Into the Act!
Magic: The Science of Illusion
the California Science Center
Opening October 6, 2005
Angeles, CA – Mind reading, floating in thin
air, a head without a body — is it magic or science — or
perhaps a little of both? Visitors can find out and get
into the act at Magic: The Science of Illusion,
when the California Science Center brings one of its most
popular exhibits back home for an encore display, on the
exhibit’s fifth anniversary. Magic will run
from October 6, 2005 through January 1 2006 offering guests
an opportunity to discover the art and science of entertainment
magic through artifacts, films, interactive experiences
saw this exhibit as a wonderful opportunity to build a bridge
from the public’s enthusiasm about entertainment magic
to an interest in science,” says Diane Perlov, senior
vice president for exhibits and the exhibit’s curator,
who recruited magic luminaries such as Penn & Teller,
Jade, Max Maven, Goldfinger & Dove and others to help
create the exhibit. “Most people don’t connect
science with magic, yet all magic is based on science principles.
Performers can’t do the impossible. But they can appear
to. This exhibit is about appreciating the wonder of magic,
while exploring basic science concepts that make illusions
SCIENCE & MAGIC
Magic: The Science of Illusion explores basic science
concepts used in a set of custom-made illusions and shows how
these science concepts relate to our everyday lives. In the
exhibit, visitors can learn how magicians use psychology, physics,
math, engineering and the art of performance to create complex,
and visually stunning, effects. While science seeks to explain
the wonders of the world, magicians use some of the same forces
and principles to mystify us and to apparently do the impossible. “Magicians
use science to create illusions. Only, in magic shows, the
science is usually hidden from the audience," Perlov says.
cases, magicians act as inventors and explorers of the latest
sciences to come up with ingenious illusions. And, just like
inventors, magicians assisted the Science Center in developing
unique, custom-made illusions for use in this exhibit. These
illusions have become the central attraction in the exhibit
and include the Amazing Living Head Illusion, the Light and
Heavy Chest Illusion, the Rising Chair Illusion and the Magic
of Mind Illusion.
exhibit, visitors can explore the science of illusions without
losing the enchantment that a magic show creates. Visitors
can explore the science and art of visual illusions from
two perspectives: that of the audience and that of the magician's
apprentice. The exhibit features historic illusions as well
as those that have been custom-made for the Science Center
so they will not expose staging being used in modern magic
performances. As the audience, visitors enter a "front
stage" environment to experience the emotional impact
of magical performances and to learn the history of each
illusion. Each section features a video of a professional
magician performing the illusion and a put-yourself-in-the-illusion
opportunity for visitors.
magician's apprentice, visitors gain access to a "backstage" environment
where they will learn important artistic and scientific principles
used to create the illusion the audience sees. In some cases,
they will have a chance to make the illusion happen. Through
hands-on exhibits, visitors explore key concepts of physical
science, math and psychology and learn how these same principles
operate in daily life.
will not be revealed. Before they leave the backstage area,
visitors will have a chance to be baffled again. To keep
the sense of wonder around magic alive, the exhibit includes
video clips of magicians performing similar incredible, and
unexplained, illusions—effects that can't possibly
be done the way visitors have just witnessed.
ARTS AND MORE!
Science is key to understanding what's going on in a magic
show, but so is the art of performance. In Magic, visitors
can explore the magical arts for themselves when they visit
the Magician's Training Academy to learn new card tricks and
mind-reading illusions that they can perform at home.
areas of Magic, visitors can:
about the history of magic and its most famous performers — from
Houdini to Henning — in the Magicians and Performances
exhibit. Visitors will see the handcuffs that Houdini once
escaped from, plus view other historical artifacts from
- View Magic
at Work an original documentary film about magical
thinking in modern life. See how magical thinking coexists
with scientific rationality, and find surprising similarities
among American professional baseball players and Norwegian
are invited to reflect on magical thinking in their own
in mini-magic shows that amaze and educate by exploring
the use of chemistry, physics and math for magical effect.
Magic was developed by the California Science Center
in cooperation with the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative.
It is also supported in part by the National Science Foundation.
Advisors for Magic include magicians Penn & Teller, Goldfinger & Dove,
Jade, Max Maven and the late Doug Henning, along with magic
industry specialists Jim Steinmeyer and Milt Larsen. The exhibit,
which has been touring the United States since it first debuted
at the California Science Center in 2001 will continue on to
Michigan, Tennessee and New York.
Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic
Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700
State Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission
to the exhibits is free. For recorded information, including
IMAX show times, phone 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). For advance
ticket purchases, group rates, or to make free resevation for
any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213.744-2019.
Parking is available in the visitor lot at Figueroa and Coliseum/39th
Street at $6 per car, $10 for buses or oversized vehicles. Both
the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.
For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.