The past three years I have been studying the relationship between magic and science and studied hundreds of articles about the performance of magic tricks from many different fields of science. From this I found that the relationship between magic and the sciences is bidirectional.
Firstly, magicians use the principles of science to create the illusion of magic. They use the principles of psychology, physics, linguistics, engineering and so on to perform their tricks. The second relationship between magic and science is that Scientists study what magicians do. For example, psychologists try to find out how people can be deceived, occupational therapists try to help people improve people’s lives by teaching them magic tricks and scholars in the field of gender studies develop ideas on why so few women are involved in the performance of magic.
For my Perspectives on Magic project I have created an annotated bibliography of scientific research into theatrical magic. The table below provides an overview of the relationship between theatrical magic and the different fields of science. The middle column shows the fields of science used by magicians to create the illusion of magic. The last column shows the fields of science which have studied magic performances.
Theatrical magic and science
|Sciences||Magic Trick Methods||Study magic and magicians|
|Life Sciences||Health sciences|
|Performance Studies||Performance Studies|
|Applied Sciences||Engineering||Computer programming|
You can read more about the relationship between magic and science in my book Perspectives on Magic.