As the MCU focuses on a "technicological" explanation to everything I've seen so far, it seems there should be a physical explanation. Several observations, however, make no sense with respect to conservation of mass or energy.

These include the arc reactor (energy seemingly out of nothing), Mjolnir (apparently variable mass), and Hulk's transformation (increase in mass). While explanations (at least in the comics or from interviews) already exist for these, the new Ant-Man movie gives a useful writer's aid to make these make some sense. Henry Pym discovers (which implys they already exist) particles which allow him to store size and mass in alternative dimensions or draw it from there.

I am aware that these examples will most likely not be connected to Pym particles. I am still, however, wondering this question: Has anything seen in the MCU so far been, will likely be, or already has been in the comics tied to the transport of mass between dimensions via Pym particles?

  • 2
    Mjolnir doesn't have variable mass. (If it increased its mass to prevent people from lifting it, it would break the table it was resting on.) It's magically/technologically immovable, like a bike chain tied to the fabric of local space, but it doesn't get heavier/lighter. At least not in the MCU.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 21:44
  • 1
    The word is "technological" Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 22:43
  • @ThePopMachine: maybe it’s actually technicolorlogical? Everything in the MCU is actually derived from the glorious Technicolor™ motion picture process? Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 10:02

3 Answers 3


Several observations, however, make no sense with respect to conservation of mass or energy.

Only if you don't suspend your belief. Simply because we cannot copy the technology or isn't factual, doesn't mean it doesn't have a technological explanation.

These include the arc reactor (energy seemingly out of nothing)

The arc reactor in the MCU is a highly efficient Palladium-core powered cold fusion reactor. This is later upgraded using a new element discovered by Howard Stark, as the Palladium-core arc reactor was poisoning Tony and was fairly weak for it's Iron Man powering job. In-universe, it is not creating energy out of nothing, it's just using science that doesn't work in the real world.

Mjolnir (apparently variable mass)

Again, considering the countless times they have stated that MCU Asgardian magic is just sufficiently advanced technology (even though Jane distinguished it), and they have ships that have no discernible propulsion so it can be implied as anti-gravity. If you can negate gravity, you can increase it as well.

And Hulk's transformation (increase in mass)

The hardest to explain. One Comic Word of God is that the Hulk absorbs ambient gamma radiation around him to transform. Even in 616, that seems very hard to swallow because of how much energy is needed. Even when you consider that gamma radiation in 616 and MCU is incredibly more powerful than real life gamma radiation.

But from Captain America, The Avengers, and Iron Man 2, we know that the Tesseract also works with (or just as a byproduct) Gamma Radiation. And Howard Stark developed the original Arc Reactor and discovered a new element using what he learned from the Tesseract. And the Tesseract can easily power interdimensional portals or space bridges, even when messed with by humans. So as a matter of logical extrapolation, Pym Particles, when shown, will likely connect to the existing overall world of Tesseract/Gamma Radiation based technology.

Update: From what we can tell without seeing the actual Ant Man movie (not yet released), from the supplementary material, the Pym Particles discovered and harnessed by Hank Pym do not yet tie into Gamma Radiation or the Tesseract.

  • I think that it likely won't be connected to anything (unfortunately) but this is the more thought out answer. I didn't realise the arc reactor was cold fusion; that esplains everything (little and cheap fuel is needed). If they existed in the real world, Pym particles could be used to create anti-gravity easily (especially if they could be used to create a field). They will likely just do what they are doing so far... no physically explanation is needed so don't worry about it. And that is fine; the "rule of awesome" trope clearly applys. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 13:41
  • 2
    +1. It always bugs me when people say tech in SciFi "has no explanation." Just because you can't think of an explanation doesn't mean there isn't one. Someone else undoubtedly can. That's why I love this site!
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 21:42

With the release of Ant-Man, this question is now a lot more answerable.

Yes, we have now seen Pym Particles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The explanation that Hank Pym gives when talking Scott Lang through how the technology works is that the Pym Particles "remove the space between atoms", allowing the size of the object to decrease while retaining mass.

As of yet, the Pym Particles have not been linked to any of the advanced technology in the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - but Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, has said that the Quantum Realm seen in Ant-Man has links to the upcoming Doctor Strange film.

It's also worth mentioning that Scott Lang is set to appear in Captain America: Civil War, making that film the second film we have seen Pym Particles (or the use of them) in.


I can't think of a single example. As you note, the physics defiance so far has their own explanation (Asgardian tech, gamma radiation). Pym's work is pretty specific to either Pym's various superhero identities (+Wasp) or random tech which is peripheral to the Avengers. Until Ant-Man and Ultron are introduced, his tech probably won't make an appearance.

  • Exactly the answer i expected (but not hoped for). Thank you. Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 15:53
  • 1
    @anotherguest: Are you saying that this is the answer that you deserves, but not that one you need? Because that's from a whole other cinematic universe! :-)
    – user24620
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 18:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.