NY Hall of Science exhibit explores magic’s mysteries

by Cory Tischbein

To delightful cheers from children and parents, the New York Hall of Science unveiled a preview of its new exhibition “Magic: The Science of Illusion” and announced the Master Magician Video Contest winner at its ceremony June 26.

Developed by the California Science Center, “Magic” is on a national tour being presented at the Hall of Science on weekends from June 28 to Sept. 14.

The exhibition will host demonstrations exploring a myriad of “magical” topics, including electricity and magnetism, levitation and mind reading, offering visitors an educational and recreational experience and a chance to discover if their favorite magic tricks are magic or science.

“This exhibition provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the illusions that have been amazing spectators for ages,” said Marilyn Hoyt, president of the Hall of Science.

“Magic: The Science of Illusion” will include original contributions by renowned celebrity magicians Penn & Teller, Goldfinger and Dove, Max Maven and Jade, complete with explanations of the science behind their magic.

Presentations on the history of magic, famous magicians, Goldfinger and Dove's levitating Throne of Enlightenment, floating disembodied heads and electromagnetism pack the dimly lit hall, radiating an atmosphere of mystery.

“We are thrilled that 'Magic: The Science of Illusion' is here because, like the hall, this exhibition excels at allowing viewers to learn while having fun,” Hoyt said.

The Master Magician Video Contest invited the Hall's fans to submit original videos of themselves performing magic tricks that illustrated the connection between science and magic. The Hall's Web site hosted nearly 30 submissions for fans to view and vote on.

Christopher Yang, 4, won the contest with his submission “Christopher's Magic Balloon,” in which he inflated a balloon by shaking a bottle containing baking soda and water, causing carbon dioxide to “magically” distend the balloon.

The Hall awarded Chris with a T-shirt, the title of “Master Magician of the New York Hall of Science” and a $50 gift certificate to the gift shop.

“Chris likes science and is very inquisitive, so this contest was perfect for him. He is definitely going to continue learning about magic tricks,” said Eddie Yang, Chris' father.

For more information on the exhibit or the New York Hall of Science, visit nyscience.org or call 718-699-0005.

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