Science, Magic, and Mystery of Time

Science, Magic, and Mystery of Time

Author: Miquel Duran – University of Girona, Spain


  • Fernando Blasco – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
  • Silvia Simon – University of Girona, Spain

Our group has been working for a few year in innovative ways to communicate science concepts in all STEM fields using magic as a useful, enticing tool. Moreover, discoveries of our own research groups are being communicated too, partially, with the help of Magic (and its mysteries), using cards, props, science curiosities, awesome experiments or mathematical games.

This communication will address our experience on explaining science concepts involving time to a general audience, according to its definition as a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Thus, chemical kinetics (as rate of change with respect to time), catalysis (acceleration), entropy (as equivalent to the arrow of time), and the Solar System, Moon phases and Easter Sunday (as periodic systems) will be analyzed and assessed. Furthermore, we will tackle calendar-related games and tricks, like determining the weekday corresponding to a given date, or relating weekday names to heavenly bodies. Finally, we will provide new ideas on calendar-related games which arose from creating our weekly “52 Games with the Periodic Table” 2019 website.

Audiences have found such games and activities fun, entertaining, and informative. Calendar-related activities attract curiosity by all kinds of participants, no only from those who are especially science oriented. Time involves history, and allows to try to predict the future – actually this is the subject of quite a lot of magic performances.

Of course such practices may be applied not only to public communication of science, but also to science education, However, there are meaningful differences that should be explained elsewhere. We will concentrate on public communication to a general audience. In any case, time is used here too as a blender of different scientific fields.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Time