction. Einstein’s distinct grasp of quantum physics would help with training and preparing for the match, but up there, in front of millions of people, he’d collapse under pressure. I mean, the man had to tell people he wasn’t Einstein because he was so sick of “explaining that formula he did”. It’s hard to be such an iconic scientist, and that kind of anxiety can mess with anyone in a public competition. Even though he lived around 200 years after Newton, I feel like Sir Isaac could lift the pants off of that wiry German savant based merely on confidence, preparation, and low expectations.
James: Let’s get down to the most epic weightlifting competition of the century. Well, the 20th and 17th centuries, but let’s not pull hairs. I’m going to switch things up and focus not on their physical prowess but their ideas. Newton at first seems like he would be an easy choice. The master of calculus is an expert of force, and would use his advantage to push down Einstein’s bar. Cold, but the master alchemist would do anything for his victory. Einstein seems fragile, but he has a few things going for him. Lifting the bar in an accelerating field, Einstein would reduce the apparent force of gravity. For his next trick he would set Newton on a spaceship going near the velocity of light. The mass of the bar would increase in proportion to the velocity, therefore, the bar would fall so far. Einstein wins. E=mc2. Science, bitches.
Magellan: The thing I love about this ridiculous Match-Up is how utterly it takes these contestants out of their respective elements. After all, in one corner you have a posh-looking Englishman, and in the other a man whose major form of youthful exercise was pencil-pushing at the patent office. Cracking this nut is going to take some extra force. Now, this is the part of the verdict where I’d take a moment to describe what it takes to be good at weight-lifting, but I hardly think I’m qualified to comment on such a matter. Let’s just assume that success in such a competition requires both strength and form. Let’s also assume that both of these well-respected, world-changing physicists didn’t get into that business because of their abundance of muscles. So really, it’s a question of posture, and although I have a lot of respect for Einstein and his untamed head-party, I think Newton has the market cornered on the whole posture and form thing.
Sir Isaac Newton wins 2-1
Boy, good thing we got that one out of our system. Now we can stop speculating on scientists and monumental historical figures and go back to studying what really matters: cartoon characters and superheroes, that sort of thing. Really, we wouldn’t be able to occupy ourselves with such complex, important subject matter if it weren’t for men like Einstein and Newton. Truly, we stand on the shoulders of giants.