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When Dr Bruce Banner becomes The Incredible Hulk he increases in height and presumably weight. My question is - how does that mass increase occur? I'm looking (obviously) for an in-universe explanation.

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A wizard did it. –  DampeS8N Sep 25 '11 at 23:21
It's been suggested by some that the Hulk might get his extra mass from the same source that plants primarily do--carbon from the air. Do any of his stories refute this? E.g., does Bruce ever turn into the Hulk in space or any other vacuum? –  user6380 May 17 '12 at 6:51
I'm more intrigued in finding out his cure for stretch marks –  Riain McAtamney Sep 25 '12 at 14:49

4 Answers 4

up vote 36 down vote accepted

Jeff Parker, the current writer of Marvel Comics' Hulk, replied to this question via Twitter by saying:

The explanation I use: during transformation he pulls in ambient gamma energy and converts it to mass.

So that's the reasoning that Jeff Parker uses when he writes the Bruce Banner Hulk.

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To again quote Jeff Parker via Twitter: "People will make fun of it [the answer], but we're talking about a green giant who smashes things. The pants are harder to explain." So, someone ask about the pants!! –  Brett White Sep 26 '11 at 18:22
@Brett: Gah, those purple pants! It would probably be more believable if he sprouted his own fig leaf. ;) –  gnovice Sep 26 '11 at 18:26
Considering E = mc^2, it would take an unimaginable quantity of energy for the Hulk to add that much mass. Not a plausible explanation at all unless this energy comes from another dimension (as seen in TML's answer) –  Royal Flush Nov 28 '11 at 18:22
@Royal Flush: releasing that energy when he transforms back to Bruce Banner would make a pretty nice explosion. –  vsz Mar 12 '12 at 7:19
@Oghma Laws of Conservation of Mass is also not followed in Nuclear reactions / explosions. Mass is a type of energy and it all follows Law of Conservation of Energy... –  S S May 16 '12 at 5:29

The Marvel wiki entry for The Incredible Hulk states in the "Powers" section:

The gamma radiation that mutated the Hulk's body fortified his cellular structure and added, from some as yet unknown (presumably extradimensional) source, several hundred pounds of bone, muscle, and other tissue to his body.

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He must have his own personal subspace pocket...is he a Transformer? –  Jeff Sep 26 '11 at 15:07
@Jeff Well, he actually transforms. :) Anyway, I thought the Avenger with hammer space was Thor. –  Erik Burigo May 17 '12 at 8:51
@ErikBurigo: Ye flippin gods, man! Mark your TV Tropes links. So much lost time... –  Jeff May 19 '12 at 4:17

I supose that the accident that created hulk has mutated Bruce Banner's cells making them unstable. When he transforms the radiation in his body produce a phenomenal cell growth, those new cells are also mutant cells, way harder and stronger than any human cell, getting a curious green tone on skin cells due it's source.

When hulk becames calm and reverts to Banner's form the gamma radiation fades, so the new cells can't continue it's existence and die. However, those mutated cells don't die in a normal way, they just disintegrate, returning the cellular structure of Bruce Banner to it's previous state.

I know that's not canonical, but I like how it sounds.

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Thank you for the biological explanation but my question is about physics - where does the extra mass come from? –  Wikis Dec 13 '13 at 13:18
It's implied on my explanation that Banner has become some type of gamma radiation supercharger. When he liberates part of this energy the radiation mutates his body generating the cellular growth. Also it's feasible that the energy reverts to a contained state when returning to Banner's form with very little energy loss. –  Bardo Dec 13 '13 at 13:23

Wouldn't the gamma radiation not only produce matter but also anti matter which would then annihilate the matter and produce gamma rays again? Basically wouldn't he net gain 0 grams, pounds, tons, kilograms, etc.

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Via pair production and due to spin conservation yes. Perhaps the mater/anti-matter are used as a catalyst for some other mechanism, such as jumpstarting carbon/oxygen/nitrogen fusion to produce more energy without the spin issue and provide the heavier elements needed. –  John Meacham Jul 14 '14 at 21:57

protected by PearsonArtPhoto May 21 '12 at 12:37

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