Despite being very much a science based character, Captain Atom hasn’t thus far produced a lot of real science that I can look at with a discerning eye. Instead this series focuses more on the ethics and philosophy of certain actions and is doing so magnificently (and really anyone interested in a really smart comic book should be reading this.) This is a shorter “Science of …” with only two points and in a rarity the two points don’t really give away the plot, so read on in spoiler free delight.
The opening sequence here ties into a somewhat philosophical approach to time, approaching almost from the Buddhist standpoint that time is a concept and not a real thing. Of course from a hard scientific standpoint this is not true, in fact time is one of the things which science depends the most on in order to produce empirical data. On the other hand, time is also a human construct as it pertains to ourselves. A second is nothing more than what we meaning to as is a minute or an hour (well OK … this is not absolutely true, but close enough.) A day is a rotation of the Earth on its axis, a year the revolution of the Earth around the sun. Imagine though if you lived on the moon of a planet. Then you might also create a unit for a revolution around the planet, or any other number of things. Time as a concept is an interesting discussion, and one which cannot be easily resolved, but the treatment here was pretty well handled.
Verdict: Good Science
I would like to remind everyone again that I do not study physics (as I always do) so my understanding of particle accelerators may not be to the level of some, but in reading the description here of a particle accelerator, I was impressed by the attention to detail. Of course the description was not really right on, but close enough. The main problem is that they describe the particle accelerator at the center of the facility, but particle accelerators are actually quite large. This is because as the particles move along their path they are guided by large magnets, and the magnets can shift a particle only a certain distance over the length of the magnet so the loop of the particle accelerator must reflect this. So to have something at the center of the facility sounds weird. The CERN large hadron collider is for instance 27 km in circumference which is pretty large. Though I guess by centerpiece they could mean that figuratively as well, like it is the highest profile thing there. Of course Captain Atom sitting inside the particle accelerator is complete comic book science, but on the whole this is handled pretty well.
Verdict: Comic Science
It is interesting that compared to Mister Terrific which inundates the reader with mostly bad science, the science here is much less and of a better quality and thus contributes to the issue more strongly.