Originally Posted by blah
Now that I think about it, do you think that the element that Tony created in IM2 was an artificial Cosmic Cube? His dad was last seen in Captain America finding the Cube. I'm guessing that he spent his life studying it, failing to replicate its power, only to entrust his son to finding the solution with the clues he left for him.
I believe we saw what was the first of 'arc reactor' technology in Cap. The battery device that Zola First makes in his lab that taps in and siphoned some of the cubes energies for a basically endless power supply for his designs is the precursor to what we see in Ironman. Steve taking the sample from the POW mission is what led Howard to begin all his modern work. If you look in his notebook (special features in IM2) you'll note the Tesseract studies, and his trying to replicate that single speck that blew up in his face at the lab ("Write that down")
Up until IM2 he was "limited by the technology of his time" but having the cube and/or the energy sample, he had high hopes that Tony would succeed where he could not, and left him clues.( as i'm sure the element composition was of a classified/dangerous nature.)
Fortune would have it that for Tony, it was necessary to save his own life, for him to succefully replicate that element.
(I guess up to that point, Palladium was the closest substitute that Howard/Tony found worked best to approximate the "cube" element)
That's just my theory.
I also found it interesting that in the POW factory, the huge round devices the HYDRA goons are lugging around, basically look like larger scale versions of the device Tony has in his chest.