Newswise — April 22, 2014 – Warrendale, PA – Have you ever read a comic book or watched a superhero movie and wondered if the fantastic feats they portray have any basis in real life? Comic-tanium™, a new traveling exhibit that will be set up at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo (STEM Festival) in Washington, D.C., April 25-27, answers that question. Materials scientists and engineers are ‘saving the world’ every day – and Comic-tanium illustrates the connection between fictional superheroes and these real-life “heroes.”

Comic-tanium is a museum-quality educational exhibit created by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), the TMS Foundation, and the Toonseum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By showing the connection between beloved superheroes like Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America, Comic-tanium aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in the science and engineering professions.

Comic-tanium debuted at TMS’s annual meeting in February and garnered overwhelmingly positive responses from local high school students who were invited to view it. The decision to take Comic-tanium to the STEM Festival was an easy one, since both aim to re-invigorate the interest of our nation's youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Festival is expected to attract more than 250,000 K-12 students and parents, and more than 5,000 teachers.

“As a professional society, much of TMS’s focus is on addressing the needs of practicing scientists and engineers as well as students in university programs. Thanks to our members, we do those things very well. Our K-12 outreach, however, has been much more limited. So, the opportunity to produce Comic-tanium proved an irresistible proposition to address a gap in our portfolio,” said James J. Robinson, TMS executive director. “It allows us to take the minerals, metals, and materials community to a younger and broader audience in an engaging manner with a relatable message. Not only is Comic-tanium impactful, it is just plain fun.”

Each section of the Comic-tanium exhibit includes a portrayal of the use of materials by comic book heroes along with today’s research by real-world materials superheroes. The real-life professionals appearing in the exhibit are all TMS members working in the minerals, metals, and materials sciences fields.

In one example, Captain America, creator of a fictional element called vibranium – an indestructible alloy that is used in his shield – is shown alongside an engineer with the U.S. Army Research Office. The Research Office team has developed the highest strength magnesium alloy ever, for use in creating better protection for soldiers, safer automobiles, and more durable electronics.

Comic-tanium also will be on display for a limited time at Pittsburgh’s Toonseum at the same time that Materials Science & Technology 2014 (MS&T) visits the city, October 12-16, 2014. Find out more about the exhibit at the Comic-tanium website,

If you would like to learn how to bring Comic-tanium to your school, event, or organization, please contact: Mike Bazzy, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). Telephone: 800-759-4867, ext. 258 (U.S. / Canada only) or +1 724-814-3162 E-Mail: [email protected].

ABOUT TMS The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) is a member-driven international professional society dedicated to fostering the exchange of learning and ideas across the entire range of minerals, metals, and materials science and engineering, from minerals processing and primary metals production, to basic research and the advanced applications of materials. Included among its more than 12,000 professional and student members are metallurgical and materials engineers, scientists, researchers, educators, and administrators from more than 70 countries on six continents. For more information on TMS, visit

ABOUT THE TMS FOUNDATIONThe TMS Foundation is the charitable arm of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, funding special projects, awards, scholarships, travel grants, contests, and leadership programs for students and young professionals in the minerals, metals, and materials fields.