Magic as an Introduction to Scientific Thinking
Posted July 16, 2009on:
I love magic. Being a scientist doesn’t take away from the amazement created by a well executed trick. My father sent me a clip of Chris Angel doing a trick where he not cuts, but pulls a woman in half right on a park bench. The trick is incredibly shocking, the people on the set are screaming in fear and surprise. You can see they are visibly shaken.
YouTube video of Chris Angel. I’m going to show this clip and then start a discussion. First question – did he really pull this woman in half? Obviously that did not happen, so what did? The students are going to either work alone or in small groups and try to come up with a way to explain and possibly reproduce the effect.
What I hope to get from this exercise is a little critical thinking. If the woman was not pulled apart, and Chris Angel doesn’t have real magical powers, then it must be a trick. We don’t know how he does it, but we can make educated guesses and then experiment to attempt to reproduce the method.