Science! The Magic All Around Us
As most of us know, magic tricks bring smiles to all sorts of people’s faces, young and “young-at-heart”! But did you know that most of the magic tricks that amaze us in magic shows and on tv are actually performed using scientific principles? That’s right! Science is behind the magic tricks and illusions many of us love to watch. Teaching your students about the relationship between science and “magic” can be an entertaining and effective way for students to develop a desire to learn more about science. You can even use magic tricks to teach them about science!
Scholars separate science and magic as two different subjects, often opposing, but some believe that modern science was a direct result of the belief in natural magic. Some also believe that some historical accounts of ‘magic’ or ‘sorcery’ were scientific in nature, employing sciences such as chemistry to create unbelievable reactions and effects. The common belief in traditional European magic for several hundred years was that all natural elements were linked and that there was a reason for everything in nature. This belief led to the use of the scientific method by some in their pursuit. Magicians were tasked with understanding the purpose of nature. For example, magicians questioned how a brain-like structure in a walnut was connected to the human brain.
The scientific method and trial-and-error were used to discover the purposes of elements in nature and to develop an understanding of how they interact. But this knowledge remained difficult to find, which led to the expansion of experimental processes, mathematical analysis, and new technologies. The use of hypothetical explanations began to disappear during the scientific revolution as experiments became a new way to discover information about our world through hypothesizing, testing, and so on. This new form of discovery was termed “scientific” instead of “magical” and was valued more than “magic” due to its ability to be proven and replicated.
When we think about the magic we see today, we might think of an optical illusion or a magic show. ‘Magic tricks’ typically fall into four categories:
- Secret actions (sleight of hand)
- Hidden mechanics (gimmicks)
- Psychology (misdirection)
- Laws of nature (physical and formal sciences)
Yet all of these tricks can be explained with science! Common modern magic tricks use psychology, physics, physiology, chemistry, geometry, and more to make science look like magic. Our brains are excellent information processors, but they also make a lot of assumptions during processing, making our brains easily fooled. More often than not, without us even knowing it! The human brain understands the world around us as cause and effect, and when we don’t understand the cause of a trick, it looks like magic!
A great magic show is entertaining for its audience, but it also conveys a more profound message about our relationship with the world and our understanding of it. It does the same for science, its application, and its understanding. Studying the relationship between magic and science helps us better understand how the world works and how we experience it. Plus… it’s loads of fun!!
Mobile Ed’s Magic of Science program is the best (we think) way to demonstrate this for your students.
The Magic of Science program teaches students about the principles of science by bringing enchanting and captivating “magic” demonstrations to your classroom. This program encourages students to participate in the magic show as they learn how different sciences are utilized and applied in magic tricks and the world around us.
In this program, students learn:
- Chemistry experiments students can re-create
- Tricks to solving math problems
- Optical illusions
- How science can be made to look like magic
- So much more…
Contact our team through our website or give us a call at 800-433-7459 to learn more about Magic of Science or our other educational programs. Thank you for your time and reading!